Last week we made Simnel cake with the children from “Looking out for the little people”. This is a cake that is traditionally made to be eaten midway through the lent fasting period and is also linked to a cake that young girls in service would make for their mothers for Mothers Day.
We plan on let our cake mature over the next month and then decorate it and give it to the mums of the children in our settings.
Little “L” measured out the butter. We were making a HUGE batch of cake mix so needed quite a lot.
I told her we needed 400g of butter and she pointed to the right part of the scales. I suspect it was because she recognised the 4!
Early years Outcomes- 
 Mathematics (numbers) 30- 50 months
  •  Shows an interest in numerals in the environment.  

Mathematics (numbers) 40- 60 months  

  • Recognise some numerals of personal significance. 

Little “R” carefully scooped out the butter from the pot and usd a finger to push the butter off the spoon and i  to the scales.

Early years Outcomes-
 Expressive Art and Design (exploring and using media and materials) 40-60 months

  • Uses simple tools and techniques competently and appropriately. 

Little “I” helped to blend the sugar and butter together. She told me it was hard to stir and that it had lumps in.

Early Years Outcome- Communication and language (Speaking)  22- 36 months

  • Uses language as a powerful means of widening contacts, sharing feelings, experiences and thoughts.

We also had a go at cracking the eggs. This is quite tricky but all of the children managed it and with very little shell going in to the cup.

Early Years Outcomes- Physical development (Moving and handling) 40- 60 months

  • Shows increasing control over an object in pushing, patting, throwing, catching or kicking it.

We spent some time after, enjoying braking up the shells, looking at the insides and the outside of the shell. Talking about the yoke and albumen, watching how the shell cracks and brakes and then eventually crushing them up in to tiny pieces!

We chopped fruit, practising our cutting and knife skills. All the children cut the fruit by holding the knife handle and then pressing down on the top of the blade. Little “R” found this quite tricky and became frustrated. I will have to offer more opportunities for cutting practice.

Little “I” showed good control in cutting the fruit and spent a long time cutting them up and transferring the cut bits to a bowl.

Early Years Outcomes- Physical Development (Moving and handling) 40- 60 months

  • Uses simple tools to effect changes to materials. 

We grated an orange and then felt how the surface was different after it had been grated. The children said it felt soft and they could smell the orange better now.

Everyone worked really hard to try it out for themselves and we talked about being careful to keep our fingers away from the grating blades so we did not cut ourselves. The children seemed very aware of this danger and talked to me about being careful and not wanting to bleed.

Early Years Outcome- 
Personal, Social and Emotional development (Self-confidence and Self-awareness) 30- 50 months

  • Enjoys responsibility of carrying out small tasks.

Personal, Social and Emotional development (Self-confidence and Self-awareness) 40- 60 months 
  • Shows understanding of the need for safety when tackling new challenges, and considers and manages some risks. 

We also juiced the fruit. This worked lots of upper arm and wrist muscles and also the fingers as they needed to squeeze the fruit quite hard to get the juice out.

We also tasted the Oranges and then compared the taste of Orange with the taste of the lemons we had cut earlier.  This introduced words like Sweet and sour. Bitter and sharp. Little “R” loved sucking on the lemons. They did not seem to effect her at all!


  • Today’s activity was offered as a fun experience that helped the children to learn life skills (cooking),
  • assess risks for themselves (The dangers involved in using sharp tools, hot ovens and general food hygiene)
  • Experience numbers, weights and measures in an everyday situation and hands on way.
I will offer more cooking opportunities for the children to practice these concepts and skills more fully and also provide homecorner/ role play props for them to recreate this experience in their free play to help them cement this learning.
I will also offer more opportunities to practice cutting things and level this by offering soft items to start and progressing to firmer items as they become more competent.


Little “R” and Little “I” were fully interested and engaged in this activity. They enjoy cooking and re-enacting cooking in the homecorner. They were willing to take part and have a go. Using their knowledge of cooking, safety concerns, using scales etc to guide them. The girls were motivated by their enjoyment of cooking, wanting to make a gift for their mums and also by the thought of being able to taste these! They assessed risks and took turns to complete parts of the cake making. They noticed changes in the ingredients as we used them and mixed them, sharing their thoughts and using all their senses to experience each one.

Today’s play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas
  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
  • Understanding the world
  • Mathematics

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