One way to support your preschooler's education is to incorporate meals and snacks that coincide with the theme he is learning about at school. Including foods that relate to preschool themes strengthens the home-school connection by inviting children to recall and share what they have learned with parents. During cowboy or western week, rustle up some cowboy-themed foods for your preschooler to enjoy.
Pigs in a Blanket
Traveling cowboys were limited to eating foods that could be cooked on a campfire. Hot dogs are a food commonly identified as prime cowboy grub. While it's unlikely that the cowboys of the Old West ate hot dogs as we know them today, serving hot dogs during cowboy week can encourage conversation about the fresh and dried meats cowboys did eat, such as beef, rabbit, turkey and deer. While the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against serving hot dogs to kids younger than 4 , 4 and 5 year old preschoolers can enjoy mini hot dogs under adequate supervision. Encourage your child to chew his hot dog well. Wrap mini hot dogs in the dough of crescent rolls to make pigs in a blanket provides a delicious hot dog meal variation.
Can o' Beans
Beans made up a large portion of a cowboy's diet due to their low cost and easy storage. Preschoolers will enjoy pretending to be a cowboy during lunch or dinner while eating a can of beans. If you're concerned about sharp edges or about your preschooler eating food straight out of a can, serve the beans in a small plastic cup with aluminum foil wrapped around the outside. You can add bacon, hot dog pieces or chunks of pork to canned beans to spice up the recipe.
Cornbread, Biscuits and Butter
You can bring the Old West to the breakfast table in the form of cornbread, biscuits and butter. To encourage conversation about other things related to cowboys, you can take store-bought biscuit dough and form it into shapes such as horseshoes or lassos. Engage your preschooler in making butter in a way similar to the way pioneers did using heavy cream, a small jar and a bowl of ice. Have your preschooler help you shake the jar until the cream thickens into butter, then chill in the bowl of ice and serve on your cornbread or biscuits.
Trusty Trail Mix
Trail mix is a theme-appropriate snack to give to your preschooler during cowboy week. Mix popular trail mix ingredients such as raisins, other dried fruits, cereal, pretzels, crackers and candy. Choose items that your preschooler enjoys when making your trail mix, keeping allergies in mind as well. During snack time, you can engage your child in conversations about what it meant to be “on the trail,” and why cowboys might have liked to have trail mix to eat.