Bloomsbury Early Years - Winter: Winter Stars
The Little Book of Seasons

Activity Type:

Cooking, Outdoor


3-5 years

Type of Content:


Related Activities

Winter: Winter Stars

A seasonal idea for winter

by Linda Thornton and Pat Brunton

What are they learning?

Reading ‘Winter Stars’ by Shirley Hughes is a good opportunity to think about shapes in the environment, draw children’s attention to the stars in the night sky and to experience using recipes and instructions and tools during cooking activities.


  • star

  • flour

  • mix

  • bake

  • shape

  • roll

  • hot

  • sky

  • water

  • cut

  • wash

  • margarine

Getting started

  • Read through the story Winter Stars and talk with the children about all the different examples of stars that are mentioned in the story.

  • Discuss with the children the different examples of stars they are aware of.

    Remember to write down all the ideas which the children come up with as these could be starting point for many different activities and investigations.

  • If possible encourage the children’s parents to take their child outside to experience the stars on a clear winter’s night. As in the story, this may be difficult in a built up area where there is a lot of background lighting, but it is an important experience which every young child should have.

  • Go on a ‘star hunt’ around the setting and see how many different examples you can find - in books, on displays, clothing, toys and decorations. If the weather is cold enough you may be able to find some stars in frozen puddles in your outdoor area.

  • Talk with the children about making edible ‘star shapes’ with pastry, like Alfie did, and discuss what ingredients are needed.

What you do

  • Help the children to make a list of the ingredients they need for making pastry. Talk about the importance of washing their hands before they start and not touching the hot oven or baking tray at any time.

  • Copy out a recipe for pastry and talk to the children while you are doing this about how they will be able to use the set of instructions to make the pastry.

    • 2 cups (230g) flour

    • 100g margarine

    • cold water

    • Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the margarine, cut up into small pieces.

    • With the tips of your fingers rub the flour and the fat together until it looks like a breadcrumb mixture.

    • Add 2 tablespoons of cold water and mix this in with a large metal spoon.

    • Slowly add more water until the mixture sticks together in a large ball.

    • If possible wrap this pastry ball in cling film and leave it in the fridge for half an hour to cool down.

    • Place the pastry ball on a lightly floured board and roll it out to the thickness you need.

    • Use the star shaped cutter to press out the star shapes and transfer these to a baking tray.

    • Bake in a medium to hot oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

  • While the children are measuring, pouring, mixing, rolling and cutting talk to them about the tools they are using and how they work.

  • Talk about the keeping everything clean when preparing food, and about the dangers of touching things that are hot.

Look, listen and note

  • Anticipating key events

  • Express themselves effectively

  • Work cooperatively and take turns with others

  • Places, objects and materials

  • Design & technology

Where to go next: Winter: Christmas Shapes
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