This Pat-A-Cake printable is super easy to prep! It can be used in a variety of ways to help teach children a favorite nursery rhyme. And it’s just one of the many simple early literacy activities for preschoolers to engage with.
You can get your own copy at the very bottom of this post.
Nursery rhymes definitely have an important place in early childhood education, right?!
Children can learn so much with the rhymes, especially when it comes to early language skills:
- Rhyming (Consider this: why is rhyming important?)
- Manipulating language in creative ways
- Phonemic awareness
And that’s not even touching on everything . . . not by a long shot.
So I’m having fun with a little series about some of these favorite rhymes. And today is all about Pat-A-Cake. I even answer a few common questions about it below but feel free to ask more in the comments at the end of the post.
Let’s start off with the free printable I’m sharing with you. It’s very simple, and it’s just a tiny sneak peek of a much larger set of Pat-A-Cake lesson plans (you can read more about them at the bottom of this post).
BUT you can do so much teaching, playing, and learning with this simple printable nursery rhyme! Here we go . . .
Prep the Printable Nursery Rhyme
To start off with, grab your own copy of the Pat-A-Cake printable. I suggest you read through this first and then get the copy at the very end.
Once you’ve received the printable, download it to your computer. You’ll definitely want to save a copy in case you need it later.
Then open the file in the most up-to-date version of Adobe Reader. You might run into printing issues if you try to open it in the web preview or through other programs. And printing issues are no fun.
How to Use the Pat-A-Cake Printable in Preschool
Once the printable is ready, it’s time to introduce the nursery rhyme to your students. Some of your students may have heard Pat-A-Cake before, but there’s a good possibility some haven’t. And that’s okay. You’ll get to teach it to the kids!
The one-page is perfect for teaching the rhyme, or you can write it out on a big piece of chart paper if you prefer.
If any of your children don’t already know the words, that’s okay. And you may be wondering how to teach rhyming poems, like Pat-A-Cake, to students. Here’s the teaching sequence I’d suggest:
- You say the rhyme out loud all on your own first.
- Then, the kids can be your “echo.” You say a line, and then point to the kids and have them repeat that line.
- After that, encourage the children to run through the rhyme with you.
Once the children have a basic understand of the rhyme, you can introduce the sequencing cards. You can place the cards in a pocket chart as you all say Pat-A-Cake together.
Consider letting some children hold a sequencing card. Then bring them up and have them get in the appropriate order. From there, the whole class can work together to say it.
The sequencing cards can also be used more during small groups! And once the kids are really familiar with the nursery rhyme, place the poem and the cards out during center time. It is a blast observing the children as they sing and sequence the rhyme.
Of course, those basic ideas I outlined above aren’t the only ways you can use the Pat-A-Cake printable! You and your students might come up with a dozen different ideas. And that is perfectly fine.
Here are a few more extension ideas for you:
- Teach the children hand motions to accompany Pat-A-Cake. Some children really get a kick out of this, and it’s great gross motor practice.
- Have a cake creation invitation in your sensory center. You can put out cloud dough or play dough. The poem can hang up nearby, encouraging the children to sing the rhyme as they “bake.”
- Make a pocket chart activity with the rhyme. Include cards with the kids’ names and first letters. Then take turns changing the rhyme to include the children in your class!
- Put the poem and/or sequencing cards in the dramatic play center. Don’t forget the kid-sized aprons, rolling pins, cake pans, and pretend cakes. Make sure you’ve got some babies to share the cake with too. 😉
How will you and your students use the Pat-A-Cake printable in your classroom?
Pat-A-Cake Nursery Rhyme
Now let’s take a look at the Pat-A-Cake rhyme. You can read more about its history, if you’re interested, before we jump in. There are a few different variations when it comes to the text. Here’s our take on it:
Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker man,
Bake me a cake as fast as you can!
Roll it, and pat it, and mark it with a B,
Put it in the oven for Baby and me!
Again, there are some variations of this rhyme. So if yours is a little different, that’s totally fine!
Patty Cake or Pat-A-Cake?
When putting the Pat-A-Cake printable together, I had a good discussion with a variety of early childhood educators about this! Isn’t it interesting what you chat about with fellow teachers?!
We came to the conclusion that “patty cake” likely came about from saying “pat-a-cake” quickly. That it was a natural progression the rhyme can take, especially if you’re singing and moving through the motions at a fast clip.
The earliest version of the rhyme is definitely “pat-a-cake,” but some subsequent versions also include “patty cake.” It really comes down to how you learned it as a child, the texts you have on-hand, and your own personal preferences.
Why Would You Pat a Cake?
I’d love to hear your take on this one! From what I’ve read, patting it involves getting the “cake” (and this likely referred to something other than the traditional cakes we think of today) ready for baking.
And back when the rhyme first came about, part of that preparation included marking the cake as a way to note it was yours. This way, you’d get your baked goods back from the oven . . . instead of someone else walking off with it! Kind of like writing your initials on the bottom of a piece of art you created.
Pat-A-Cake Hand Motions
Of course, I really think kids get so much out of the hand motions that go along with the many rhyming songs they’re learning. It helps children grow their gross motor skills, learn rhythm, and it’s just plain fun!
To me, Pat-A-Cake is traditionally done with two people facing each other. Both people alternate clapping their own hands together with clapping one hand across to their friend’s hand.
But I know that everyone has their own preferences, right? So I thought I’d put together a few Pat-A-Cake videos that can help you decide:
First up is a version from Mother Goose Club Playhouse:
Next is a version for younger children, from Patty Shukla:
If you’re a fan of Sesame Street, Elmo and Ernie have a little tutorial for the kids here:
I think those videos cover the common hand motions used to teach the kids Pat-A-Cake. But hey! Do you want to let your kiddos get really creative? I’m sure your class would get a kick out of coming up with their own hand motions to the poem!
Pat-A-Cake Preschool Lesson Plans
If you love the Pat-A-Cake printable, I highly recommend you check out Preschool Teacher 101‘s full set of Pat-A-Cake lesson plans. We put together an entire theme around the nursery rhyme! You can teach a whole week just on Pat-A-Cake, or you can intersperse the lessons with other units.
This lesson plan pack has over 250 pages, including a weekly grid, daily lesson plans, activity descriptions, center ideas, book suggestions, and a ton of coordinating printables to pair with all of the hands-on learning!
Be sure to sign up for The Pack from Preschool Teacher 101 waiting list. Members get even more goodies at their fingertips!
Here are a few more resources to check out:
Get Your Free Pat-A-Cake Printable
And now it’s time for your freebie! This is available to members of Fun-A-Day’s free email community. If you’re already a member, just enter your information below to get the printable sent to your email.
If you’re not a member yet, don’t worry! You can enter your information in the form below to join. Then you’ll receive the Pat-A-Cake printable as a welcome gift.
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