January is Soup Month!

January 26, 2023 | Katherine McG

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January is Soup Month! And while one could really enjoy a hot (or cold — gazpacho anyone?) bowl of soup any day of the year, there's just something wonderful about having a sip of simmering soup on a chilly winter's day.

Two kids sitting at a kitchen counter enjoying bowls of tomato soup
Photo by Ron Bull, 1991. Toronto Star Photograph Archive.

To help get your soup celebration started, here are some books and activities to warm up your family's winter.

Making soup

Whether you are using an old family recipe or trying out something new, cooking together is a soup-er family activity. Not only does it create time to be together but it's also a great opportunity to combine learning and having fun.

And it can all start with a trip to the grocery store or farmer's market where you can search for your ingredients. Don't forget your shopping list! And don't forget to let the kids help, too. Writing out your list together and then letting the kids look for those written words on store labels is a great Ready for Reading activity.

Once you have everything you need, you're ready to start your soup. While it might not always be an exact science, cooking involves many scientific principles, as well as an opportunity to practice literacy and math skills. Recipes need to be read. Ingredients need to be measured. The number of carrot slices that you eat before they go into the pot need to be counted. (Ok, maybe that last one doesn't "need" to happen.) There's lots to learn and a way for everyone to help! 

And we can help, too. Check out these books and get cooking:

Kids Cook Goodhousekeeping

Kids Cook! 100+ Super-Easy and Delicious Recipes

My Very First Cookbook

My Very First Cookbook by Danielle Kartes and Annie Wilkinson

Cooking Step by Step

Cooking Step by Step 

Making Soups with Math

Making Soups with Math! by Santana Hunt

Science Experiments You Can Eat

Science Experiments You Can Eat by Vikki Cobb and Tad Carpenter

Reading about soup

When it's finally time to sip some soup, get yourself a bowl or a mug and maybe one of these soup-erior stories so you can read what you eat.

Boy Soup

Boy Soup by Loris Lesynski; illustrated by Michael Martchenko

Brand-New Bubbe

Brand New Bubbe by Sarah Aronson; illustrated by Ariel Landy

Every Color Soup

Every Color Soup by Jorey Hurley

Freedom Soup

Freedom Soup by Tami Charles; illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara

One Snowy Morning

One Snowy Morning by Kevin Tseng; illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte

Pinch and Dash Make Soup

Pinch and Dash Make Soup by Michael J. Daley; illustrated by Thomas Yezerski

Is That Wise Pig

Is That Wise, Pig? by Jan Thomas

Playing with your "soup"

As delicious as the real thing can be, you don't have to be making or eating it to have a soup-erb day.

  • Let soup inspire your child's artwork. They could make a collage with pictures of all the foods they like best. Talk about whether or not all of those things would go together to make one yummy soup.
  • Draw a picture of a bowl and then have your kids glue on foam letters or pasta shapes — instant alphabet soup and a fun way to help them to get to know letters.
  • Sing a song about soup (like the "Purple Soup" song which is fun to do with a large group) or make up one of your own by using a familiar tune and changing the lyrics. For example, "Row Row Row Your Boat" can become "Stir Stir Stir the Soup". Or "The Farmer in the Dell" can become "The Soup in Boiling Up" and you can sing about adding different vegetables. Add an element of play by using a toy pot and pretend vegetables to act out what you are singing.

And remember, it doesn't take much to make up a story about soup. All you need is one small stone! Just like the traditional folktale about a stranger who inspires a community to share, your family can share a story by each adding your own bit of flavourful fiction.

Not sure where to start? Borrow one of the many versions of Stone Soup available at TPL and read it together. Put on some dress-up clothes and act it out, or use toys or puppets to bring it to life. Use your imagination and create a new variation. Will your soup story start with a stone, a nail, a quill, or something completely different?

Stone Soup Muth

Stone Soup by Jon J. Muth

With so many possibilities, which of these "ingredients" will you choose to add to your Soup Month celebrations?