Homeschool

Sheep: Barnyard Treats and Reads Series

For our ongoing “Barnyard Treats and Reads,” we’re sharing a creative way that you can transform Nutter Butter cookies (the treats) into one of our favorite barnyard animals! We will also give you suggestions for fun and informative books to share with your children, featuring the same animal as that week’s treat! What could go better together than a tasty treat and a good read?

Last time, we brought you a creative (and tasty) way to teach your kids about pigs.  This week, we’re all about lambs and sheep! Whether you’d like to use the  topic of sheep to teach your children about agriculture or just enjoy some fun children’s books together, we’ve got you covered with a great selection of sheep-focused books!

But first, let’s get started with your treat–because you are going to need some yummy sheep cookies on hand before you start reading, obviously!

The Treat: Sheep Nutter Butter Cookies

Since the Nutter Butter cookies are already edible, this recipe is really all about decorating the cookies to look like sheep!  It’s a really fun kitchen activity to do with kids! To get started, you will need: 10 Nutter Butter cookies, coconut oil, white melting chocolates, pink melting chocolates, black melting chocolate, orange melting chocolate,  and candy eyes.  (For the full recipe with more detailed ingredients and instructions, be sure to read all the way to the bottom of this post!)

NOTE: For a time-saving tip and information about how to simplify the cookie-decorating process, see the note just above the printable recipe (near the end of this article.)

Place a shallow pan of water on top of a double boiler.  Set several  ramekins inside the pan and add melting chocolates to create the colors for your sheep cookies. You need to create the following colors: gray, peach, white, and pink. Add a tiny bit of coconut oil to each ramekin and stir it. This will help your chocolate get nice and smooth.

Next, use a wand or fork to dip each Nutter Butter cookie into either the grey, white, or peach-colored chocolate until it is completely coated. (This ensures that you’ll have some sheep in each color!) After coating each cookie, hold it over the ramekin for a few seconds so that the excess chocolate can drip off without making a mess. Set cookies on a wire rack to dry and harden.

Next, it’s time to make the sheep ears. This part becomes much easier if you sketch out the size and shape of ears on a piece of parchment paper. Then you will fill a piping bag with the pink-colored chocolate and fill in each ear shape.

Tip: Fold the piping bag over the rim of a mason jar to make it easier to fill!

Be sure to pipe out extra ears in case some of them break!

After you have plenty of pink ears piped, place the sheet of parchment paper in the refrigerator.  It should only take a few minutes for these to harden.  Once they are solid, pull them from the fridge and work quickly to remove them (a toothpick can be helpful for this) and attach two ears to the top of each sheep cookie. Using a toothpick dipped in the same color chocolate as the head,  “glue”  on each ear.

Optionally, you perfectionists out there can use the toothpick to create a border around each ear that matches the color of sheep. We did it in the picture below, but you don’t certainly don’t have to. The end result will look great either way.

Attach the candy eyes. Use your toothpick to put a small dab of melted chocolate on each eye before securing it to the cookie.  Dip your toothpick into the black chocolate and add a small button nose to the bottom of the sheep’s face.

For the final step, fill a piping bag with white melted chocolate and cut a tiny hole in the bottom corner of the bag.  Pipe out the white chocolate in curls and waves to create textured “wool” on top of the sheep’s head.

Once your sheep cookies have hardened, they are ready to eat! Enjoy!

The Reads: Books for All Ages About Lambs and Sheep

Mary Had a Little Lamb (Little Learners Finger Puppet Book) by Parragon Books

For Ages 0- 3

This adorable retelling of the song, “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” is perfect for young children. They will laugh as you use the built-in lamb finger puppet to help tell each part of the story!

 

Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy E. Shaw

Ages 3-6

This funny rhyming story about sheep in a jeep is perfect for beginning readers! Even better, the author has an entire series for you and your little ones to enjoy (all of them about sheep getting into various shenanigans).

Ages 5-8

Brave Little Fin (Sweet Pea & Friends) by John and Jennifer Churchman  

This sweet tale is based on a true story and tells the tale of a small lamb named Finn. As Finn grows, he learns to become brave with a little help from his friends.  The thing that makes this story extra special is that it is written by farmers, John and Jennifer, who also included many real photographs from their farm.

 

The Backyard Sheep: An Introductory Guide to Keeping Productive Pet Sheep by Sue Weaver 

Ages: 10 – Adult

For the older child, teen, or adult who loves to learn more about animals or agriculture, this book offers all of the basics about modern shepherding. Just be prepared to have an answer ready when you are asked: “Can we please get a pet sheep?”

We hope you enjoyed this week’s “Treats and Reads,” all about sheep and lambs! We’d love to know how your treats turned out, and which books you decided to read!

NOTE: If you’d love to make these cookies but need to simplify the process, you can use Wilton Cake Decorating Icing (in 9 oz. squeeze bottles) instead of using the melting chocolates as described in the recipe. Some icing in tubes/bottles doesn’t harden well, so be sure (if you use a different brand) that you choose one that will harden.

Sheep Cookies: Barnyard Treats and Reads Series
 
These adorable, sheep-inspired cookies are easy and fun to make with kids! They are perfect to enjoy together while you read some of the sheep and lamb books we've selected for you or as part of an agricultural unit!
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • ½ cup white melting chocolates
  • 1 black melting chocolate piece
  • 1 orange melting chocolate piece
  • 3 tbsp pink melting chocolate or pink chocolate coloring
  • candy eyes
  • 10 Nutter Butter cookies
  • 1⁄4 tsp coconut oil
  • ramekins and pan
  • double boiler set up
  • piping bags
  • chocolate dipping wand or fork
  • wire cooling rack
  • parchment paper
  • toothpicks
Instructions
  1. Set up double boiler with shallow pan and ramekins for each color chocolate.
  2. Fill with water till half way up side of ramekins.
  3. Turn heat to medium low.
  4. Add chocolates and smidge of coconut oil to each, stirring to combine as they melt.
  5. *To create gray: combine 1 black melting chocolate to 1⁄4 cup white chocolate.
  6. *To create peach: combine 1 orange melting chocolate to 1⁄4 cup white chocolate.
  7. Using wand or fork, dip nutter butter cookies in gray and/or peach chocolate until coated.
  8. Hover above dish as chocolate drips off.
  9. Use a toothpick to pop any air bubbles that form. Set on wire rack to harden.
  10. To create the ears, tear a strip of parchment paper.
  11. Place a Nutter Butter on the paper and gauge the size of the lamb ears.
  12. Hand draw ear outline.
  13. Fill pencil drawings with pink chocolate with a piping bag.
  14. Put in refrigerator to harden.
  15. Work quickly to attach ears.
  16. Using a toothpick, dip into the base color of the face and use it as glue to attach the ears.
  17. Dab a toothpick into the base color of the face to attach the candy eyes.
  18. Use a dot of black melted chocolate to create a small button nose.
  19. Fill a pipping bag with white chocolate and cut a tiny hole in the bottom.
  20. Pipe out the white chocolate to create the fluffy lamb wool around the top of the head.
  21. Set to dry and harden.
  22. Store in airtight container.
  23. OR
  24. If you're using bottled Wilton Cookie Decorating Icing, decorate cookies using bottled icing instead of following the above steps for decorating using melting chocolates. Set to dry and harden.
 

We hope you enjoyed our Sheep & Lamb themed “Treats & Reads!” Let us know if you do this activity at home with your kiddos! Are there any sheep or lamb books that you and your kids love?

About the author

Trish

Trish is one of the owners of Hip Homeschool Moms. She has been married to her best friend, David, for 22 years and they have three sons (ages 19, 17 and 15). Trish is from the coast of North Carolina, but they now live in rural West Tennessee on a 40+ acre farm. She has been homeschooling since 2009 and her homeschool style leans towards a Montessori approach with a heavy emphasis on hands-on learning. Trish’s family is Messianic and they love studying the Scriptures, learning Hebrew and growing in their faith and walk daily. In her spare time, Trish loves to travel, write, work in their garden and can regularly be found trying to learn something new, modeling that learning is indeed a life-long endeavor!

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