Here are some more suggestions of things to cook with young children. In my last post I was talking about how loosely I define cooking – sometimes it is much more assembling, or tasting, than actually cooking. No matter what, the children love to use real utensils and to participate in these projects.
5 Senses Tasting
There are some lesson plans out there that include bringing in a popcorn popper, then hiding it so the children can hear and smell the popcorn before they taste it. I have tried some of the old AIMS lessons that suggest taking the lid off the popcorn popper and letting it fly, and the children predict how far they think kernels will go. Here is another popcorn project from my files.
Another project I enjoyed was bringing in sugar and salt. I encouraged the children to investigate it any way EXCEPT tasting it. They smelled it, touched it, looked at it. They tried to guess which one was sugar and which was salt. Then I gave each child a few grains of each to taste. After that I provided a variety of sweet and salty foods and a recording sheet. The biggest challenge for my children was often to follow the chart over and make their X in the right column.
I always took my Kindergartners to an apple orchard, and we followed up that trip by making applesauce. I found a little book called Who Will Help at a teacher’s store. It was a variation on the story the Little Red Hen, but it also sequenced how to make applesauce. Check out the Little Red Hen post to see a picture of that book.
After washing the apples I would cut about 6 apples into slices – I did not core or peel them. Then I put them into an electric skillet with a little water, and cooked them until they were soft. When the cooking Mom called the first group of children she would take the cooked apples out of the pan and put them into a food mill – kind of like a saucepan with holes in the bottom, and a handle to turn. That group of children would all help to cut up the next batch of apples, then they would turn the handle on the food mill – the peeling and seeds and core stayed in the mill, the applesauce came out the holes. I provided a shaker of cinnamon and sugar and they could sprinkle a little of that on top.
I also own an apple peeler/corer. Sometimes I would bring that in, each child would help turn the handle to peel and core an apple – we cooked them the same way. You could serve those without putting them through the food mill but I found that most children like a smoother texture instead of chunky. The applesauce always smells so delicious, and most years the cooking mom said she planned to make it again at home.
These muffins were one of my favorite cooking projects. Each child took a few spoonfuls of spice cake mix and a spoonful of canned pumpkin, and a little water. They put all these ingredients into a 5 oz. paper cup, and stirred it up. (Don’t start with the cake mix or they have a hard time getting the mix all blended in.) Then the Mom put the paper cups into an electric skillet and “baked” them with the lid on – don’t add water or anything to the skillet. It is so cool!! I sometimes provided cream cheese along with these muffins. They smelled so great too! The hardest thing is to resist the temptation to peek while they are cooking.
I found a printed recipe for baking cupcakes in a skillet.
To make the pumpkin muffins you would eliminate the food color, and add 1 Tbsp. pumpkin to each child’s cup! So fun! Don’t worry about not adding egg to the recipe – they come out great.
I also had an activity to go along with the colorful cupcakes – if you were making those instead!
Ghost Toast –
Check out my post where Owen and I made ghost toast – and the printed recipe for Rainbow Toast.
Cornbread and Butter
We used Jiffy cornbread mix to make muffins – you could make them according to the cupcake recipe or you could just bake them in an oven or toaster oven. We made our own butter by shaking a small amount of heavy cream in closed baby food jars. It’s fun for the children to watch as it thickens and turns into butter, and it tastes great!
I plan to do this with Owen and post the pictures closer to Thanksgiving – but here is a short description. Each child got 1 small apple and 4 or 5 toothpicks. They pushed one toothpick into the apple and put a colored small gumdrop on it for the turkey’s head. Then they put the other 3 (or 4) toothpicks in the top. The children used Froot Loops to make a different pattern on each toothpick feather – AB, AABB, or ABC.
Here is another turkey project made out of Nutter Butter cookies.
When we were working on Nursery Rhymes we made scrambled eggs and toast. Many Kindergartners have never had a chance to intentionally break an egg. I always bought extra in case some ended up on the floor. We cooked the eggs in an electric skillet – the kids broke and stirred the egg, and buttered their own toast. The parent did the cooking in an electric skillet.
These small pizzas, made on an English Muffin or Bagel, were always a hit. Sometimes we made this recipe when we were learning about different food groups. I bought pizza sauce in a jar or can, mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni. So we had foods from the vegetable group, bread group, meat group and milk group. We had apple juice to drink so that covered fruit.
We also called the pizzas flying saucers when we were learning about Outer Space.
Snowman soup was really just a fun way to serve hot chocolate, and I usually included it with my Winter Unit. Each child got 1 packet of cocoa mix, 5 mini marshmallows, 2 Hershey Kisses, and 1 small candy cane. I stocked up on the little candy canes before Christmas – or got them on sale right after! I made up numbered cards showing the recipe step by step. I used the school’s big coffee maker to heat the water – the parents did the pouring, and they often diluted it a bit with cooler water because the children didn’t really want to drink it while it was hot.
This was a great snack when we were talking about Dental Health – or during the fall.
I often turned my Dramatic Play Center into a Dentist office that week too. We had a large model of teeth, and a big toothbrush. I also made pretend teeth by mixing up Plaster of Paris and putting it into the cups of egg cartons. It had to set overnight, then the “teeth” came out easily. You can get Plaster of Paris at Walmart or a hardware store. I made a cavity on each one with a permanent marker. The “Dentists” used a popsicle stick to dig out the cavity and filled it with the putty used to keep things on the wall. We tried Play Dough for the fillings, but it didn’t stick inside the plaster teeth.
Still more recipes to come! I am sharing them roughly in the order I used them through the year. I hope some of you give cooking a try! If you can’t do it with your Kindergartners, try it with a child you love!