Cooking with preschool children invests in them the concepts of interactivity and cooperation. Not only can they learn the importance of following directions and measuring ingredients, they are rewarded with a sweet treat at the end. Animal-themed cooking activities with kids are simple and safe, and a sure hit at both school and home.
Adults can help children make aquariums out of fruit gelatin mix and fish-shaped gummy candy. The gelatin serves as the “water,” so a blue-colored mix or a combination of blue and clear mix. After preparing the “water” by following package directions, chill it until barely set. Next, have the child insert the fish candy where he wants it, and return the aquarium to the refrigerator to set for another hour. You can scale the aquarium to fit small cups or a clear bowl. This project takes about 10 minutes to make and about 1 1/2 hours to set in the refrigerator.
Chocolate haystacks help teach pupils that some farm animals eat hay. The haystacks are made from dried Chinese noodles mixed with melted chocolate chips. After stirring the mix together, take spoonfuls of the chocolate-covered noodles and place them on a plate lined with wax paper. Next, place the plate of chocolate haystacks in the refrigerator to set. You can substitute butterscotch chips or white chocolate chips, if desired. This project takes about 10 minutes to prepare and 40 minutes to set.
Paw-print pancakes are simple to assemble with children, especially if you make the pancakes ahead of time. Children can place sliced bananas along the top edge of 2-inch-wide pancakes for the toes, and add a chocolate chip on each banana slice for the toenails. Assembly takes five to 10 minutes, but children can also help mix the pancake batter to practice measuring ingredients.
Chicken feed is a simple mixture of cereals, grains and other ingredients that children love. It's just a matter of putting everything together, and children like it because they can personalize the mix. Ingredients that work well include toasted oat cereal, nuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, small chocolate candies or chocolate chips, and pretzels. This activity takes less than five minutes per child.
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