Sunday, May 5, 2013

Preschool Animal-Themed Cooking Ideas

Cooking with preschool-age children gives them the perfect opportunity to learn interactively. Not only can they learn how to follow directions and practice measuring, they are rewarded with a sweet treat at the end. Animal-themed cooking with kids can be simple and safe, and it's sure to be a hit both at school and at home. Add this to my Recipe Box.

Fish Aquariums

Adults can help children make aquariums out of fruit gelatin mix (such as Jell-O) and fish-shaped gummy candy. The gelatin serves as the "water," so a blue-colored mix, or a combination of blue and clear mix, is recommended. After preparing the "water" by following package directions, chill it for 20 to 30 minutes or until slightly set. The child may then insert the fish candy where he wants it, and then 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 cooking project takes about 10 minutes to make and a total of about 1 1/2 hours to set in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Haystacks

Chocolate haystacks can 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 wax paper to set. Place the haystacks in the refrigerator to set. You can substitute butterscotch chips or white chocolate chips for different flavors. This project takes about 10 minutes to prepare and 40 minutes to set.

Paw Print Pancakes

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 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 make the pancakes to practice measuring ingredients.

Chicken Feed

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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