Cooking Club is a very popular after school club choice. Let’s be frank, if eating food is involved children will suddenly become more interested! But Cooking Club is a choice, not without its complications such as:
1) Many child care centers have limited kitchen access or only have access to a microwave/refrigerator which makes it difficult to “cook” any food.
2) Safety can become a concern with hot surfaces and knives around.
3) Cooking Club can easily become junk food club ~ treats are fine in moderation, and is a notion I feel should be taught to children as well (not to mention that many schools have nutrition guidelines they must follow!)
Planning a Cooking Club with these little hiccups in mind is possible ~ it just takes a little creative thinking. Here are some ideas!
Make your own ice cream
This activity is very fun for the kids and after they are finished they will have a fun slushy treat to taste.
- ½ cup whole milk or half and half
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla or 1 teaspoon chocolate sauce
- 6 tablespoons rock salt
- 1 sandwich size ziploc bag + 1 quart size bag (optional, for double bagging)
- 1 gallon-size ziploc bag
- Ice (depending on the size of your group you may need a lot, so purchasing bags of ice is recommended)
Step 1~ Fill gallon size bag half full of ice and add rock salt
Step 2~ Combine the rest of the ingredients in the sandwich bag and have the kids choose their flavor ~ vanilla or chocolate.
Step 3~ Seal the sandwich bag from step 2. You can double bag it to prevent leakage. Place the sandwich bag inside the gallon size bag filled with ice and rock salt.
Step 4~ Hand the bag to the child and instruct them to shake it vigorously for approximately 5 minutes.
Each child will need to take turns with an adult in preparing their ice cream bag. While they are waiting you can provide them with a Drawing Activity to draw their perfect ice cream sundae!
Chocolate dipped frozen bananas
- Chocolate chips
- Craft Sticks
- Sprinkles, Fruity Pebbles, mini M&M’s, coconut flakes and additional chocolate chips
Step 1~ Before getting started with the group cut the bananas in half and insert the craft sticks about half way up. Place the bananas in the freezer for 2-3 hours until firm
Step 2~ Have adults melt the chocolate chips in the microwave. Heat for 30 seconds and stir and repeat the process until melted. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate.
Step 3~ Set up a dipping/topping station and help each child to dip their banana and top it with toppings of their choice
Step 4~ Let the chocolate cool to room temperature and then place bananas back in the freezer ~ once frozen eat and enjoy!
- Various chopped fruits~ blueberries, peaches, strawberries
- Vanilla and strawberry yogurt
- Clear plastic cups & spoons
Step 1~ Explain to the children that parfaits are desserts that come in layers. Have the children choose layers of their choosing.
Step 2~ Set up an assembly line of all the ingredients children may choose to put in their parfait
TIP: While kids are waiting you can put out colored permanent markers and let the children color the outside of their parfait glasses or you can provide some fun, healthy food printables at http://www.nourishinteractive.com/hco/free_printables
Ants on a Log
- Peanut Butter (or light cream cheese if you have students with nut allergies)
- Celery, cut into sticks
Step 1~ Make up plates for kids so they make their own ants on a log. On each plate provide: A plastic spoon full of peanut butter of cream cheese, a handful of raisins, 2 celery sticks
Step 2~ Let the children build their ants on a log and eat them or save them for later.
Step 3~ Read a fun story about food such as We Eat Food That’s Fresh by Angela Rush-Ayon or Super Sprouts by Laura Concannon.
English Muffin Pizzas
This is a super fun hands on project! Kids will enjoy them even if you do not have a toaster oven to heat them!
- English Muffins (wheat for a healthier snack)
- Pizza Sauce
- Shredded Mozzarella cheese
- Assorted sliced veggies-olives, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions
Step 1~ Set up an assembly of all the ingredients. Before starting ask the children to identify each ingredient, what food group it is in and why its good for you. ( i.e. cheese has calcium, bell peppers have vitamins A & C)
Step 2~ Allow the kids to choice their toppings and put together their pizzas. Use a toaster oven to heat them, or eat them as is!
Teachable Moments in Cooking Club
- Teach measurements and cooking terms- teaspoons vs. tablespoons, cups vs. ounces
- Vegetable/fruit identification trivia and bingo
- Cooking teaches them planning and making choices
- Working together as a team
Links for more recipe ideas for Cooking Club