Math, Projects, Science

Cooking with Kids – Pizza

I believe I mentioned before that letting your children help out in the kitchen, while hard on your counters and floors, is beneficial for them in multiple ways.

Pizza is a great way to let them help out. They can do it all (make the dough, roll it out, put on toppings) or just help with the toppings.

I use the American Test Kitchen pizza dough recipe, it makes a small pizza so I normally double it. I let my 3-year-old help dump the measuring spoons, help me count scoops, and press the buttons on the processor.

Combine 1 cup BREAD flour, 2/3 tsp instant yeast, a little salt. Add 1 tbsp oil and then slowly add up to 7 or 8 tbsp of water until it forms a ball and is no longer sticking to processor. (By slowly, I meant you should run the processor every few scoops to see how it’s mixing.) Take it out and knead it a bit and form a ball. Let it rise in a covered bowl for an hour and then roll out and add toppings. I bake mine at 375(F) for 10 minutes, or until all the cheese is nice and gooey and the crust is starting to turn golden. You may need to change the cooking time and temperature based on your toppings.

It’s easy, it’s delicious, and it is fun! Let your kids in on the joy of cooking. They may even want to help wipe down the counter when they are done. (Mine did not, they wanted to eat the rest of the shredded cheese, resulting in my having to vacuum when the 1-year-old started dropping cheese everywhere.)

Adventures, Math, Science

Garbage Trucks and Sensory Bin Experience

If you’ve been following my instagram, you may have noticed that my kids love garbage trucks. If they hear one coming, they drop everything and run to the window.

Today, we finally did what I have been meaning to do, I took them to the dump! (According to all the signs, it is called a Transfer Station.)

I told Mr. 3 we were going to go and he put on his big  Blippi persona and was so excited that he even went potty without resistance. 

We arrived at the North Transfer Station at about 10:45 and went straight to the special public viewing area. We were there for nearly 2 hours, with only a quick potty break.

Mr.1 ran back and forth from window to window to watch the trucks dump and then be weighed and leave. Mr. 3 nearly drooled on the window when they brought out the monster front loader.

I promised them that we could come back because we didn’t even make it to the playground. I want to find out if they have a recycling sorting facility, because Mr. 3 loves the part in the Blippi show where they sort the recycling. 

They fell asleep in the car ride home; Mr. 1 right away and Mr. 3 shortly after getting a super cool side view of the I-5 bridge. I took this opportunity to calm my hungry stomach with some Starbucks and get the kiddos an easy lunch. For 5.45 you can get 1/2 pbj sandwich, cucumbers, carrots, cheese stick, apple slices, and chocolate covered raisins. Yum. I don’t buy them lunch often, but this one makes me feel good.  

After lunch, Mr. 1 dragged the big plastic box inside. I decided this meant he wanted to play with water. He loves bubbles so I added some dish detergent, and put the box on the patio. This kept the boys busy for nearly another hour. 

I definitely recommend checking to see if you have a local Transfer Station because it was a lot of fun!

By the way, did you know that the large garbage trucks weigh 64,000 pounds WITHOUT garbage? The more common medium size ones we saw today were about 34,000 pounds.

Daily Lessons, Math

Craft Ball Games

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My boys love these craft balls, and we don’t even use them for crafts. Both of them will go to our art cabinet and grab the bag and then empty them out somewhere. For $3 they are well worth the cost as they have seen a lot of use.

Two days ago they emptied the bag of 100 pompoms near their colorful stacking cups, and I thought why don’t we try to match up the colors? Both Mr. 1 and Mr. 3 participated for an educational few minutes, and then we somehow ended up in a pompom fight. They loved throwing the balls at each other and me. Today they rolled the balls down the slide and tried to toss them up onto the changing table. Mr. 3 also was putting them in the laundry hamper, and trying to count them as he did it.

I love when they take initiative and come up with games on their own. I also love it when they take my suggestion and I can feel like we tried to do some active learning.

 

Math, Science

Happy Chocolate Chip Day! 

According to National Day Tracker, today is National Chocolate Chip Day. What better way to celebrate, than by baking some chocolate chip cookies?

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These home-made cookies follow the Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe in my favorite cookbook, The Complete Cooking For Two Cookbook by American Test Kitchen. (Available from Amazon)

I had Mr. 3 help me make these and they turned out wonderful! There are so many benefits of cooking and baking with your children! Here are a few that I discovered today:

  1. This is a great way to practice MATH skills. We talked about so many different math things including, but not limited too: Measuring, Addition, Subtraction, Fractions. We also counted our 12 cookies before we baked them. And we counted again after we baked them, and ate two.
  2. We read the recipe together, and we talked about how the recipe was broken down into different parts. We read the ingredient list and talked about all the funny abbreviations and the weird way they write the measurements (fractions). We talked about the importance of following directions.
  3. They get to practice their gross and fine motor skills when measuring, scooping, pouring, and mixing. They have to practice being firm but delicate at the same time in order to not make a mess. The downside is that it does take a while to get these skills.
  4. There are science skills involved too. Watching the ingredients come together, or watching them interact in the oven and evolve into something we can eat is amazing. Also, we talked briefly about food safety and how baking the cookie dough makes it safe to eat.
  5. We practiced being patient while we waited for the cookies to bake.
  6. We discussed how cleaning up is part of the cooking and baking process. He helped me clean up by bringing the vacuum and helping me clear the floor of toys. He also helped me do laundry and we put in his shirt that was covered in flour.
  7. We were rewarded for our hard but fun work with super amazingly soft melt in your mouth chocolate chip cookies.

The more I think about this, the more benefits I can come up with. How about bonding with your child over something you both love? Or your child feeling useful and proud for making something so amazing? We need to remember that cooking is an important life skill, and we probably learned how to cook from our parents. Baking may not be a life skill, but it is similar to cooking and may help children get an introduction to the kitchen in a way that is pleasing and rewarding.

Besides, it was time to vacuum and wipe down the table anyways.

KidsHealth.Org has a great article that shows simple ways to include your little ones in the cooking or baking process. This includes giving them skill appropriate tasks such as scooping, pouring, mixing. If they are more skilled, they may even be able to crack eggs. My 3 year old likes to use the vegetable peeler on carrots or cucumbers. They also suggest cutting soft food with cookie cutters. Older children may be able to do more things. Trust yourself and your children!

I hope you have the chance to eat some cookies today.