Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cooking Class/Party

We try to get together with homeschoolers from our church every so often for a time of fellowship and learning for the children.  This month we did a cooking class that was packed full of fun and food!  Since it was to be more educational than party like, we included activity tables that filled the time with extra learning and fun.  I will include what all the children made at the end of the post.  The meal was delicious and enjoyed by all!
 "Anyone Can Cook" is the theme from the movie Ratatouille.  We wanted them all to know that cooking isn't just for the moms in their lives.  I believe and hope they all learned something helpful that encouraged them to help out in the kitchen when they can.  This sign was used with the language table.  They had to see how many words they could make from the phrase.  I believe one of the older kids came up with 16.  
 This is our preschool/baby group, minus a few smaller babies.  They had great fun making major messes.  : )  The preschool age got to wear aprons along with all the older kids.  They spent most of their time playing after they did their prepared projects.  A big thanks to Carie from Jacksprat for helping make the aprons for everybody.  They added just the perfect touch to our class!   Thank you Carie!
 Decorating cookies with colored frosting, sprinkles and lots of mess.  They turned out beautifully and were so yummy!

 Here they filled celery sticks with peanut butter and were supposed to save them as appetizers for the whole group, but I believe some of them ate their appetizer a little early.  : )
This was also our free time table.  We had worksheets such as crossword puzzles, word searches, etc that all had to do with cooking and what the children had learned throughout the day.
Each activity table had a basket in the center that was filled with fruits and veggies.  Out of the center of the produce was a dowel rod with a small chalkboard on the end that said what activity that table was going to be.  It was cute and a fun way to decorate and still be useful.

 The appetizers that the preschoolers and babies made.  We've got some talented little chefs at our church.  : )

 Ahead of time, we let all the students know that we would be having a No Bake Cookie Contest.  We also let some adults enter, but most of the entrants were children.  This proved to be a very fun part of the class and got them cooking in the kitchen before hand.

 One of the groups made meatballs.  They all got their hands in it and formed the balls, and boy were they tastey. 

 This group did several things.  Here they are making fruit kabobs, which was our other appetizer.  Our meal didn't end up getting finished until about 2:00, so we all needed a little snack to get us by until the food was ready.

 The older group made homemade italian dressing and homemade noodles.  The process of noodle making is very long and time consuming, but they were delicious! 

 And I believe they had a good time doing it!  Yes, even the one boy!  : )

They ran the clumps of dough through this dough flattener (I'm sure there is a more technical term for it). 

 Then hung all the flat strips of dough onto racks.  What a process!  Thanks to a lady from the church who so willingly volunteered to come help teach the children this!  It truly was a blessing to have her there helping them, helping clean up and making my job a little easier!  Thank you Colleen!

 After the dough is dry (in our case it wasn't dry enough since we didn't have time to wait around), they ran the flat pieces through another gadget that turns it into spaghetti like noodles.  Look at that table full of noodles. 

 Back to the group that made several things.  They made the best garlic bread I have ever tasted!  Do you see all the little books by them and in their hands?  Those are the recipe books that the children carried around with them to use as they made their foods.  Each child received one, and it was full of every recipe they made during the day, with space for them to write recipes they found in cookbooks that were provided for them to look through as they had time.
At the art table they were allowed to decorate them with markers and crayons and different shapes and colors of pasta noodles.  Was very fun for them!
 Can't have a cooking class without dipping pretzels.  One of my favorite things to do with the children and with all the sprinkles of every color and shape, it made for some very yummy looking pretzel rods.  Look at all those girls in their aprons.  Was so much fun!

 This table was our health and science table.  The paper bags were labeled taste and smell.  In the smell bags were some cut up jelly beans that the kids had to smell to figure out what flavor it was.  In the taste bags were jelly beans for them to taste.  In the end they had to figure out which sense was stronger, their taste or smell.  It was quite unanimous that taste was stronger.  They also had another taste activity at this table where we put two foods together such as grapes and cheese, bananas and cinnamon, chocolate and peanut butter, and pretzel and cream cheese.  With their eyes closed, they had to figure out which two foods they were eating.  They also learned how their sense of sight can also be helpful in taste since grape flavor is usually purple, orange flavor is orange, lemon is yellow, etc.  This was a fun learning table.

After the meal we had the children make their own ice cream.  It is best to do this with just a couple children at a time.  It got a little chaotic with so many.  We put the ingredients for ice cream in a pint sized zip lock baggie and sealed it shut.  In a gallon size baggie, we put some ice, then the pint sized baggie, more ice and rock salt.  We had the children partner up and take turns sloshing the ingredients around in the bag.  I think some of them did it a little too rough, because their bags broke open causing some loss of ice cream.  : (  But most of them were able to accomplish the job and enjoyed some ice cream with M&Ms from the math table and apple crisp that one of the groups made. 

 After the meal, it was time for clean up.  The children were ready for some down time after the full morning and afternoon.  We put in Ratatouille which is a perfect movie to show at a cooking party.  I think it is one of the better children's movies as it really does teach quite a bit about the kitchen.  They all seemed to enjoy it! 
Oh, we can't forget about the Cookie Contest.  These were our three judges (Hey, how did Casie slip in as a judge?   There were 4 but one was helping with the babies).  They had cookies that felt dry, moist, tasted like veggies, and like coffee, but the winner was a gooey, chocolate, cookie with coconut in it.  Congratulations to the winner who received a gift card to Applebees for doing such a great job in the kitchen. 

Our day was quite long, and if we do it again, we would definitely shorten things up a bit and not have so much going on.  But the children definitely had a day of school, fun and learning moments with their friends in our make shift classroom.  Thanks to everyone who participated and helped make this day a CeLeBration in the kitchen! 

Foods that were made:

Homemade Noodles -for the meal we added organic spaghetti sauce to the pasta
Homemade Meatballs
Parmesan Garlic Bread
Salad (tomatoes, red onions and croutons) with Homemade Italian Dressing
Decorated Sugar Cookies
Dipped Pretzel Rods
Celery Sticks and Peanut Butter
Apple Crisp in the Crock Pot
Homemade Ice Cream
Fruit Kabobs

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