Welcome back to our Playful Preschool Series! Last week our theme was apples and we shared an alphabet learning activity using apples. This week we have an apple recipe to cook with the kids as we explore the theme Family/Heritage. I love cooking with kids. I often made things with kids in the classroom and now I cook or bake at least one item or dish each week with my 2 year-old and 3 year-old.
Family Recipe Books
Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Your support of Growing Book by Book is greatly appreciated. As we explore the theme of family/heritage this week, I immediately knew I wanted to make our family crock pot apple butter recipe. It was a great activity to connect to our learning from last week. Each year, we make apple butter to give to family and friends. We also make plenty to freeze for the winter. It’s a family tradition I look forward to every year and something I want my kids to remember too. This year I came up with another way to document this family memory- A Family Recipe Book!
Why We Chose this Activity
There are so many literacy benefits to cooking with preschool children.
- following multi-step directions
- increasing vocabulary
- recognizing letters and letter sounds
And, we capture all this wonderful learning in a beautiful keepsake family recipe book! Another reason I chose the crock pot apple butter recipe is that it includes lots of steps that are perfect for preschoolers.
Making the Apple Butter (Cooking with Kids)
This is how we make our apple butter. You could make our family recipe or pick any recipe that has meaning to your family. I share some cooking with preschoolers resources below if you would like to find some new family recipe favorites!
14 large Gala apples (you can use other apples that are good for sauce making) 1 1/2 cups of light brown sugar 1 TBSP cinnamon 1 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg 1/2 tsp. ground cloves 1 tsp. salt 1/2 lemon 1 tsp. vanilla
1. Place the crock pot on the counter. The apple butter will cook for 10-12 hours. We usually prepare it in the evening so that it can cook all night! You will wake up to the most amazing smell! 2. Adult and Child– Wash, peel and chop the apples into large chunks. My preschooler used a butter knife to help chop apples. 3. Child- Place apple chunks into the crock pot. 4. Adult and Child- Sprinkle brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt on top of apples. 5. Adult and Child- Turn on the crock pot to low for 10 hours. My preschooler likes to press the correct button and he gets to work on number recognition too. 6. Adult– After 1 hour, stir the mixture and continue to cook for 9 more hours. It will reduce by about half. Use an immersion blender to create a smooth sauce. 7. Adult- After 10 hours, stir in the juice of 1/2 lemon and the vanilla. Allow to cook for one more hour on low with the lid off the crock pot. 8. Adult and Child- Cool and then place in mason jars. We keep one in the refrigerator to use immediately. It will keep for about 1 week. Give some to family and friends and freeze the remaining containers. We ended up making several batches during the Fall. The recipe makes about seven 8oz. jars. My boys love to eat apple butter by the spoonful. We also put it on toast, tortillas and muffins. My mom loves to put it on ice cream!
Making the Family Recipe Book
Whether you choose to make our family recipe or your own, you will want to have a camera ready to document the steps. I had 4×6 prints developed at a local store. A few days after making the recipe, I pulled out the pictures and we talked about each one. Then, we sequenced the photographs in the correct order on the floor. Next, we glued each picture into a Bare Book. I keep lots of Bare Books on hand for writing projects. You could easily just staple pieces of construction paper together to make a book too. Another option that takes a bit more time to get the finished project is to create a book online at a service such as Snapfish. Later in the day, I had my son describe what was happening in each picture again. As he dictated, I wrote down his words. My son has not shown a lot of interest in forming letters yet so I did most of the writing. I did invite him to write a few o’s here and there. If your preschooler is ready to form letters, then let them share the pen with you! Don’t forget to add a great title, dedication page and about the author page. You now have a family recipe book to read and treasure for years to come!
Preschool Cooking Resources
You can take any family recipe and break it down into easy manageable steps for a preschooler who will be in the kitchen with you. I highly recommend prepping ingredients and materials needed before beginning the recipe. Choose a space to work that provides enough room for a preschooler to work big. If you would like to find some new family favorite recipes, check out the cookbooks by Mollie Katzen. Pretend Soup is one of our favorites.
Plan your Family Theme Preschool Activities with these ideas from the Playful Preschool Education Team!
Amanda from The Educators’ Spin On It talk about this activity and other family themed activities in this Google Hangout!
Family Theme Learning Activities: Reading – Writing – Cooking – Sensory – Art – Math
Bookmaking for a Preschool Family Theme from Fun A Day
Finding My Family on a Map from Powerful Mothering
Preschool Writing Activity: Letters to Family from Mom Inspired Life
Cooking with Kids: Family Recipe Books from Growing Book By Book
Our Family Tree: Sorting Family Members from Still Playing School
Family Themed Sensory Bin from Little Bins for Little Hands
Tips for Using Skype to Connect with Family from The Educators’ Spin On It
Family Portraits from Rainy Day Mum
Family Counting from Tiny Tots Adventures
Jamaican Games for Fine and Gross Motor Skills from Learning 2 Walk
Family Footprints from Capri +3