Hanukkah Gelt

Hanukkah Gelt

Hanukkah gelt is a festive treat for the Festival of Lights. Make this Hanukkah gelt even more special by creating the gold coins our of chocolate-dipped apricots! Some scholars believe that the biblical Tree of Knowledge wasn’t full of apples, which didn’t grow in the Middle East at the time, but instead held ripe apricots. This recipe for Hanukkah gelt uses the same fruit dipped in chocolate for a fun and healthy alternative to the traditional chocolate coins. This Hanukkah gelt can be given to children as a gift or used in a game of Dreidel.

What You Need:

  • 24 whole dried apricots
  • 16 oz dark chocolate (sweetened)
  • Parchment paper
  • 24 aluminum foil candy wrappers

What You Do:

  1. Melt the chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly to make sure it never boils. If you like, you can use a double boiler, but this is not necessary.
  2. Remove your chocolate from the heat when the chocolate is completely melted – smooth and glossy, without any lumps.
  3. Dip each apricot into the chocolate so that half of the fruit is fully coated. Carefully place each apricot on a piece of parchment paper.
  4. Once each apricot is dipped, refrigerate them until they are firm, for about a half an hour.
  5. To give them away as chocolate gelt, wrap each piece in a small, square piece of aluminum foil, so that they look like coins.
  6. The gelt can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days or eaten right away.

Your children can give small gift bags of the apricot chocolate gelt to other children as a Hanukkah gift, or it can be used to barter in the game of dreidel. Enjoy!

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Witches Brew

Witches Brew

This witches’ brew recipe for kids makes a scary drink for Halloween parties! This delicious witches’ brew looks like a pungent cocktail made for conjurers, but it’s actually a refreshing drink made of tinted lemonade, tapioca pearls, and gummy worms. The tapioca “eggs” are popularly used in Taiwanese bubble tea drinks. Read on to learn how to make this witches’ brew recipe for kids, and serve the drink in individual mason jars or a big punch bowl for a whole party of witches!

What You Need:

  • ½ cup whole tapioca pearls
  • Seltzer water
  • Green and yellow food coloring
  • Sugar
  • Lemonade
  • Gummy worms
  • Mason jars
  • Colorful straws

 

What You Do:

  1. Boil six cups of water and add in the tapioca pearls, cooking according to instructions. You’ll cook it for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Pour the pearls along with the water into a bowl. Add in four drops of yellow and two drops of green food coloring and stir.
  3. Add two tablespoons of sugar. Allow this mixture to sit for half an hour.
  4. Rinse and drain the pearls using cold water.
  5. Arrange your jars in a row. Add in two spoons of tapioca “eggs” into each jar.
  6. Fill them two-thirds of the way full with seltzer water.
  7. Top the jar off with lemonade.
  8. Drop in a couple of gummy worms, add a colorful straw and serve!
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Something Orange

Something Orange

This Halloween, explore the color orange with your preschooler by creating an edible picture using orange foods. You can follow our example and create a simple likeness of a man, or put together your own design. The beauty of this activity is that it calls for ingredients that you probably already have on hand, such as oranges, carrots, and American cheese.

As your little one builds his creation, and snacks along the way, he’ll compare and contrast different textures such as soft and crunchy, and explore flavors such as salty and sweet. To inject a little extra learning, give him a mini anatomy lesson to boost his vocabulary and self-esteem!

What You Need:

  • 3 slices American cheese
  • Orange slices
  • Orange bell pepper
  • 2 carrots
  • Round cookie cutter (you can also use the rim of a glass or lid of a container)
  • Knife
  • Cutting board or plate to work on

What You Do:

  1. Ask your child to place a slice of cheese on his work surface. This will be the man’s body. Talk about other words that describe our upper body, such as “torso” or “chest.”
  2. Have him cut a circle out of the second piece of cheese to form the man’s head. Ask him to place it on top of the man’s torso.
  3. Using the third piece of cheese, help him cut strips for the arms, legs, and neck. Have him put the body parts where they should be. As your child works, point to two or three of your own bones and explain what they’re called. For instance, as your child lays down the legs, you can mention that the “patella” is another word for kneecap; and as he sets the torso down, show him where the “clavicle” or collarbone is. Repeat each term a few times so that your child can commit the new words to memory. Imagine how amazed friends and family will be when your child points to various parts of his body and rattles off their names!
  4. Once the body is constructed, slice the carrot into coins for the eyes and hands and have him arrange them on the man’s face.
  5. Slice the bell pepper into thin strips for the mouth and eyebrows. Encourage your child to use his imagination to accessorize the man, say with a tie and pocket.
  6. Help your child grate the carrots and arrange them around the man’s face for hair. Grated carrot can also be used to create grass for the man to stand on.
  7. Finally, use two orange slices to form the man’s feet/shoes.

Now that your little man is complete, there’s only one thing left to do: give him a name!

**This activity is peanut free, tree nut free, and vegetarian.

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Caramel Corn

Caramel Corn

This year, ditch the boxed caramel corn and spend some quality time in the kitchen making your own! Our homemade version of caramel corn is fresher and bolder than any you’ve tried, and makes for a great cooking project. Wrapped in some festive cellophane, they make a delicious quick gift for friends and family. The best part is, your child can adjust the flavors to make her caramel corn really unique!

What You Need:

  • 6 cups (or 2 full bags) popped popcorn
  • 2 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixing bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Saucepan
  • Dash of salt

What You Do:

  1. Place the popcorn in a large bowl and help your child make the glaze. In a small saucepan, heat up the butter, brown sugar and corn syrup and stir it together, until it comes to a boil.
  2. Let the sauce simmer on low for tow minutes. Then carefully pour the hot sauce over the popcorn.
  3. Have your child stir the popcorn and caramel together until all the popcorn is coated. This is a great time to add in tasty mix-ins like nuts, chocolate, peppermint sprinkles or cinnamon.
  4. To finish the caramel corn, add a sprinkle of salt and let cool for a few minutes before digging in.

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Marshmallow Pops

Marshmallow Pops

What’s red, white, blue, and yummy? 4th of July marshmallow pops, of course! Whip up a tasty Independence Day treat with your preschooler to share with the family as you enjoy the fireworks. It’s a fun way to get him involved in the kitchen and sneak in some counting practice too.

What You Need:

  • Lollipop sticks
  • 6-8 large marshmallows
  • 4 tablespoons chocolate chips
  • Sprinkles in red, white, and blue
  • Custard cup or other small microwave safe bowl
  • Small plate
  • Juice glass

What You Do:

  1. Help your preschooler insert a lollipop stick into each marshmallow.
  2. Have your preschooler count the marshmallow pops, then help you measure the chocolate chips and pour them into the microwave safe custard cup or bowl.
  3. Microwave the chocolate chips for 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir. If they haven’t melted yet, continue to heat for 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each round. Keep an eye on the chocolate at all times; once the chocolate starts to melt, it will be ready very quickly. Don’t microwave the chocolate for more than 15 seconds at a time or the chocolate could burn.
  4. Decorating time! Help your preschooler dip a marshmallow pop into the melted chocolate, then hold it over the plate and sprinkle red, white, or blue sprinkles over it.
  5. Place the finished marshmallow pop into the juice glass for the beginnings of a marshmallow pop display.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 with each marshmallow, varying the color of the sprinkles each time.

Share this sweet treat with the family before the fireworks begin!

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Make Scented Play Dough

Make Scented Play Dough

Preschoolers can spend hours creating with play dough. Here’s a quick trick to put a fresh spin on an all-time kid favorite. Add in a packet of Kool-Aid powder and your play dough will smell like cherries, grapes, oranges, or strawberries! Your child will be fascinated by her new set of fragrant play dough, but she’ll also be giving the muscles in her hand the workout they need to get ready for all that writing, drawing, and cutting she’ll be expected to do in kindergarten. This activity is easy and fun, and it’s sure to bring a smile to your child’s face!

What You Need:

  • 1 large pan
  • 1 mixing bowl
  • 1 mixing spoon
  • 1 pack Kool-Aid powder, any flavor
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 3 cups water
  • Food dye (optional)

What You Do:

  1. Invite your child to pick a flavor of Kool-Aid mix.
  2. Help her measure and mix all the ingredients, and put them into the bowl. If you want to add some color to the play dough, squeeze in a few drops of food dye and mix it in well.
  3. Pour the mixture into the pan over very low heat.
  4. Stir until the mixture is no longer sticky, and then remove it immediately.
  5. Let it cool, and then present it to your child to play with! She’ll have hours of fun shaping and molding the sweet-smelling play dough. When she’s finished playing with it, store it in a large plastic zip lock bag. Experiment with different scents for a never ending fun time!

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Flowerpot Recipe Holder

Flowerpot Recipe Holder

Mother’s Day is one of the most widely celebrated holidays of the year – probably because everyone has one! Instead of a cookie-cutter Mother’s Day gift, kids can now make a personalized recipe display. This is a great craft to introduce Plaster of Paris, which works like cement to set the flowers in the pot. With a handwritten note or poem, Mom will cherish this gift forever.

What You Need:

  • Small flowerpot
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Water
  • Fork
  • Card stock
  • Craft sticks
  • Paint or markers
  • Glitter or stickers
  • Glue
  • Faux flowers (optional)
  • Poem or note for Mom

What You Do:

  1. Have your child find some plastic flowers, or draw and paint Mom’s favorite flowers on card stock.
  2. Next, cut them out and decorate the flowers with markers and glitter for sparkle.
  3. Paint the craft sticks green and glue them to the flowers for a finished bouquet.
  4. Help your child mix Plaster of Paris according to the package directions, and pour some into the flowerpot until it is halfway full.
  5. As the plaster begins to dry, your child can insert the flowers into the plaster, as well as the fork, with the tines facing up. This will clip Mom’s special note in place.
  6. Glue the note onto card stock and stick it in between the fork tines. When you’re ready to cook for mom, just stick the recipe on top for a hands-free display!

Inspire your child to write a note with this “Recipe for Love” poem!

Take a cup or two of laughter, and a pinch of good advice.

Pour in patience by the bowlful, and then stir it once or twice.

Fold in lots of hugs and kisses, and a mother’s gentle care.

Then cook it ’til it’s nice and warm, and spread it everywhere.

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Green Punch Recipe

Green Punch Recipe

A simple combination of lime sherbet, fresh lime juice, and lemon lime soda, this frothy, effervescent beverage is sure to make your St. Patrick’s Day celebration an extra festive affair. Friends will be green with envy if you don’t share, so be sure to prepare a large batch for everyone to enjoy. This activity involves plenty of pouring and stirring—be sure to get your kindergarten to lend a hand!

What You Need:

  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 ½ quarts key lime sherbet
  • 1 2-liter bottle of lemon lime soda
  • Ice cubes
  • Green sugar (optional)
  • Green maraschino cherries and lime wedges (optional)

What You Do:

  1. Have your child put the lime juice and water in a large punch bowl.
  2. Slowly stir in the sherbet.
  3. Add the lemon lime soda and stir. Watch as it starts to froth!
  4. Now it’s time to get the drinking glasses ready. To create the sugar rim, pour some colored sugar on a plate. Moisten your fingertip with water and rub it around the rim of the glass, then press the rim of the glass in the sugar and twist it around to give it a nice even coat.
  5. Put a few ice cubes into the glass and fill it with punch.
  6. Garnish with a lime wedge and green maraschino cherry if desired.

What a festive way to quench everyone’s thirst this St. Patrick’s Day!

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Rice Krispie Kisses

Rice Krispie Kisses

Is there anything better than receiving a little chocolate kiss? Well, maybe there is! Reinvent the classic candy with chocolate rice crispy treats in this delectable activity. These sticky, sweet treats help your preschooler master basic math concepts, practice writing, all while creating an adorable DIY gift for friends and family. Make chocolate rice krispy treats shaped like chocolate kisses for a special Valentine’s Day treat.

What You Need:

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measuring cups
  • Cooking spray
  • Aluminum foil
  • ½ stick unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup mini marshmallows
  • ¾ cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 cups rice crisp cereal

What You Do:

  1. Using the appropriate measuring cup, help your child measure out the mini marshmallows.
  2. Next, let her place the marshmallows inside of the mixing bowl.
  3. Then, using the correct measuring cup, help her measure out the semi-sweet chocolate chips.
  4. Again, help her pour the chocolate chips into the mixing bowl.
  5. Then, your child should place the unsalted butter in the mixing bowl, along with the other ingredients.
  6. Help your child place the mixing bowl in the microwave.
  7. Set the microwave to two to three minutes.
  8. Every thirty seconds, you should stop and give the ingredients a chance to congeal.
  9. Then, using the wooden spoon, have your child stir the ingredients.
  10. Repeat until the ingredients are completely melted.
  11. Help your child carefully remove the bowl from the microwave.
  12. Then, using the appropriate measuring cup, help your child measure out the correct amount of rice crisp cereal.
  13. Your child should then pour the rice crisp cereal into the mixing bowl, alongside the melted chocolate/marshmallow mixture.
  14. Using the wooden spoon, you child should then quickly mix the ingredients of the mixing bowl until they’re well combined.
  15. Next, help her measure out a sheet of aluminum foil the length of the baking sheet.
  16. Then, let her carefully tear the sheet out of the box.
  17. She should then place the sheet of foil on top of the baking sheet.
  18. Then, help her spray the aluminum foil with the cooking spray.
  19. Next, help her carefully pour the contents of the mixing bowl onto the aluminum foil.
  20. Then, making sure that the rice crisp cereal is cool enough to handle, help your child form the rice crisp cereal into the shape of a giant Hershey’s Kiss.
  21. She should then wrap the rest of the aluminum foil up and around the giant Kiss.
  22. Finally, have her place the baking sheet inside of the fridge.
  23. Chill the kiss for an hour, allowing it to firm up completely.

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Make Snowman Soup

Make Snowman Soup

Snowman soup is an extra special kind of hot chocolate. When it’s cold and blustery outside, nothing tastes better than a warm cup of cocoa…unless it’s a steaming mug of snowman soup, stirred with a peppermint stick! This cooking project, which requires only stirring, is perfect for kids and makes a fun holiday gift for teachers and friends. Make some snowman soup with your child, and let him practice measuring and mixing this holiday season.

What You Need:

  • For cocoa: 5 cups powdered milk, 2 ½ cups powdered sugar, 3/4 cup cocoa powder, ¾ cup powdered non-dairy creamer
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Individually wrapped candy canes
  • Clean, empty jars or zip-top sandwich baggies
  • Ribbon
  • Optional: holiday mugs

What You Do:

  1. To make hot chocolate mix: help your child place a fine strainer basket over a large bowl and press each ingredient through the basket with a spoon to break up any lumps. Stir well.
  2. Fill each jar or biggie ¾ full of the mix.
  3. Top with a layer of mini marshmallows and a layer of chocolate chips.
  4. Close baggies or jar. Tie a candy cane to each jar with the ribbon.
  5. To give as a gift, place the baggies of cocoa mix in a new holiday mug and write out instructions: Add a few spoonfuls of snowman soup to boiling water, stir with the candy cane, and enjoy!

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