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Cooking with Kids this Winter – Practical Life Exercises

Eating and (to a lesser extent in recent times) cooking meals within a family or other group are important daily rituals with many traditional and practical elements which can enrich the lives and skills of children.

Rae at The Creative Process shares both the meaning and many artistic representations of meal sharing in Sharing Food, Food in Art Unit Study. http://www.amonco.org/winter1/montessori_winter1.pdf

Gayle Henderson discusses the subject of family meals and includes an interesting questionnaire about family relationship styles here: http://www.ivillage.com/family-dinner-value-sharing-meals/6-a-128491

This University of Florida Extension article goes into even greater detail. It also encourages families to not only eat together, but cook and clean up together, too. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1054

Cooking provides many great opportunities for children to practice both academic principles and practical life exercises.  Reading recipes, shopping, cleaning fruits and vegetables, measuring ingredients, making substitutions, serving family or guests, and trying new flavors are all wholesome and educational activities that help children learn and grow. They also offer opportunities for children to “absorb culture”, as Maria Montessori put it.

This short article talks about how one busy family uses friendly family “cook-off” competitions to share their love of cooking and for one another.  Male and female family members of all ages participate, and relatives who don’t cook get to eat and vote along with everyone else. http://www.associatedcontent.com/shared/print.shtml?content_type=article&content_type_id=1765762

Do you have good cooks among your family and friends?  Do they have “signature” dishes you look forward to eating over and over again?  If so, and especially if they are older folks, a fun and meaningful project is to compile these recipes and related stories into a booklet form that your whole family can share and save to remember when the beloved cooks are no longer around to share their cooking secrets and stories. For some great hints on how to get started, check out this article: http://www.kitchendaily.com/2010/04/28/preserving-family-recipes/

Farm Country General Store has a great selection of cookbooks —  historic, thrifty, beginning, Amish, etc.  – as well as books on gardening, nutrition, and other related subjects. Many are on sale now, just in time for the holidays!  http://www.homeschoolfcgs.com/index.php/cPath/34

Also, here are some recipe ideas from our resource list members to get you started.

Main dishes and side dishes

Children and adults alike enjoy a dish that looks fancy but is actually easy to make. Laeticia from Professor Toto shares a great example of this with her recipe for Crêpes for Children http://www.amonco.org/winter7/montessori_winter7.pdf

For a variety of filling ideas for both main dish and dessert crepes, check out: http://www.world-of-crepes.com/crepe-filling-recipes.html and http://www.easy-french-food.com/crepe-filling.html

Mary Roberts from Hello Wood Products offers another simple but tasty main dish recipe with her Onion Pie.http://www.amonco.org/winter7/montessori_winter7.pdf

For a taste of a different culture, try Verna from The Music House’s recipe for Aromatic Basmati Rice with Saffron. http://www.amonco.org/winter3/montessori_winter3.pdf

Get kids to eat their greens with Elaine from Kimbo’s fun Spinach Dip. It is perfect for many types of fall/winter gatherings. http://www.amonco.org/winter6/montessori_winter6.pdf

 

Desserts and sweets

Introduce children to a new flavor combination with Pistachio Poppy Seed Cake from Rick at Fun With Languages. http://www.amonco.org/winter2/montessori_winter2.pdf

Have fun with this classic recipe for Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookie Cut-outs from  Cooking with Children Can Be Easy. http://www.amonco.org/winter2/montessori_winter2.pdf

Ligia from Childsake offers a quick and easy no-bake Holiday Cheesecake as a festive dessert for busy families. http://www.amonco.org/winter5/montessori_winter5.pdf

For a baked cheese pie, try this recipe from Sara L. Ambarian, which makes two pies: http://www.amonco.org/ambarian4thofjuly.html

Get more cheesecake topping ideas here: http://www.baking911.com/recipes/cakes/cheesecake_toppings.htm

Dale Gausman at North American Montessori Center shares a traditional dessert with a tropical twist with his Ginger-Coconut Baked Apples.http://www.amonco.org/winter3/montessori_winter3.pdf

Even the youngest budding chefs can help make Dianne from Conceptual Learning’s Nutty Chocolate Pudding Squares. What a great opportunity for the little ones to get involved and serve their own creation with pride!  http://www.amonco.org/winter4/montessori_winter4.pdf

Georgette at Cantemos shares some sweet snack recipes with her Dried Pineapple and Chocolate-Dusted Almonds. http://www.amonco.org/winter4/montessori_winter4.pdf

Perhaps Farmer’s Favorite Fudge from Larry at the Farm Country General Store will be come a new family favorite for you.  http://www.amonco.org/winter6/montessori_winter6.pdf

Find more recipes in AMONCO’s Christmas in Australia Unit Study, including historic and delicious Anzac Biscuitshttp://www.amonco.org/winter2/montessori_winter2.pdf

 

Kitchen chemistry, substitutions and science for older students

The following sites have lots of interesting and useful information for older children to use in the kitchen.

http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/common-ingredient-substitutions/detail.aspx

http://www.scienceofcooking.com/

http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/index.html

If you know an aspiring “Iron Chef”, this blog provides really complex and interesting information about both the chemistry and the art of cooking, with gorgeous photos of nouvelle cuisine. Check the left sidebar to see specific subjects, or just enjoy whatever is current.

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ACCENT ON ACADEMICS—Reading, Writing, Math, And Science

As teachers and parents, we know you are always looking for new ideas for teaching basic academic subjects.  Here is a round-up of useful resources.

READING–

Richard from The Lord Company is still offering Simple Reading Books. http://www.amonco.org/winter3/montessori_winter3.pdf

Find lesson plans to use with the Three Little Kittens story from Elaine at Kimbo. http://www.amonco.org/winter6/montessori_winter6.pdf

Enjoy Free Middle School Word Puzzles from Alan Stillson’s Stillson Works. http://www.amonco.org/winter5/montessori_winter5.pdf

For a fine variety of classic American and world literature books for all ages, check out the selections at Farm Country General Store (many titles are currently on sale) http://www.homeschoolfcgs.com/index.php/cPath/17_48  and Wholesome Books.  http://www.wholesome-books.com/store/literature.html

Literatureplace.com offers an historical fiction reading guide. http://www.amonco.org/winter7/montessori_winter7.pdf

For a neat assortment of art examples which features people reading, see The Creative Process.  http://www.netposterworks.com/literature/reading_in_art.html

WRITING–

Nan Barchowsky offers Big Numbers, a handwriting exercise using the elements of the Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting system. http://www.amonco.org/winter2/montessori_winter2.pdf

MATH–

Look over this Math Sequencing Activity from Dianne at Conceptual Learning. http://www.amonco.org/winter4/montessori_winter4.pdf

Dr. Borenson of Hands-On Equations offers free algebra problems here: http://www.amonco.org/winter4/montessori_winter4.pdf

MISCELLANEOUS SCIENCES–

Zoological study goes seasonal with the Animals in Winter Unit Study. http://www.amonco.org/winter4/montessori_winter4.pdf

For more on this subject, Dale Gausman from NAMC provides an activity plan for Acting Out How Animals Survive the Winter. http://www.amonco.org/winter3/montessori_winter3.pdf

Sample southern hemisphere Christmas flora in the Christmas in Australia Unit Study. http://www.amonco.org/winter2/montessori_winter2.pdf

Richard from The Lord Company offers Water and Land Forms Cards and Labels, with interesting ideas about how to use them differently for younger and older students. http://www.amonco.org/winter3/montessori_winter3.pdf

Enjoy Dale Gausman of NAMC’s Smelling Bottles Experiment for the littlest kids. http://www.amonco.org/winter3/montessori_winter3.pdf

For another interesting olfactory experience, try Mariaemma from Coaching for Learning-Success’ Scented Basket Project. http://www.amonco.org/winter4/montessori_winter4.pdf

Find out more interesting facts behind the science of our sense of smell here: http://www.stumblerz.com/science-of-smell/

Share this fun explanation of scratch-and-sniff technology with your sticker-crazy students. http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/science-questions/question274.htm

Another interesting and easy sense of smell experiments for 5th-8th graders can be found here: http://www.education.com/science-fair/article/kiss-and-smell/

Rae from The Creative Process gives ideas for teaching children about alternative energy sources like solar and wind. (Next to last set of articles.) http://www.amonco.org/winter1/montessori_winter1.pdf

Experience physics in action with this simple experiment from John Grunder at Exploration Education. Find free Air Lift Experiment instructions here: http://www.amonco.org/winter2/montessori_winter2.pdf

For older students, delve more into physics with his Soap That Grows experiment. http://www.amonco.org/winter6/montessori_winter6.pdf

 

 

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