We can learn about what foods are grown and eaten all over the world by trying new restaurants or recipes. Cooking together as a family can be a learning and a bonding experience. Kids can practice following directions, the math of measuring, and the science of combining ingredients, all while learning about their family’s heritage or food from other cultures.
Gather your ingredients and get ready to add your special seasoning to your favorite dish. Need ideas? Check out a cookbook, website (such as RaddishKids), or the recipe database AtoZWorld Food.
Try a food from a different culture to earn the Food badge in the Summer Reading program. Just mark the activity in your Beanstack account!
Questions? Call 847/590-3320 or email KidsRead@mppl.org.
Eggs are an incredible adaptation that allow birds to stay light and able to fly while their babies are growing. Bird eggs are covered in a shell with lots of tiny holes. These allow air and moisture to pass through. Eggs are also covered in a coating that keeps out bacteria and dust.
Place the egg in your hand (take off any rings first). Squeeze the egg with even pressure. Does it break?
Now (over the sink or outdoors) squeeze the egg with just two fingers. Did it break?
What will happen:
The shape of an egg makes it very strong to even pressure. Even an adult squeezing it can’t break the shell.
When uneven pressure is put on the thin shell, the egg cracks easily.
When a bird sits on an egg to incubate it, the pressure is evenly distributed on the shell and the egg can easily support the bird. When a chick is ready to hatch, it pushes on just a small part of the shell with its egg tooth and the shell will crack to allow the bird to hatch.
A drinking glass
Place the egg in a glass and cover with household vinegar. Wait about 24 hours, pour the vinegar out and replace with fresh vinegar. Wait a full week and then take the egg out.
What will happen:
The shell is made of calcium carbonate, which dissolves in acetic acid. The vinegar will dissolve the shell, leaving the semipermeable membrane intact. The yolk and white will still be contained in the soft membrane, so it will look like an egg, but will be squishy when touched.
Beginning in the middle of February and stretching into mid March, the Sugar Maple trees begin to prepare for spring by sending sap up to their branches to fuel the spring growth. This is one of the first signs of spring in the forest and marks maple syrup season. On days where the nights are freezing and the days are in the 40s the sap will flow up the tree. Once it is still above freezing overnight, the sap will turn cloudy and can no longer be used for syrup. At this point the tree will begin spring growth.
Maple syrup is made by collecting the sap from a maple tree, usually a sugar maple, and boiling it to allow the water to evaporate and concentrate the sugar. Once enough water has evaporated, the sap becomes syrup.
Sugar Maple trees are tapped because their sap has the highest concentration of sugar, but even so it takes 40 to 50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. Straight from the tree, the sap looks like water and has a barely noticeable sweet taste.
Winter is a great time to bake bread. While it takes time to rise, the hands-on time of baking bread is minimal. Helping in the kitchen is useful for reinforcing following directions, practice with numbers, and is way to spend time with kids while bring productive.
This recipe is from Kid Chef Bakes, the kids cookbook for aspiring bakers, by Lisa Huff. It makes two loaves of white sandwich bread.
Stand mixer or large bowl
2 loaf pans (8 ½ by 4 ½, by 2 ½)
Pastry brush (optional)
2 cups warm milk (2% or whole is best, 105-115° f)
2 T sugar
1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
2 T butter at room temperature
1 T vegetable oil
Butter for greasing pans
Prepare the Yeast:
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the hook attachment, or a large bowl using a spoon, mix the yeast, milk, and sugar. Let stand for 5 min.
Combine the Ingredients:
Add the 2 T butter, 4 c flour, and salt to the yeast mixture. Mix on low with the hook attachment until well blended. Add more flour as needed, a little at a time, until the dough forms. Raise the speed to medium and continue to knead for 4-6 minutes or until the dough is elastic. Alternatively, mix the flour in by hand and knead by hand for about 8 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Let it Rise:
Grease a large bowl with oil. Add the dough and turn to coat, then cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm place to double in size, about 1 hour (or more if your house is cool). Tip the dough out, split it, and form two loaves. Please each loaf in a greased loaf pan. Allow to rise again for about 30 min.
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until brown and hollow sounding (bread should be about 200° F in the center when baked.) Cool slightly and then tip out onto a cooling rack. Cut when cool.
If you are looking for something to do while your bread is rising, try making butter in a jar. All you need is heavy cream and a jar. Try this recipe: How to Make Homemade Butter