At this time of year, baking and making candy is a HUGE part of the holiday traditions in my household. Some of the recipes we make are recipes that I made with my mom as a child, like Kris Kringles (cut out cookies with frosting) and Mexican Wedding Cakes. However, each year we try some new recipes. This year, we made lollipops and fudge!
As a homeschooling family, baking is about more than just spending time together and building traditions (although those things are awesome too!) We also work on a wide range of math and science topics including measurement, doubling, and heat. We work on safety and talk about the chemical reactions that are going on while we are cooking. Sometimes we talk about how cooking and ingredients have changed throughout history or why certain foods are considered holiday foods. For example, pumpkin and apple pie are traditionally cooked for Thanksgiving because they are seasonal produce of the season, just as watermelon is seasonal to Independence Day. The conversations that we have while baking are priceless for building background knowledge and understanding. While it is slightly easier to do these projects with my small group of 3, I have done cooking projects in the classroom setting too, with groups as large as 30 or 40 kids.
Last year, I worked with a group of teacher bloggers to put together a Holiday Cookbook for Kids. The recipes inside are perfect for classroom or homeschooling atmospheres. The cookbook is available as a free download from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
What cooking or baking projects will you be doing with kids – in school or at home – this year?