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Pizza Party Play Date

11 Jul

I’ve mentioned before that we have regular play dates with our neighbours. The kids have all been enjoying some pretend ‘pizza making’ play together so we thought it was appropriate to have a “Pizza Party” and make our own pizza’s.

Pizza’s are a great meal that kids can actually really help with so if your kids are wanting to get into the kitchen, pizza is a great place to start.

First we did a pizza collage using some cut up foam shapes and a paper plate. Using their fine motor skills, the kids put ‘tomato paste’ glue onto their paper plates and then decorated their plates with the ingredients.

 

The finished product.

Then we moved onto the all important real pizza making!

First we prepared our ingredients, cutting pineapple pieces, ham and mushrooms. Using our Kiddy Kutter safety knives, the kids were able to cut their ingredients completely safely without too much input from the mum’s! Great for developing independence and confidence, not to mention fine motor skills. Thomas was reluctant to touch the ham – he didn’t like the feel of it (and doesn’t like the taste either!) but he loved cutting up the pineapple (and having a few tastes while he was doing so – chef’s privileges!).

Once the ingredients were all prepared, it was time to roll out the dough. There was a lot of concentration involved in this task but with some help we had some great looking pizza bases…

Then we had to add our toppings to our pizza’s…

First the sauce…

Then all the other toppings. During our cooking, we used lots of descriptive words such as ‘roll’, ‘spread’, ‘sprinkle’ and many others. We also sang some cooking songs (basically made up words to familiar tunes). We stuck to pretty basic ingredients but obviously you could use any ingredients you like. Thomas has only just recently decided he likes pizza so we made it simple ham, pineapple, mushroom and cheese.

They look pretty yummy! Ready to go in the oven. It was great for the kids to see the transformation from uncooked to cooked.

Cut cut… We took it in turns to use the cutter to cut the pizza.

Time to eat!

We all had a lovely day. The kids were relaxed and played with each other so nicely all day and we all enjoyed a yummy homemade lunch! Thanks for a fantastic pizza party girls!

Cupcake in a Cone

9 Jul

I’ve been really slack with my blogging lately! Believe me, we are still cooking but my little friend has decided to cut out his daytime sleep and I have found myself somewhat short on time to sit down and put our adventures on the blog.

With that said, I would like to thank my friend Claire who kindly sent me the pics and recipe for these gorgeous little cupcakes in ice cream cones. They would make a great activity to do in the school holidays – you could decorate them in any way you like!

Simple and easy the instructions – from Claire are as follows:

You just need a cake mix (I used the 75c one from Aldi).

Follow the directions to make the cake

Pour the mixture into flat bottomed ice cream cones to about 3/4 filled

Bake for about 12-15 minutes.

Once cooled ice them and add sprinkles. I didn’t have any butter so my icing is a bit flat but still gives the ice cream effect.

Some suggestions for toppings:

  • sprinkles
  • choc chips
  • small marshmallows
  • smarties
  • m&m’s
  • nuts (if there are no allergies)
  • lollies
  • crushed up crunchie or violet crumble bars
  • berries
Any more suggestions? I’d love to hear them!
Have you ever had an ice cream bar at a party? These could be a fun alternative – no melting ice cream to worry about!

Thank you to Claire for sharing :-).

Pyjama Party Play Date

29 May

We have regular play dates with our neighbours. The kids have recently become quite interested (bordering on obsessed in Thomas’ case) in each others pyjama’s so we thought it would be fun to have a pyjama party.

I wanted to make some fun food for our pyjama party to make it extra special…

Savouries to start with:-

Savoury Stars and Moons

These are really easy to make and you could do them for any theme.

They are just puff pastry cut into shapes of your choice (in this case stars and moons), put some grated cheese on to the star or moon, brush the edges with a slightly beaten egg and place a star or moon on top, push down around the edges, brush top with egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake in a moderate oven for approximately 10 mins.

Then on to the sweet stuff…

Bacon and Eggs

These were just too cute. I found them online somewhere and adapted my own version. They are chocolate wafer biscuits – split in half. Melt some white chocolate and allow to harden slightly, dollop some chocolate onto middle of wafer and put an m&m in the middle… Voila! 

Teddies in Blankets Cupcakes

We had a great morning. The kids loved wearing their pj’s for the morning. It was really easy to get ready in the morning too!

I think the Mum’s were a bit more excited than the little ones :-). We are going to have some more themed play dates… Have you got any suggestions? Would love to hear them!


Valentines Day Chocolate Playdough Fun…

15 Feb

I saw this recipe on The Imagination Tree. If you’re looking for some great activities to do at home with your kids, be sure to check out this blog. There are some fantastic ideas that look like so much fun!

I thought chocolate playdough sounded like something fun to make for Valentines Day, although the play turned into a birthday party – all good :-).

I talked in my last post about sensory play being great for brain development. If you’re looking for a different kind of sensory recipe, this is the one for you. It was really quite bizarre when Thomas and I were making it. It smelt delicious and looked like chocolate cake… but it wasn’t. Maybe a bit disappointing because there was no spoon to lick 🙂 but fun none the less.

The recipe is no cook (although involves boiling water) and is a really lovely texture. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun with this one in the days to come. Thomas wasn’t really in a playdough mood this morning but his friend H. had a great time making cakes and they both enjoyed singing ‘happy birthday’ to each other.
Playdough is a fantastic activity, there are so many learning outcomes that can be achieved through playing with playdough and most children love the experience. Apart from the sensory aspects of playdough, children are using their fine motor skills, developing their language and literacy skills by taking part in and initiating conversations, basic maths skills (counting, size), colour recognition – there are many more depending on what other aspects your playdough play incorporates too.

Chocolate Playdough Recipe:

  • 2 cups plain flour (all purpose)
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsps vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsps cream of tartar
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 4 drops of glycerine (optional extra for increased shine and stretch)

Method:

  1. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl
  2. Stir in the vegetable oil
  3. Mix together
  4. Stir in the boiling water (adult only) and mix until combined
  5. When it has cooled a little, knead it on a clean surface until it loses all stickiness and becomes smooth and stretchy. No residue should come off on your fingers. If it is still sticky add a little more flour, if too dry and crumbly add more water, a tablespoon at a time.

I’m a bit slow in getting this post up, but since I made the playdough we have been having lots of fun making all different sorts of birthday cakes. We have been exploring numbers making number cakes and making chocolate biscuit cakes and letter cakes, making little cakes and big cakes, tall cakes and small cakes… Lots of fun that is only limited by your imagination! 🙂

Homemade Scones

26 Sep

Thomas is enjoying a book called “Cooking with Grandma” by Rosemary Mastnak at the moment. It is about a little girl called Anya and her Grandma and their cooking adventures together. In the book they make scones. Thomas keeps asking what scones are so on a rainy Sunday afternoon it seemed like a perfect time to introduce him to making scones! Thomas’ Nanna assisted us in the kitchen but last time she tried to make scones they were more like rock cakes so Thomas and Mummy were the head chef’s ;-).

I can’t remember making scones  (I probably would have done years ago at school) so this was a new adventure for me as well! This recipe was just from taste.com.au. The scones were very easy to make and tasted “denicious”!

Ingredients

plain flour, for dusting
3 cups self-raising flour
80g butter, cubed
1 to 1 1/4 cups milk
jam and whipped cream, to serve

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly dust a flat baking tray with plain flour. Sift self-raising flour into a large bowl.
  2. Using your fingertips, rub butter into flour until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Make a well in the centre. Add 1 cup of milk. Mix with a flat-bladed knife until mixture forms a soft dough, adding more milk if required. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently until smooth (don’t knead dough too much or scones will be tough).
  4. Pat dough into a 2cm-thick round. Using a 5cm (diameter) round cutter, cut out 12 rounds. Press dough together and cut out remaining 4 rounds. Place scones onto prepared baking tray, 1cm apart. Sprinkle tops with a little plain flour. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and well risen. Transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm with jam and cream.

This is a great recipe for introducing children to the concept of kneading which is good for developing fine motor skills and large muscle strength (you have to push quite hard to cut the scones out!). Thomas really enjoyed making the scones and we all enjoyed eating them for afternoon tea!

Homemade Lemonade

20 Sep

Thomas’ favourite drink at the moment is lemonade. I’m not quite sure where he developed a taste for it (or even found out about it) but he keeps asking for it. We have told him that lemonade is only special for parties. He has accepted that. I thought as a special treat it would be nice to make some genuine lemonade with him.

We both really enjoyed making this lemonade. It was simple and very hands on for my little assistant.

First of all we made some mint ice cubes which we put in the freezer. We have mint growing in our backyard and Thomas likes to pick it and eat it so it was nice to actually do something with it.

What you will need for Mint Ice Cubes:

An ice cube tray

Mint leaves separated from stalk (approximately 1/4 cup)

Water

What you do:

Fill ice cube tray with water. Have your child place one mint leaf in each ice cube. Place in freezer until frozen.

Children will be using and refining their fine motor skills and hand eye co-ordination doing this activity.

Homemade Lemonade

6 Lemons (to make 1 cup lemon juice)

80g caster sugar

3 cups water

Method:

First of all we went to pick the lemons off our lemon tree. Thomas loved doing this. He is really learning about taking care of living things by having vegetables, fruit and herbs growing in the garden. He is showing more of an interest and loves to water them and make sure they’re not “too thirsty”. Growing plants and looking after them is a great way for children to develop some sense of responsibility. It is also great for their self esteem to see something that they have grown being enjoyed by the whole family!

  1. Take the lemons and cut in half. Juice each of the lemons using a juicer. Strain the lemon juice into a jug to remove pith and any seeds.
  2. Gradually add caster sugar stirring continuously to dissolve.
  3. Add 3 cups of water to sugar and lemon mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Pour into bottles or jugs and refrigerate until cold.
  5. Serve with mint ice cubes and enjoy on a nice hot day!

Note: You may want to increase or decrease the amount of sugar depending on how bitter the lemons are as this can vary.

Bake a Chemistry Cake

17 Aug

I thought I would share this experiment with you. I found the printout on the Powerhouse Museum website (if you’re looking for activities to do with your kids I highly recommend checking out the ideas on their website http://play.powerhousemuseum.com – go to the ‘make and do’ section).

This would be a great experiment to do with older preschoolers or school kids. Its a bit over Thomas’ head at this stage but one that I will definately be doing with him when he gets older…

Click on the link below to printout the instructions and questions.

Make a Chemistry Cake

Would love to hear how your experiments go!