Cooking with kids can happen at any season and here is a kindergarten readiness fun and learning activity especially for fall time: making applesauce. Applesauce is a favorite for kids’ snacks but it doesn’t just come in packages, it’s easy to make at home.
To make applesauce, cut 2 or 3 apples into smaller pieces, apples can be peeled or not. Using an apple cutter that looks like a wheel with spokes, it was easy to make sections. The cutter makes a sort of flower. Little hands can cut up these sections into smaller pieces using a plastic picnic knife. Put the pieces in a bowl and sprinkle in a few shakes of cinnamon. Depending on the sweetness of the apples, sugar may or may not be needed. A squirt of maple syrup or honey can also be used. Watch when happens to the color, depending on what is used as sweetener. Add a small amount of water to the pan or dish.
Heating up the applesauce to make it soft and warm can be done in a variety of ways. I have tried it in a pot on the stove, in an electric frying pan, in a measuring cup in the microwave, and in the slow cooker. Cook the apples until soft and stir. This takes only a few minutes, unless using a slow cooker. More water might be needed. After a taste test, if the apples are sour, a bit more sugar or sweetener can be added. Let the applesauce cool before eating.
Lots of learning happens when kids are involved too. How heat changes food is a science concept. Cooking is definitely a sensory experience, with touch, taste, smell, seeing and even hearing. Kids get to practice such actions as measuring, stirring, slicing, doing steps in a particular order, observing, and following directions. Language can almost be included as another ingredient, with new words and ways of talking. Waiting for something to be ready takes patience. There’s cooperation as well as learning about safety. Clean-up is an important part of cooking, just like sharing is part of enjoying. Can you taste the sweet flavor of fun and learning?