Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bringing the Classroom Home - Hot Chocolate Bar

My daughter learned about Chocolate recently at school.  Who couldn't have a great time learning about and celebrating chocolate!! Makes me want to go back to preschool and do chocolate pudding fingerprinting and M&M color sorting and chocolate chip counting. I totally support all of those activities!

In the spirit of the holidays and because we had a cool-ish day, we decided to do our very own Hot Chocolate Bar! It was so much fun. We probably went a little over board for a mid-week activity, but it was great and totally worth it.

But before I get to the details, here is what she brought home:

Ok, now on to our part of the learning. The first thing we did was research what should be in our Hot Chocolate Bar (and discover that it was not a chocolate-bar, it was more like a salad bar but for a drink).

Then we planned our shopping trip and headed out! We had fun selecting special wafer cookies and marshmallows, but honestly we had most of the ingredients to make the cocoa. We made the cocoa in the slow cooker (original recipe here), toasted up some marshmallows (we will do this closer to the time we use them, they shriveled up by the time we were ready to enjoy our drinks) and laid out the rest of our toppings. Our toppings were:
  • marshmallows (regular and oven toasted)
  • chocolate dipped wafer cookies
  • cinnamon and cinnamon sticks
  • sprinkles
  • nutmeg
  • chocolate chips
  • candy canes
  • whipped topping

Finally, dinner was over and it was time to enjoy our Hot Chocolate Bar. I served up the cups of steaming hot cocoa and we each added in our own favorite toppings. Big Sister added a wafer cookie, candy cane and sprinkles and no whipped topping. My husband opted for a candy cane, chocolate chips and whipped topping. I chose cinnamon, toasted marshmallows and whipped topping. Wow! They all tasted delicious and it was a fun time to hang out and laugh as a family!

 Even Baby W got to try a little. He was not satisfied with a few sips! We only had one mishap. As we were adding in toppings, I saw my daughter crunching away on something and realized it was a cinnamon stick. She thought it was like the wafer cookie (it did look similar!). After she got out all the bits of bark from her teeth we were able to tell her how proud of her we were for trying something new. Next time, I'll review all of the toppings with her...although, I don't think this lesson will be one she'll need to repeat!

To make the celebration complete, we had gone to the library to get books about Hot Chocolate. Let me tell you, there aren't very many out there. My library had none. Well, it had one book about grandpas (called The Grandpa Book  by Todd Parr) and on like the third page it mentions hot chocolate. That's it. Then I spied The Polar Express! What a lucky find. Big Sister has not seen it and I knew that there was a great hot chocolate scene in there. So, we check it out and watched it :) The picture below is of her trying to smile while the movie is going on. She was very tuned into the movie and not so much the camera!

This was one of the most fun food activities we've done together. It was easy, delicious and full of language and learning opportunities. I highly recommend hosting a Hot Chocolate Bar with your family!

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