Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chocolate spoons

Inspired by some chocolate lolly stirrers that you can buy in the stores, I wondered if you could make them for next to nothing at home. By simply using a teaspoon, chocolate chips and a microwave I could bring a big smile to two little girls faces.
Not very healthy I know, but it is a great activity for a little treat and by the looks on their faces, I think they were a big hit!

Who can play?
Children aged 3 years plus (grown ups will love this activity too)

What do you need?
Chocolate chips (a cup makes around 8 spoons)
Metal/wooden tea spoons
Microwaveable bowl
Cups (preferably plastic, so they do not smash)
Plate to rest the spoons on in the fridge
Pan to heat the milk

Supervision is a must.
Once the chocolate has been in the microwave, the bowl and chocolate will be hot. It is best to place a towel around the bowl, so little fingers do not get burnt, you will also need to wait until the chocolate has cooled slightly before they begin dipping in their spoons.
Keep the cellophane out of the reach of the children, it can cause suffercation. 

What did we do?
A play date with one of Bee's best friends (I will refer to as A), was a perfect opportunity to try out making the yummy chocolate spoons.
As soon as I mentioned we would be making chocolate spoons, both Isabella and A couldn't wait. 
The first thing we did was wash our hands. We talked about washing off all the germs, so that when we cook, they will not spread into the food and make our tummy sore. 
When sat at the table and took turns to scoop out the chocolate chips from the tub into a measuring cup. Some chocolate chips ended up 'accidentally' being dropped on the table. In the name of science, we tried them, just to make sure they tasted good. We talked about them being a solid and A said "they taste nice" and Isabella said "it's creamy". I then asked the children about what they thought would happen when the chocolate was in the microwave and they said "it will go hard".
I placed the chocolate in a microwaveable bowl and set the timer for 50 seconds. We counted along by stamping our feet, whilst saying the next number. As it was cooking the girls said "mmm, it smells yummy!" Once the timer had finished I placed it on the side (away from the children) and stirred the chocolate, to make sure it was all melted.
Once it had cooled slightly, we took it over to the table. We talked about the change that had happened and that the heat had melted the chocolate chips, turning them into a liquid. The children then enjoyed dipping their spoons into melted chocolate. 
After placing them on the cellophane wrapped plate, we predicted what would happen when we put them in the fridge, they both said "go cold". As soon as they went into the fridge, the children kept asking if they were ready... I think they were excited to try them.
After about 15 minutes the chocolate had set and they were ready for the next stage.
The milk was warmed in a pan on the stove for a few minutes and poured into plastic cups (I checked the temperature, to see that it was not too hot first, before giving it to the children) 
Bee and A were happy to see their chocolate spoons again and had a little lick of them. They said the chocolate had "gone hard again" and tasted "nice". We stirred the chocolate covered spoons into the warm milk and talked about the chocolate melting once again and making the milk turn brown. They then drank their yummy chocolate milk and for a few minutes all was quiet :-)
All in all I think the chocolate spoon activity was a success and we will be doing it again.

What did we learn?
Personal social and emotional- The children gained pride from finished product and enjoyment from eating something they have made. Learning health and safety rules, such as washing hands before touching food. Taking turns, sharing and cooperating. 
Creative-change of colour of the milk (white then when the chocolate spoon is added it turns brown)
Problem solving, reasoning and numeracy- counting down the seconds when the chocolate is melting in the microwave.
Knowledge and understanding of the world-Predict what will happen when the chocolate chips are placed in the microwave. Learning about change of state ( when the chocolate melts and then becomes a solid again. The effects that hot and cold have on the chocolate chips.
Communication, language and literacy- listening to directions, describing what they can see and taste.
Physical- Using fine manipulative skills to dip the spoons in the melted chocolate and large when stirring the spoon in the warm milk. Moving the spoon around in a clockwise or anti clockwise movement.

Follow up activities-
Instead of just using plain chocolate chips, you could first dip the spoon in white chocolate, let it cool and then drizzle on milk chocolate. Finely crushed peppermint candy canes could be added to the chocolate prior to setting.
To make this activity a little bit healthier, you could replace the spoon with a strawberry. Dip the strawberry in the chocolate, place ontop of cellophane on a plate and then into the fridge. No need to dip in milk. As soon as the chocolate is set, enjoy!
For a small home made holiday gift, place your chocolate spoons in cellophane wrap and tie with a pretty ribbon. 

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