Cooking with Kids: Applesauce Fun & Learning

When I started making plans for our apple theme, I added "make applesauce" to the list of things to try.  At the time, I didn't plan on it being be much more than a fun thing to do.  But then I started thinking of the different things there are to learn through cooking, and then I started thinking of fun ways to enhance our little cooking activity to make it more of a learning experience.  Next thing I knew, I had made a mini-unit out of cooking applesauce!  The kids had so much fun with it, I thought I would share a bit of  a step by step guide to teaching through cooking.   At the bottom of the post, you'll find a little list of things that can be learned from each step.

Read the recipe and help make grocery list
I typed up a simple applesauce recipe for Sam in words that he could read (for the most part).  We also discussed the basic layout of a recipe- ingredients are listed at the top and the directions follow.  As we read, I showed him the measuring cups that would be needed and asked him to identify the fractions on the side.

Then he helped me make our grocery list for the week.  He learned to look at the ingredients section of the recipe and plan our list based on what we had on hand and what we needed to buy.  He narrated to me what to include as I wrote out the list.  I also showed him our meal plan for the week.  I explained that planning what to buy each week for each meal was the same as planning what to buy for the applesauce.

Draw the recipe
I made up a kid-friendly recipe template with space to draw the steps.  His job was to draw the ingredients.  My intention was to make this a writing assignment, but in the interest of time I decided to go ahead and write out the steps for him.

Set up a cooking prep station
I sliced the apples and set out the other ingredients, the measuring cup & spoon needed for the recipe, and an apple corer so the kids could look at the recipe and prep it themselves.

Kids prep ingredients
1. Prep the apples.  The first ingredient in the recipe is "4 apples: peeled, cored, and chopped."  The tray had peeled apple slices ready for them.  Each kid took their turn using the apple corer to core and chop the apple slices and tossed them in our pot.  (I laminated blank pieces of paper for them to use as cutting boards).

2. Measure ingredients.  The rest of the recipe called for 3/4 cup of water, 1/4 cup of sugar, and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. 

Turn it into applesauce!

Sam read the direction section of the recipe and told me how to proceed- cover and cook for 20 minutes.  While it cooked, we reviewed the fractions we used to measure the ingredients and talked about all the science that was happening while the apples cooked.  After the apples were cooked, I spooned them out into bowls to cool, then each of the kids mashed up their own and finally got to taste what they had made!


What can be learned:
  • Reading practice by reading the recipe.
  • Reading and writing practice:  Copy and/or draw the recipe and help make grocery list.
  • Fine Motor: Using the apple corer.
  • Math and Science: Follow directions in a particular order to get desired result.
  • Math:  Measuring and fractions
  • Science:  Ingredients mix together to make a new substance.
  • Science:  Irreversible change.  After the apples are heated with the water and mushy, they can never go back to being firm apples again.

Here are some more apple themed activities we've done:

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  1. LOVE this, very Montessori with all the practical life activities and child involvement! I'm pinning to remind myself to do each of these things next time we bake (for example, I hadn't thought to have them help make a grocery list) :)

  2. YES! Beautifully written, Tanya.

  3. Tanya - Love how you did this - what great ideas. Featuring at Family Fun Friday!

  4. Yum! There is nothing better than homemade applesauce! Looks like you guys had a BLAST cooking it up together =)

    Thanks for linking up to TGIF! I hope to see you linked up again later today.

    Have a GREAT weekend,
    Beth =)

  5. Love all your learning ideas here! Thanks so much for sharing it with us at After School :)

  6. i like the science teachable moment, no bringing back a crunchy apple after it's mush :) would you mind sharing this on our #kidsinthekitchen linky this week.

    1. here's the link :) http://lookwhatmomfound.com/2013/11/making-bread-sticks-kids.html

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