Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Cooking with Kids and the Garden

Today, my summer school class (all seven of us) got to participate in a cooking demonstration at school.  About four years ago, we started the Happy Harvesters School Garden at school.  All summer long, families and school staff meet at school to weed, water, and harvest the bounties of the garden.  (During the school year, Happy Harvesters is an after school activity.)

Angie Warren, our Happy Harvesters teacher coordinator, arranged to have a visitor from the Walworth County Extension Food & Nutrition Program come out to talk with the Happy Harvesters kids about cooking with fresh food.  Little did we know what a fun and tasty morning it would be!

Angie and her Happy Harvesters harvested these from our school garden:

The kids were divided into five groups (with about two parent/teachers per group) and each group was given a healthy recipe.

Cucumber Salad
Guacamole with Tomatillos
Butternut Squash with Green Beans and Maple Syrup
Spaghetti Squash with Peanut Sauce
Dilly Roasted Potatoes
Students had to gather their ingredients, read the recipe directions, cut up all of their veggies and bake, marinate, saut√© and roast as directed.  (I can tell is NOT easy to cut a cucumber with a plastic knife!  :v)


After all the cooking was done, the kids got to enjoy a taste!  It was really cool to see the kids try something they had never had before...and actually like it!  (Ratatouille was very well received, which kind of surprised me.)  My favorite was the Butternut Squash with Green Beans and Maple Syrup (yum!) and I am excited to try Spaghetti Squash for the very first time.

The kids got to take home a copy of the recipes when we were done.

Afterwards, we talked about all of the new things we learned (baby dill has more flavor than older dill, tomatillos are kind of sweet and not really like a tomato, lemon cucumbers only look like a lemon but taste like a cucumber, etc.) and the ways we saw MATH being used (measuring, time, geometry, adding, etc.)

It was a great morning of fun learning!  It was so incredibly engaging for the students and taught great teamwork skills. 

As I watched the students, I was thinking that I need to incorporate more cooking into my classroom.  Food is very motivating!  How do you use food to engage your students?  I'd love to have you share in a comment below!

I'm off to the store to buy some spaghetti squash for dinner...


  1. That is amazing! What a great opportunity for those children!
    Grade 4 Buzz

  2. What a great activity! I should've come for the cooking lessons too! An experience they'll never forget! Love it!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  3. I love spaghetti squash! How awesome is this that you were able to do this with the kids. I'm in awe!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'


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