Cooking with Kids: Homemade Plant Based Ice Cream!
Children love to eat what they cook!
This is no surprise to anyone who has prepared a meal with, instead of for, children. Even the most picky eaters will experiment with new flavors and textures if they are involved meaningfully in the process of making their food. But did you know that learning to cook and similar “practical life activities” serve a developmental role for children?
Young children, from ages birth to 6, have a natural need and desire to perfect their gross and fine motor movements. They appreciate any activity that allows them to do this: setting a table, preparing a meal, cleaning up, getting dressed, etc. As they develop these skills they gain control over the mind, body, and will which makes them able to satisfy their own needs. This, of course, is the foundation for independence. Through fun activities like cooking with you, your child will gain mastery over his or her actions which leads to an integrated personality. And we know that having an integrated personality is the foundation of good social relations. By caring for oneself, one learns to care for others. By recognizing and satisfying ones personal needs, one learns to recognize and satisfy the needs of others as well as the group.
So take the time to cook with your young child. By following our tips below, you’ll discover that it can be simple, healthy, tasty, and fun. As your child gets older and develops more self control, you can increase the level of difficulty and responsibility.
Tips for Fostering Independence
1. Give your child materials he can use successfully.
a) Materials structured for child’s independent and repeated use.
b) Real, child-sized, and arranged in a simple, orderly way.
2. Prepare the activity in advance.
a) Think through every detail ahead of time.
b) Organize the materials needed in a tray or on a shelf linearly, from top to bottom.
3. Model the cycle of activity with your child.
a) Designate a specific place to work (carpet/table).
b) Sit to the right child.
c) Do each step slowly and pause after the step.
d) After you, then it is your child’s turn. Observe and only help if needed.
Homemade Creamy Fruit Ice Cream
2 ripe avocados
2 cans of coconut milk (chilled)
1 ripe banana 1 tsp vanilla essence
3⁄4 cup agave syrup or other sweetener 2 cups of any fruit (berries, figs, etc.)
3 baking mixing pan bowls (glass or metal)
Invite your child to wash hands with you. Together, place all the supplies needed on a table in a logical order. Place the cutting board in the center and the mixing bowls above it. The blender, knife, and can opener should be located where you will be sitting. Place the banana and avocados in one bowl and the cups of fruit in the next bowl. Ask your child to sit. You should sit to the right of your child.
Open the cans of coconut milk and ensure there are no sharp edges. Show your child how to spoon out the creamy part of the milk into the blender canister. Discard the cans.
Cut open an avocado on the cutting board. Show the child the seed and put it in the empty mixing bowl. Demonstrate how to spoon out the avocado flesh into the blender canister with the spoon. Ask him/her to place the skin into the mixing bowl.
Place the banana on the cutting board and cut off the ends. Put them in the third mixing bowl. Take a small piece of the banana skin and pull it off slowly. Put the skin in the bowl. Invite your child to finish peeling the banana. Ask him to put it in the blender.
Show your child how to take fruit from the mixing bowl in one hand and put it in the blender. Do the same for the sweetener and vanilla essence. Allow him/her to finish. Explain that you will now cover the blender and blend the ice cream. Blend the mixture on high speed until smooth.
Explain that you must now pour the mixture into the pan and then put it in the freezer. Invite your child to help you pour the mixture into the pan and carry it to the freezer.
Allow the ice cream to freeze for 20 minutes. Explain that during this time, you two will clean up the kitchen then prepare bowls and spoons to eat it with. After cleaning, invite your child to take the ice cream out of the fridge and place it on the table. Demonstrate how to scoop ice cream into a bowl and allow him/her to do so. Put whatever is left back in the fridge.
Enjoy your ice cream together!