“The laziest man I ever met put popcorn in his pancakes so they would turn over by themselves.”
What can get children excited to try something new? In my home it’s always food and grand experiments, and this project includes both. My kids, ages 2 and 4, were enthralled from start to finish. Maybe it will be the same for you?!
This project encourages experimentation and curiosity, while also teaching basic kitchen skills.
The book shares a little bit about the history of popcorn while teaching children how to make popcorn. And it’s all told through cheerful illustrations and a humorous storyline. My kids adore this book, along with the other books by author Tomie de Paola, and I appreciate that my girls are learning some cool facts while we enjoy a bit of reading. In case you’re not familiar, de Paola is also well known as the author of Strega Nona and The Art Lesson. Both super popular in our home.
At one point in the story, the author writes, “The Colonists like it [popcorn] so much that they served popcorn for breakfast with cream poured on it.” Really?
The girls and I talked about this point for a few minutes and made some guesses about how this popcorn cereal might taste. And then we concluded that the only way to find out is…
…to make popcorn cereal for breakfast!
- 1/3 cup Popping Corn
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil or coconut oil
- Pour the oil and popping corn into a covered medium-sized pot, and place the pot over a medium-high heat.
- As the oil heats up, gently shake the pot so that the kernels cook evenly.
- Listen for the popping to go crazy, and continue shaking the pot until the pops only happen once ever three seconds.
- Remove the pot from the heat and pour the popcorn into a large serving bowl.
- To serve: Scoop a few spoonfuls into a cereal bowl, pour milk over the popped corn, and drizzle with honey.
Whenever possible, I like to include my kids in the kitchen. Not only do we enjoy each other’s company, but cooking provides children with so many opportunities to learn through measuring, chopping, pouring, making educated guesses, and exploring volume, just to name a few.
And all of these things add up to building confidence both in the kitchen and in life.
So, my kids measured the popcorn and the coconut oil, and I set it up on the stove.
Coconut oil can cook at a high temperature without burning, making it quite perfect for popping corn. The flavor is also divine. I recently joined Costco because they have an amazing selection of organic produce (no affiliation — I just like the place!), and I was surprised to find a big tub of organic coconut oil. Really, at Costco! I’ve also purchased it at Trader Joe’s, in case you’re in the market.
Once the corn was popped, we moseyed over to the breakfast table and gave our new recipe a try. The verdict? My kids LOVED it. They had seconds. And thirds. Not a spec of popcorn remained in the bowl. I can’t promise that your child will feel the same way about it, but I loved it too.
That’s my two-year old, on her second bowl of breakfast popcorn cereal!
Yum, there’s even a bowl for me. As soon as the milk hits the popcorn, it gets nice and soggy just as you’d imagine.
After pouring some milk over our popcorn, we drizzled it with our favorite honey. So, so good. And then we proudly woke dad up and told him all about how we ate breakfast just like the colonists.
- Try the Corncob Popcorn Experiment: Cook a dried corncob in the microwave for some serious fun and magic.
- I just found this recipe for making Perfect Popcorn. I’ve never tried this technique before, but it makes a ton of sense. I’m totally trying this next time.
- The Popcorn Book by Tomie DePaola
- Other fun and educational things to do with popcorn and preschoolers on Teach Preschool
- Are you a fan of Tomie de Paola? Guess what? He has his own website and it’s awesome!
- If you live anywhere near Concord, NH, there’s a Tomie de Paola show going on through June 23, 2013. And…they have some of the original illustrations from his personal collection will be for sale!
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