Cooking activities with kids can be wonderfully fun and an opportunity for building language skills while making treats! Kids learn measuring, numbers, fractions, following a sequence of directions, chemical changes to describe, and patience as they wait for their results.

We’ve had a lot of fun recently with Mindware’s new Playful Chef’s Chocolate Studio and Shoppe. Recommended for 7 and up, I’ve had  11 and 9 year-old boys love making the chocolates, as well as 5 year-olds (with supervision) enjoy it too. The combination of these 2 sets is a little cooking lesson as well as an opportunity for pretend play, as younger kids set up their display tiered tray and get ready to “sell” their treats to friends.

First the kids put the Wilton Candy Melts, “Colorburst” which had colored dots in white chocolate, and milk chocolate, into the child-safe electric melting pot plugged it in.  We shook dinosaur, rainbow, car, and fish sprinkles into the three trays of chocolate molds–stars, hears and teddy bears–and were ready to pour the melted chocolate into the molds. The leftover chocolate turned in to what the kids called “blobs” which were drops of chocolate heavily decorated with sprinkles. After filling the molds we waited for the chocolate to harden and observed a change in the shininess of the chocolate as it cooled.

Now comes the fun. We twisted the chocolates out of the molds and placed them on the parchment paper, ready to prepare for our Shoppe. The kids loved assembling the fancy boxes, writing names on the side and placing some foil to line their box for the chocolates. Usually the boxes had only one chocolate in them because the kids were so excited to give them away. “Daddy gets a star because he is an All-star Daddy!”

Kids can practice written language skills as they name their Shoppe, make a sign and draw pretend money to exchange.

Did I say we had to hide the beautiful candy display because the Shoppe owners were eating too much of their product?