Cooking with Kids: Rice Bowl

We had a lovely afternoon recently cooking with Reo, the mom of Thomas, one of our students. She helped the kids make a yummy rice bowl, and was kind enough to share the recipe for others to try out. The steps in bold are for adults only. 

Bon appetit!

Peel and chop 2 bulbs of garlic.
Chop 2 bunches of asparagus.
Chop some salted black beans.
Set aside cooked rice.
Break 12 eggs in a bowl but do not beat them.

In a wok, heat oil and fry the garlic until aromatic but not brown.
Add the asparagus and stir fry. Then, add the eggs, and stir gently to start cooking.
Add the black beans, and cooked rice.
Cook until the eggs are done.
Serve in a bowl.

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Let’s Play Soccer!

Every Thursday, we have a soccer coach come in for the children aged 2 years and up. They love the game and we love watching them run around. Here’s a look, if you’d like to see.

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Why kids should garden

Last week our students harvested a crop of tomatoes that they had planted and tended to. We used the tomatoes – which were delicious! – in meals through the week, and everyone loved eating what they had grown.

 

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Do you garden with your kids? You should, because these are just three benefits:

How gardening can affect the BRAIN:

There is a myriad of scientific concepts you can discuss with your kids when planting and tending to a garden. One study showed that children who participated in gardening projects scored higher in science achievement than those who did not. The wonder of seeing a garden grow may spark your kids to ask questions like: Why do the plants need sun? How does the plant “drink” water? Why are worms good for the plants? Soon you will be talking about soil composition, photosynthesis and more! Add a little math while gardening by measuring how much plants are growing from week to week or counting the flowers on each plant. Supplement the experience of gardening with books about plants, trips to a botanical garden, or a photo journal of the plants that you are growing.

How gardening can affect the BODY:

When children participate in gardening, the fruits and vegetables that they are inspired to eat will no doubt have a positive effect on their body. But the act of gardening itself can also promote a healthy body. Kids LOVE to get their hands and feet in the dirt, which can run counter to the modern parenting style of compulsively keeping hands and surfaces cleaned and sanitized. However, consider the “hygiene hypothesis,” a theory that a lack of childhood exposure to germs actually increases a child’s susceptibility to diseases like asthma, allergies and autoimmune conditions by suppressing the development of the immune system. So getting dirty while gardening may actually strengthen a child’s immunity and overall health.

These days all kids could benefit from a little more physical activity and sunshine they’ll get while gardening. Activities like moving soil, carrying a heavy watering can, digging in the dirt and pushing a wheelbarrow can promote gross motor skills and overall strength for a more fit body. Plus, these activities, known as “heavy work,” have been shown to help kids stay calm and focused.

How gardening can affect the SOUL:

In this electronic age, kids need time for meaningful family connection. Time in the garden allows for team building and promotes communication skills. Planning a garden, planting the seeds and watching them grow give kids a sense of purpose and responsibility. Making sure that the plants get enough fertilizer, water and sun fosters mindfulness. The concepts learned while gardening, like composting food scraps for fertilizer or using gathered rainwater, can show kids a deep respect and responsibility for taking care of our planet.”

Resource

10 Inspired Gardening Projects for Kids

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Cooking with Kids: Avocado Toast

This is a healthy and delicious lunch the kids enjoyed at Elements. It is easy to make and much of it can be done by children, with a little help from adults. The steps in bold are for adults only.

Ingredients

Avocado

Bread slices

Lemons

Tomatoes

Olive oil

Smash the avocados, and juice the lemons.

Add the lemon juice to the avocado. Mix very well.

Cut the tomatoes in half.

Each child got slices of bread, which they spread the avocado on, to make sandwiches, which they ate with tomatoes on the side.

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Why music helps art

We tried an experimental activity at school last week, based on a number of articles which talk about how listening to music helps children tap into their creativity.

The premise is simple – music soothes and relaxes the mind. A calm mind is key for imagination and the creative instinct to take over. Music is the best way to help children enter that state, in which they can explore their creativity.

This article states four key benefits of listening to music:

  1. It is a moon enhancer
  2. It relaxes the listener
  3. It sparks inspiration
  4. It helps increase focus

We decided to make the most of the weather and paint outdoors. Here are some pictures, if you’d like to see

For more information on this subject, you might find these helpful –

Music and The Brain

Music and Creativity

 

When life gives you lemons…

… you make lemonade! Or even, just on a summer’s day, lemonade is a great idea.

The Elements students had such fun making lemonade in out kitchen, with lots of ice and an extra dose of happiness.

We then set up a table within the premises of the school and spent an afternoon offering passers-by a free, refreshing drink.

Of course this was a fun activity, but the students also learnt the importance of sharing, of being compassionate – a cool drink on a hot day is something people appreciate – and of being able to make conversation with those who stopped by.

It really was a successful day and everyone was very pleased with how well it went.

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A Friday tradition

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“I don’t know why, but the meals we have on picnics always taste so much nicer than the ones we have indoors.”

– Enid Blyton

Weather permitting, we love our Friday picnics. The kids get finger foods from home. We head out into our custom-designed yard to eat lunch al fresco. It’s a wonderful way to end the week. Spending time outdoors, of course, has its benefits. What we love even more is just watching the kids soak in the sun, in the company of their friends, being comfortable in the natural world. It is one of our key endeavours at Elements Preschool, as an urban nature school, to help children reconnect with nature. A Friday picnic is one of the nicest ways to do that.

If you’re inspired to host a picnic for your kids, or with friends and family this weekend, here are some great resources:

12 Secrets for the Perfect Picnic

13 Quick and Easy Recipes for Picnics

8 Outdoor Games for a Picnic

Cooking With Kids: Pizza

We made pizza for lunch and it was delicious. As always, the kids helped out, and if you’d like to try this at home with your children, here’s the recipe we followed. The steps in bold are for adults only – the kids can help with everything else. Have fun! We sure did.

Ingredients:

Pizza dough
Peppers
Pepperoni,
Cheese
Olive oil
Back pepper
Olives
Onions
Tomato sauce.

Pre-heat oven to 550 degrees.

Slice all the vegetables.

Sauté the peppers and onions with olive oil and black pepper.

Roll out the pizza dough.

Spread the tomato sauce and top with the vegetables and meat. Sprinkle black pepper, cheese and olives.

Bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes.

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Summer fun with crafts & plants

We spent a fun summer day at a neighbourhood garden. The kids were greeted warmly by the staff there. They then learnt how to trace, cut and sew teddy bears and pillows. It was such a fun activity, and the kids loved decorating their crafts. To end a lovely morning, the kids walked around the garden and helped water the plants. While leaving, they were given the bears they made and with loud “thank yous”, we were on our way back to Elements. Take a look at some pictures from our fabulous day!

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