Cooking with Kids: Cauliflower Soup

A bowl of warm soup is comforting and healthy. We made a batch for lunch this past week, and you might like to try this at home over the weekend. Remember that the steps in italics are for adults only.

You will need:
1 head of cauliflower
2-3 cups vegetable broth
1 yellow onion
3-4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
Olive oil
Salt

To make the soup:

Clean and chop all the vegetables and herbs.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a medium pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and a pinch of salt.

Cook garlic and onion, stirring occasionally until soft and beginning to brown.

Add cauliflower and rosemary

Turn the heat up just a little bit and cook the veggies for another 3-5 minutes. Add just enough vegetable broth to cover the cauliflower. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat so the broth is simmering.

After about 5 minutes, remove the soup from the heat. You can also choose to blend the soup until it’s creamy and smooth in consistency.

Taste for seasoning

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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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

Try This At Home: Everyday Art

At Elements, keeping children happy and busy is what we do, and we know that it’s what a lot of you have to do at home, as well. So here are two of our favourite art activities that are fun, easy to do and always put a smile on little faces.

Magic with little hands and feet

You need:

  1. Sheets of paper
  2. Non-toxic watercolours
  3. A brush
  4. Your little one’s hands and feet

You could either spell a word, like we have – Love – or paint a turkey!

Have your child pick a favourite colour and paint it over a hand, or a foot. Place it on the sheet of paper, to create your desired image.

Butterflies!

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You need:

  1. A sheet of contact paper
  2. Lots of coloured bits of paper
  3. Glue

Draw the outline of a butterfly on the contact paper. Give the child glue, and a pile of coloured bits to choose from. Have them glue the bits into the butterfly.