We were "blessed" with a snow storm last week. Although most adults I know were not too impressed, the children were ecstatic! Once the snow melted a bit our back yard was filled with snow, slush, puddles, and mud. I noticed a few of the children filling up pots and pans with muddy slush and stirring it. Before I could ask what they were up to one boy yells, "WHO WANTS SOME COCOA!??" Everyone stopped what they were doing and booked it to the boy. "Be careful it's hot you guys." He told them, and the children were blowing on their "hot cocoa" so they wouldn't "burn their tongues."
Soon after, everyone was at the hot chocolate puddle making me delicious cups of cocoa. I only had two cups and they started charging me.. It started off costing $2 which I thought was pretty good, but the next cup was $5! (Talk about inflation!) I asked them their recipe and they told me, "You just make chocolate hot." I asked, how do you do that? "On a stove."
As I continued to watch them cook their hot chocolate I decided we needed to make hot chocolate "for real life." (As the children would say) I went out and bought the supplies we would need to make it. I considered making the cocoa from scratch but I decided that would be a project for another day. I had a bag filled with a kettle, marshmallows, cups, spoons, and hot chocolate for outside and once the children spotted it they went CRAZY. "How are we going to make hot chocolate outside?" I explained we were going to build a fire.
Everyone ran outside and grabbed rocks, sticks, branches, etc. and began building a fire right away. It was pretty wet outside so we discussed that we were looking for dry pieces of wood. We had discussions about fire safety, and the children worked together to get a bucket of water to keep near the fire before it started.
We twisted pieces of paper nice and tight to put on the bottom and found branches, sticks, and scrap wood to build a 'teepee'. I lit the fire and the children cheered! I explained we had to collect more supplies to keep the fire going. Once we had a steady fire the children filled up our kettle, and we put it on the fire. Immediately someone asked, "IS IT READY YET?" Somebody replied, "No, it has to boil!" We then continued by giving our estimates on how long it would take to boil.
We didn't have a timer, but it was close to 10 minutes when the kettle began to whistle. We had to let the cocoa cool down before we could drink it and that was complete torture. (working on that delayed gratification!!)
'FINALLY'..... hot chocolate time!!
The warm cocoa was such a nice treat on a chilly day, and what made it even sweeter was that we could make it together! To extend the interest I made up some hot cocoa paint for the kids to try out.
Hot Cocoa Mix
* I tend to never measure anything; just use your personal preference.
The entire art room smelled of sweet delicious chocolate, and the children were very appreciative of the marshmallows they could sneak!
I can't wait to see what else we can do with hot chocolate!
- Leslie Dionne