Every Friday in our class is Foodie Fun Friday! That means we cook or make a snack that is related to our theme or unit. Yes, people, you read that right…we cook every Friday. We receive lots of questions about how we do Foodie Fun Friday and about cooking in the classroom so we’re going to give you some insight into this engaging, standards-based activity.
Materials And Allergies
As with everything in the classroom, planning is key. We have our snacks planned out for the year so we can be prepared. This makes gathering materials easier. As for paying for the materials, we choose to pay out of pocket. We see this as providing an experience to the kids so it’s our way of giving back. In the past, we have asked families for monetary donations and donations of food items. Both work well.
The most asked question we get about Foodie Fun Friday is WHAT ABOUT ALLERGIES? At the beginning of the year, each family completes two forms that address allergies and any dietary restrictions. That means we know our students and we know of any allergies. We simply modify recipes to address allergies. Do we stop using food? NO. People, it’s time we stop letting fear prevent us from doing stuff in the classroom. Be smart. Be prepared. The key here is COMMUNICATION with families. The families know each snack we make each week and the ingredients. If there are concerns, we work together to come up with alternatives. In order to respect religious and cultural dietary needs, we communicate each snack and ingredient with families and ask if there are any concerns. If so, we ask families how we can modify the ingredients. Communication is key!
Preparation And Set Up
Foodie Fun Friday happens every Friday afternoon. It is usually the last hour or so of the day. Most of our snacks don’t take long to do but we like to have plenty of time. Preparing the materials and setting up is key to success. We sometimes have things set out for the kids, but they usually grab their trays, plates, utensils, and napkins and discuss the materials one at a time.
We use these trays from IKEA for our Foodie Fun Friday lessons. They’re large and deep so they’re great for any cooking activities! These are SMULA trays. Click the image to see them on Ikea’s website!
Foodie Fun Friday And Standards
Guess what? Each of our snacks is tied to our unit or theme and meets standards for speaking and listening, science, and literacy. Recipes mean we’re learning to sequence the steps. Science means we’re learning about changes. Speaking and listening happen because we’re talking about the snack. And we always use this time to review what we learned about a topic. And most importantly, we’re having conversations that are VITAL to our students’ success. THEY HAVE TO TALK MORE so they can build vocabulary and language.
Who’s Doing The Work?
In our class, the students run the show. They’re doing the work. They do most of the talking. And when it comes to the snacks and cooking, the students are doing 99% of the work. And yes, they use plastic knives. A lot. And it’s 100% ok. Again, don’t let the fear stop you. Each time we use knives, we discuss safety. They can handle it, I promise.
The key here is that the students are doing the work. They are making their snack. They are involved in a very tangible, hands-on way. Does this mean more of a mess? Absolutely. But that’s what kindergarten should be: making messes!
Each snack is completed in a whole group setting and we do each step together. It’s a step-by-step process. I model the step and the students complete it. I usually offer little to no assistance. Independence and struggle are good for them. As we are completing each step, we’re discussing what we’ve learned and what we’re doing.
After our snack is complete, the most important part of the process happens: WE EAT! We have some simple rules for eating:
- We eat as a family. This means we wait until everyone is ready.
- You have to take 1 bite of every snack. It’s ok not to like it and not finish it, but you have to try it. The logic behind this is getting them to be bold and try new things. It’s always hilarious to watch their reactions and to see the things they actually end up liking.
- We don’t say things like “gross” or “yuck”. It’s a respect thing. We can say we don’t like it.
- Clean up your mess!
Foodie Fun Friday In Action
Check out this video to see what cooking in the classroom looks like in action!
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Cooking In The Classroom: Snack Ideas
Now that you know how Foodie Fun Friday works, here are 28 fun and easy ideas for cooking in the classroom! NOTE: Under each image is a link to a blog post with more details on the particular unit or theme! Click those links for more ideas, resources, and activities!