The Hungry Caterpillar by Erice Carle
Combing well-loved children’s books with a fun, kid-friendly cooking activity lends itself to so many learning opportunities. Toddlers and preschoolers can be exposed to new foods and cooking experiences, such a cutting up fruit with a child-safe knife. During this lesson you can also talk about the butterfly life-cycle and touch upon all the different colors, shapes, and textures of the foods the caterpillar eats in the book. Making the fruit salad together is fun, educational, and best of all, delicious!
Many parents don’t think about exposing their little ones to fresh herbs, but they are a great way to talk about different ways to add flavor to our meals. Smell the mint together and talk about what it reminds you of or makes you think about. Touch the leaves and ask your child to describe the texture. If your little one is hesitant about adding the “one nice green leaf” to her fruit salad, have her tare some up and keep it off to the side of the plate. All these experiences with new food or flavor are important even if your child doesn’t actually eat or taste the ingredient.
As the book goes… “The caterpillar ate through 1 apple, 2 pears, 3 plums, 4 strawberries, and 5 oranges.” That’s a lot of fruit! Haha. So for this recipe, feel free to use as much or as little of the fruit combination as you’d like.
- Fresh Mint
- Cut as much or as little fruit as you’d like into manageable size strips or pieces then have your child cut the fruit into bite-size pieces and place them into a large bowl.
- Rip one or two leaves of fresh mint over the top and then stir in all together.
- Taste the fruit salad and read the book together!
Dressing: Want to add some extra flavor and extend the cooking activity a little bit? Make a simple, sweet dressing to toss your fruit in. Squeeze about 1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice into a small bowl and stir in about 1 teaspoon of honey. Pour over chopped fruit and toss to coat.
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