In the Kitchen: Strawberry Popsicles

IMG_0313I can’t think of a more summery type of treat than a popsicle! I love making these because they are incredibly easy, my kids get super excited to have them, and they are really healthy! My kids are fruit monsters, they devour it no matter what form it’s in, but these are so much more fun than plain old strawberries! So, I love that they are basically just eating a serving of fruit!

The only extra tool required to make these is a popsicle mold. I found our small one at our local grocery store. I know there are molds that are way fancier than ours, but these have done the trick and they are a nice manageable size for little hands when they are done. If you don’t have molds, pick up some small paper cups and popsicle sticks at the grocery store (you might just need to delay putting the stick in until the mixture is stiff enough to hold it in place).

IMG_0316To start off hull the strawberries (take the tops off), and gather your sweetener of choice (we use honey), and your food processor or blender. Now you can call in your helper! My kids took turns dropping the strawberries into the blender and then they each got to squeeze in a little honey. Ours might be a little sweeter this time around… they really took their honey squeezing duties seriously!

Now you can blend it. It’s up to you and your little one how chunky or not chunky you want it. It seems like kids as a rule tend to like less chunky. Once you’ve got it to the desired consistency take a taste to make sure you’ve got it just how you want it. When it is good pour it into the molds (or paper cups), put the tops on, and set into the freezer. Let freeze for 1-2 hours or until frozen through and enjoy!

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IMG_0324Now, I like doing it this way because it is soooo easy. Blend some fruit with a little sweetener and freeze! You can’t beat that! The sky is the limit with these popsicles. You could do more kinds of fruit or a different fruit all together. You could puree the fruit and then fold into yogurt and freeze and have fruit and yogurt pops. I once heard of a dad who basically made a super healthy smoothie with fruit and kale and froze that as a popsicle! I think that’s a great idea too! So, if you want to keep it simple like us, you can. Or you can get creative and throw in all kinds of stuff!

We can’t end without talking about what is going on here!

Cooking activities are just the best to do with kids. I’ve never met a kid who didn’t get super excited to help in the kitchen! So it’s fun, that’s the most important part when doing things with toddlers and preschoolers! Then, there are almost always opportunities for fine muscle movement. In this case they are picking up strawberries, squeezing in honey, and think of the control it takes to hold onto a measuring cup to pour into the popsicle mold. I helped my son, but he still used a lot of his own control to pour in the mixture.

IMG_0326Making popsicles is also a chemistry experience. Isn’t that crazy!? Anytime you take a substance and change it’s properties, like baking or freezing you are doing science. Of course, we never expect toddlers to walk away from an activity stating to us scientific properties! It is more just a conversation about their popsicle. It could sound something like this, “Remember we mixed up the strawberries. Now look what happened! They are different now. They frozen and so cold! They are going to be a tasty treat to help us cool off after we play outside.”

Remember no matter what you are doing, the best addition you can make to an activity is talking, describing, and asking questions. Ideas are: point out the texture of the strawberry or the stickiness of the honey. Talk about what is happening while you blend it. Taste it and talk about what it tastes like. Pour it into the molds and explain why. Then when you set them into the freezer, give a simple explanation of what is going to happen. It doesn’t need to be formal, or teacher-y, just a simple conversation while you work together. Most of all, just have fun together!

Have a playful day!

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