I wrote a book review for mum’s lounge. (See the review here). I volunteered to do the book review as I thought it would be a different way to approach reading to my girls as I would be actively watching for their subtle reactions.
The book that I reviewed was “Fun at Boxy & T’s Farm”. Our first impressions were great due to the big bold colourful characters and familiar farm yard animals. Miranda Lloyd’s book takes you on a fun day through the farm starting at breakfast and ending at bedtime. Each page provides you with opportunities to encourage learning with your children. We enjoyed the counting tasks but my eldest daughter’s favourite part was finding sneaky ratty on each page.
What appealed to me the most was the use of everyday foods and items (like jumpers) to link your child’s current knowledge to the farm setting. I took the opportunity of the food references to make-up an extension activity with my 2 ½ year old daughter. We went back through the book and talked about food we could make that reflected what happened on each page. This was a great way to get us talking about foods (especially healthy ones!). We then planned out our very own “Fun at Boxy & T’s Farm” afternoon tea. Planning and making the afternoon tea gave us vocabulary, motor skill development and most importantly, to me, great food exposures. Our afternoon tea menu included: White Chocolate Popcorn Sheep, Date & Lemon Balls, Pigs Mud Dip and Vegetables and Fresh Strawberry Milkshakes.
- 4 squares of white cooking chocolate
- 1 tablespoon of tahini
- 1 cup of popped corn kernels
- To pop the corn kernels, put ½ a tablespoon of kernels into a brown paper bag. Fold the ends of the bag over. Lay flat in the microwave and ensure the kernels are spread out. Microwave on high for 1 min or until the popping stops.
- In a microwave safe bowl, melt the white chocolate and mix in the tahini.
- Get 5 popped corn kernels and dip them in the mixed chocolate. Clump them together and set aside on a plate to put in the refrigerator to set.
While I was planning the menu with my daughter, she suggested that we use grapes and pineapples as the “balls” in the story. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any grapes or pineapples at hand. So we opted for some date and lemon balls.
- ½ cup pitted dates
- ½ cup pecans
- ½ cup shredded coconut
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- zest from one lemon and a squeeze of lemon juice
- 1 tbsp flax meal (optional)
- Put all ingredients in the food processor and blitz
- Shape ingredients, with wet hands, into balls
- Put plate of finished balls into the fridge to set
Our Pigs Mud dip was a homemade hummus with chick peas, olive oil, garlic, paprika and tahini. The vegetables we used were sugar snap peas. However, in this book there were images of capsicums, broccoli, carrots and tomatoes that could also be used on the vegetable and pigs mud platter.
Our fresh Strawberry milkshake was easy to whip up in the Blender – 6 fresh strawberries, a handful of ice and half a cup of milk.
I really enjoyed talking about the foods in this book with my daughter and making the foods to represent the different elements of the book.
My main tips for doing a DIY book inspired kids meal would be as follows:
1) Make the planning fun with your kids
2) Enjoy making the meal together
3) Include a variety of healthy options. For example instead of making a traditional “milkshake” we focused on the colour and thought about what we could use to make the milk pink. My daughter LOVED it when the strawberries turned the milk pink in the blender.