Despite the heat index of 109 today, my daughter requested soup to eat. Well, 4:30 rolled around and I had zero plans for dinner. After fighting the strong urge to just call Papa John’s, I decided to whip up this easy, toddler approved meal. I’m not sure which she loves more, how delicious it tastes or helping me make it. My mom made soup like this when I was little and it is still one of my all time favorites! I included the recipe for my light, veggie-packed soup at the bottom of this post.
As with any Montessori lesson, preparing the environment is key and cooking with your children is no different. By giving them the tools and instruction they need, you set them up for success and your overall experience should be a happy one. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- make sure your child has a clear work space
- use a Non-Slip Cutting Board to ensure everything stays put
- cut veggies in half or quarters to keep them from rolling around
- zucchini and squash are perfect for beginners because they slice so easily
- use child friendly cutting tools like this Wavy Chopper(seriously one of my favorites!)
- Yes those are affiliate links, but look at that beautiful crinkle-cut zucchini!
After washing and peeling the veggies, my daughter grabbed her wavy chopper and went to town on the zucchini and squash! A couple of times, I caught myself intervening while she worked. I reminded myself that she has used this tool before and that I needed to step back. Cutting carrots has a built in control of error : failure to hold the carrot with the non-cutting hand will result in it falling on the floor (met happily by a hungry dachshund in our case). Once I got out of the way, she made the necessary adjustments all on her own and kept chopping the rest of our veggies. How many times do we need this reminder from Maria Montessori:
Help me to do it myself.
This recipe gives such a great opportunity for language and math vocabulary. Here are some examples: Look at all the different colored vegetables! What colors do you see? I’m going to count our carrots. How many carrots do we have? I cut the squash in half–now I have two pieces of squash. This might sound crazy, but pretend you’re the host of a cooking show. This will help you talk through all the steps, ingredients, measurements, etc. to your sweet little helper. Using vocabulary rich language with your children will only enhance the cooking experience! Let your child help with as many steps as possible and they may even sneak a carrot or two!
Summer Chicken + Veggie Soup
- 1 store bought rotisserie chicken ( I told you it was easy! )
- 4 large carrots
- 1 zucchini
- 1 yellow squash
- 1 small yellow onion
- 3 stalks of celery
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic or 2 fresh cloves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary or 1 tablespoon fresh
- 2 containers of chicken broth (32oz each)
- salt to taste
Chop up the chicken, and veggies. Put all ingredients into large pot and bring to a boil ( you can add the zucchini and squash in the last 10 minutes to avoid getting too soggy ). Cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until veggies are tender. Enjoy!
*this makes between 8-10 servings so feel free to cut the recipe in half or just freeze leftovers for later.
**to make this soup a little heartier, pour it over cooked rice or noodles.