Friday, April 13, 2012


These were all over Pinterest, FB and the web for Easter. However, I never saw anything discussing the finer points of making them with children. I know this post is late for Easter, but they are also good for a bird, spring, dinosaur or reptile theme/unit. If you've been living under a rock and don't know how to make these easy peasy cookies(?)/treats, here's a run down...

3 ingredients: 

  • 12 oz. bag of butterscotch or peanut butter chips
  • 12 oz. bag of chow mein rice noodles
  • Egg shaped candies
Heat chips 30 seconds in the microwave, stir, repeat. Add in noodles, stir and drop by about 1/4 cup portions onto parchment paper, silicone mat or other non-stick surface. Indent the middle and add 3 candies or an appropriate number depending on the size of your chosen candies. We used Whopper Mini Robin Eggs. Let harden before attempting to move.

When I make them for an occasion such as Easter, I use my large scoop which holds a little less than 1/4 cup, mash the mixture in tight, release onto a silicone mat, and use the back of the scoop to make an indentention for the eggs. I get about a dozen good-sized treats. You could double that with a small scoop and using jelly beans.

Now here's the kiddo particulars. 

For children 3 and up, this is a great autonomous activity. I could have easily sat down several children over 3, given a demonstration, then put 3-4 portions in the microwave at a time, let them scoop out their own 1/4 cup portions of noodles from a bowl and provided a bowl of candy eggs in the middle of the table and let them go at it. I think it is a perfect supervised preschool activity.

"We have these eggs. Where do eggs belong? ...Yes, in a nest. So we are going to make some nests for these eggs today. What kinds of animals could these eggs be from?" [Ours had no pointed end, so no open rock layers, and they weren't perfectly round, so no turtles, etc...]

Discuss the ingredients and tools. Let them handle each.

"What do you think will happen to these chips when we put them in the microwave?"

I placed 1/4 cup chips into a microwave safe bowl [won't be hot to touch after heating]. It took the exact same time to heat the smaller quantity as it did to heat a whole bag...still 30 seconds, stir, 30 seconds. I let them stir the chips. While they may not look melted when you bring them out, they are. Just stir. I stuck my finger in a batch to see if they would burn, and though they were pretty warm, they were not to the point of uncomfortable for me so I don't think they get hot enough to burn, but microwaves can create hot spots in cooked food, so if letting 3 and ups do independently, caution to not touch while stirring at first. We discussed how the chips were no longer hard, but soft and could be stirred together.

As soon as they got the chips stirred just a little, I had them add the noodles and keep stirring.

  After mixing, I sprayed some non-stick spray onto their hands and they rubbed it over their palms. I don't think it did all that much to keep the mixture from sticking to their hands, but it was worth the try. Added an additional sensory element at least.
The smaller amount of chips seemed to cool much faster and be much safer than letting children help form cookies from a full batch. They patted it into a circle on a plastic oatmeal container lid.  
  Why a plastic lid you say? Well they are FREE, just the right size, can be marked and spread apart for individual project identification, and above all they are FLEXIBLE...
 I told them to push down in the middle with just one finger to make a spot for the eggs. Then said to choose 3 eggs for their nests. I was surprised about the exactness of the placement of the eggs. This was serious craft making.
As for younger than 3s, all it takes is doing it individual with the teacher, but as long as they can stir and have a pincer grasp, the little ones can do it all as well. Just watch the temp of the mixture to make absolutely certain that it is not too warm for handling. Before serving to eat, I smashed up the candy eggs for the under 3s.
Math measuring, measurements, volume, shapes: circle, oval, ellipse
Fine Motor stirring, forming cookies, placing eggs
Gross Mostor stirring
Science heat, solid/liquid changes before/during/after, mixture
Language indent, indentation, mixture, volume, hard, soft, crunchy
Sensory texture: chips, noodles, eggs, warm mixture, stickiness, non-stick spray if used; smell of the chips; taste and texture while eating
Tags: Easter, egg, egg theme, egg unit, dinosaur, reptile, theme, unit, preschool, childcare, daycare, pre-k, prek, kindergarten, cookie, cooking, bird's nest, bird's nest cookies, nest, nests

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