Have you ever heard of Stone Soup? It's vegetable soup, a great story, and valuable lesson. Children love to cut, chop, and learn to cook soup. When they are talking with adults in the kitchen, the soup is twice as good.
No stone is required. For more ideas to bring families together for fun and learning see www.grandparentsteachtoo.org, www.wnmufm.org, "Learning through the Seasons" and Public Radio 90 Tuesdays at 4:30 and Saturdays at 8:35 am.
What to do
ANDEREGG, MACALADY, FOX, HETRICK, KATERS
Cooking soup is another way to blend children's learning with required daily activities like preparing meals. These are times to talk, practice math, follow directions, and teach.
Take children to the grocery to buy ingredients for soup. Explain how to look for good quality produce and use a scale to measure weight.
At home wash hands and vegetables. Gather materials and follow the recipe below. Cut carrots, potatoes, and other vegetables in shapes that children can easily cut with a table knife.
Kids' veggie soup
2 T oil, 2 potatoes, 2 chopped scallions (adult cut), 1 large chicken soup stock, 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, 1 chopped red sweet peppers, 2 small cans chopped stewed tomatoes, 1 c cut green beans, 1 c frozen corn, 1 can black beans, 1 teaspoon oregano, teaspoon thyme, 3 T barley, rice, or cup pasta, 1 tsp salt, teaspoon black pepper.
Saute potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, and peppers in the oil for 2 minutes. Add soup stock and rest of ingredients. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to simmer for 30-40 minutes. When the potatoes and carrots are tender, the soup is ready.
'Stone Soup' story
While you are waiting tell the story of Stone Soup found in almost every culture around the world.
Some travelers came to a town where the people did not help each other very much and were unhappy people. The hungry travelers had an idea. They told the people they had a very special stone that made the best soup in the world. They just needed a few ingredients.
The travelers went from house to house with their tale and asked each family to bring one ingredient to the City Hall. The traveler's brought the stone.
While people worked together chopping vegetables and adding them to the large pot they had the greatest time getting to know each other. They even talked about solving some of their town's problems and listed fine qualities of their home. The children especially had fun.
When it was done they all shared the delicious soup and agreed the stone was indeed special. Actually people made their own soup very special. Then the travelers sneaked out the door with their stone and walked on to the next town.
Editor's note: This column is penned by retired Marquette Area Public Schools teachers Iris Katers, Jean Hetrick, and Cheryl Anderegg. Esther Macalady is from Golden, Colorado. Tim Fox currently teaches at Superior Hills Elementary. It's supported by Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship, the School of Education, U.P. Children's Museum, U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, and U.P. Parent Awareness of Michigan. Their book "Learning Through the Seasons" is available at area stores and www.grandparentsteachtoo.org. Their mission is to provide fun standards based activities that adults can do in the home to prepare children for school and a lifetime of learning and reduce the stress of child care.