July 28th- Milk Chocolate Day
July 28th has been declared as the official National Milk Chocolate Day! Although we couldn’t find an original source for this declaration – let’s face it – WHO CARES? Let’s celebrate with chocolate!
What could be better? Using it to inspire your kids to learn!
Finding milk chocolate recipes to enjoy is part of the fun, choosing between them is not so easy. Here’s a few to consider:
- Chocolate for dipping – strawberries, bananas, marshmallows, pretzels
- Gluten Free Milk Chocolate Marble Cake
- Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
- Ooey, Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Cherry Cola Dump Cake
- Homemade Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake *our fave!
Educational Enrichment Activities
Along with the educational value of getting together in the kitchen to explore and cook one or more yummy recipes together, there are so many ways to make chocolate the center piece for a day of educational fun!
Take a field trip to a local chocolate factory. Visit a local ice cream store for a chocolate treat and ask questions about where the ice cream comes from. Visit a dairy and take a tour – Milk chocolate is chocolate mixed with a milk product after all.
Use kitchen math while preparing chocolate recipes. Have students double recipes or cut them in half to discuss fractions. Use as many of the following ideas as you are able to or want to make the most of the holiday fun.
- Ask students to guess how many M&M’s are in a bag or a jar
- Have students graph M&M colors
- Create patterns with M&M’s
- Graph favorite chocolate candy bars
- Challenge students to weigh enough M&M’s on a balance scale to equal scissors, a pencil, glue, a marker . . .
- Create a taste test, have family, friends & neighbors participate in tasting dark chocolate vs. milk chocolate and graph the results.
- Watch the Hershey’s Fractions Math video below:
Mesoamerican history contains the earliest known references to chocolate. We took a fun field trip to a Disney Resort with the Aztec & Mayan theme. The Coronado Springs Resort did not disappoint!
We didn’t do any studying while we were there. It was all about playing with cousins and enjoying family time – but the theme fits perfectly with our study this week and will go a long way towards inspiring my boys to enjoy their learning.
History of Chocolate
The cacao tree is native to the region of Mesoamerica. Cultivation, use, and cultural elaboration of cacao were early and extensive in the area. Get out your map or globe and look up Central America and discuss with your children the origin of today’s delicious treat!
The Mayans and Aztecs were known to make a drink called “Xocoat” from the beans of the cocoa tree. In 1528, the conquering Spaniards returned to Spain with chocolate consumed as a beverage. A similar chocolate drink was brought to a royal wedding in France in 1615, and England welcomed chocolate in 1662.
While researchers do not agree which Mesoamerican culture first domesticated the cacao tree, the use of the fermented bean in a drink seems to have arisen in Central America.
Hands on Learning
Make your own hot chocolate to drink while you read out loud the information found here about the history and culture of Mesoamerica and chocolate. Learn how it was valuable enough to be used as currency, from early cultures on up through our own Revolutionary War.
Chocolate . . . is not only rich in flavor, but in historical value as well as a great tool for geography.
- Mexican Pottery -Paper Plate Craft
- Aztec Bowl (make your own or draw it)
- Aztec pottery & sculptures – Make from Homemade Clay (recipe below)
Recipe – Homemade Clay
- 2 cups salt
- 2/3 cups water
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup cold water
- Stir salt and water in a saucepan over heat 5 minutes
- Remove from heat; add cornstarch and cold water
- Stir until smooth; return to heat and cook until thick
- Allow the clay to cool, then shape as desired
- When dry, decorate with paint, or markers
- If you like, finish with clear acrylic spray
- Store unused clay in a Ziploc bag or plastic container
Download this set of FREE Chocolate Themed Printables – create as many words as possible from the word “Chocolate”, ch worksheet for young ones, family graphing project for colored m & m’s.
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