Celebrating World Chocolate Day
July 7th 2021
This July 7th is World Chocolate Day!
World Chocolate Day dates back to 2009. Why is it held on the 7th of July in particular? Some believe that the celebration coincides with “the introduction of chocolate to Europe in 1550.” (World Chocolate Day - Wikipedia).
Not only are there are so many different types of chocolate to be explored, but the origin of chocolate is little known by children. If asked “where does chocolate comes from?”, the majority of children might say “from the shops”, rather than from cocoa beans. The history of chocolate can be just as interesting for them to learn about as it is to eat it!
Here are some enjoyable yet educational activities to do with children this World Chocolate Day:
Chocolate origins – Showing children how chocolate is actually made will be a real eye-opener for some. By finding a video, pictures or even real cocoa beans will all help children to understand not only where chocolate comes from, but also how one item can be transformed into another.
· Tasting– It would be rude to celebrate chocolate day and not let them eat any! Gather a selection of dark, milk and white chocolate and encourage then to try each one. Make sure they use all their senses to describe what they see, smell and taste. Build on their language skills using words like ‘bitter’, ‘sweet’ and ‘creamy’, while enjoying a tasty treat.
· Cooking with chocolate– a simply ‘cooking’ activity to do with children is making chocolate covered fruits. A firm favourite is chocolate covered strawberries, but bananas, raisins and even pineapple can all work well. Just melt a big bowl of the preferred chocolate, pop some fruit (appropriately sliced per age group) on to a skewer and let them get dipping! An easy activity all ages can participate in.
· What’s the chocolate? – Better suited for older children, provide a selection of distinctive chocolatey smelling items, pop a blind fold on the children and see if they can identify the correct one. Good examples would be cocoa powder, a chocolate bar (maybe one dark, one milk and one white), chocolate spread and chocolate milkshake. Doing this as a circle-time game encourages turn-taking, focus and patience.
· Chocolate counting – See if the children can resist the urge to chomp on chocolate during a mathematical activity. Use a bag of smarties or M&Ms to create sums and numeracy problems to solve, or for younger children, do some simple counting, such as “how many red smarties can you see?”. And hey, if they it right, perhaps they can have a cheeky piece of chocolate for a job well done.
Children really love chocolate, and it isn’t the healthiest food, so be sure to tie in healthy eating as well. Explain how chocolate is wonderful for a treat but that too much sugar is not good for our bodies or our teeth. Consider children who have dairy allergies and provide ‘dairy-free’ chocolate where possible to allow for fair learning opportunities and experiences.