stART: Curious George and the Chocolate Factory
Who doesn’t love chocolate – and monkeys? Both were part of our stART project this week!
My kids have both been fans of Curious George for a very long time. In fact, Aunt Robin bought KarateKid the big anthology of original Curious George stories when he was about a year and a half old, and we read that book to shreds – we had to take it everywhere with us and MechDaddy started calling one of the stories “Curious George Rides a &#@%!* Bike” because he’d read it so many times!
We also have two smaller anthologies of the shorter books that were based on episodes of an early tv show of George, though we’ve never seen that show. One of our favorites is Curious George and the Chocolate Factory.
Since this week was Valentine’s Day and we had a lot of chocolate, we decided to do a special project to go along with this book for stART.
We gathered our materials: flour, salt, and cocoa powder.
The kids helped me make some cocoa-scented salt dough. We mixed about 1/2 c. flour, 1/2 c. cocoa, 1 c. salt, and 1 c. water to make a dough. (I think one of us added a little too much water, so we had to add some extra flour – but it’s a very forgiving dough. If it’s too wet, add flour. If it’s too dry, add water.)
I think all kids love to help in the kitchen, mine certainly do – whether it’s making dinner or playdough. We had fun measuring and mixing together.
Then the fun began – playing with the dough. This is a salt dough, meant to be baked, and so our hands got pretty dry and crusty after working with it for a while – this dough wouldn’t work well as a regular playdough to use for a long time! (I have a different chocolate-scented recipe that I use for playdough.)
One exciting part was that because we were doing this project on Valentine’s Day, which was Sunday, MechDaddy was home and sat in on our project. He misses so many of our interesting art and craft projects and science experiments that it was extra special to have him with us for this one.
Both my kids love this little story about Curious George and the Man with the Yellow Hat stopping by a chocolate factory to buy some candies. George slips onto the factory floor with a tour group but accidentally bumps the conveyor belt up to “extra fast” and the candies fly by so quickly that the workers can’t keep up – but a clever little monkey can, and his fast fingers save the day.
Both KarateKid and GoGoGirl have always been drawn to the page below, where Curious George learns that the swirls on the tops of the chocolates show what kind of filling is inside:
I have spent countless hours staring at this page with my kids and talking about the marvelous swirls! We set the book out on our table, open to this page, to take a little inspiration for making our chocolates.
We made round chocolates and oblongs, tiny M&Ms and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, a chocolate chip cookie and a chocolate bar, banana creams inspired by the book.
When we were done making the shapes – we only used about half of our dough – we baked them in a slow oven (250F) for about two hours. We let them cool and then used a glossy brown paint to paint most of them. In the picture below, you can see a few that are lighter brown, or have lighter brown swirls – those parts are unpainted. We also left the bottoms unpainted so we can still smell the cocoa!
We filled up GoGoGirl’s heart-shaped candy box, and the dough goodies now have a special place in her play kitchen!
This project was fun from start to finish – reading a favorite book, making dough in the kitchen, playing with the dough with MechDaddy, painting the chocolates, and winding up with a great addition to our pretend kitchen area. The kids are so proud of their finished chocolates!
To see more projects that include a story and art, visit A Mommy’s Adventures.