stART: Curious George and the Chocolate Factory

18 Feb

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.

Chocolate stART 01

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.)

Chocolate stART 02

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.

Chocolate stART 03

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.)

Chocolate stART 05

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:

Chocolate stART 04

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!

Chocolates

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.

11 Responses to “stART: Curious George and the Chocolate Factory”

  1. Michelle February 18, 2010 at 10:49 am #

    This is such a cute project, I love that you made your own play candies, that even smell like chocolate! Thank you for linking up to stART!

  2. Miller Moments February 18, 2010 at 11:08 am #

    What a great project. We are HUGE Curious George fans too!

  3. Almost Unschoolers February 18, 2010 at 2:28 pm #

    Excellent project! Your chocolates look great – I’m sure they’ll be a favorite addition to the play kitchen.

  4. Home Grown Families February 18, 2010 at 2:46 pm #

    Those look awesome! What a great stArt!

  5. Mama to 3 Blessings - Our Homeschool Blog February 18, 2010 at 3:17 pm #

    WOW! This looks like ALOT of fun! Great job!

  6. Brittani February 18, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

    So fun!

  7. Natalie February 18, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

    This is such an impressive project – the chocolates look so real. I didn’t know that every squiggle actually means something – I learned something new today :)

  8. Wonder Mom February 18, 2010 at 7:47 pm #

    What a glorious activity- ANYTHING that smells like chocolate just ROCKS!

  9. Melanie February 18, 2010 at 9:34 pm #

    What a creative activity! This looks like so much fun!

  10. Ticia February 19, 2010 at 9:12 pm #

    I’m not a Curious George fan, not sure why. But for this activity I’ll become one!
    I’m curious if the code they showed in the book is related to reality…….
    I wonder how long the play food will last.

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