Cooking with kids is such a great way to get relational time, build confidence, and encourage a love of healthy eating. It’s one of our favorite bonding times, so in this week’s post, we’re working on knife skills to make an adorable alphabet kid snack of Daniel Tiger. This would be a perfect healthy treat for a Daniel Tiger birthday party, or just a surprise snack for your adorable tiger loving toddler.
We’ve got two series in one today, as this is also a part of our Alphabet Kid Snack series. Alphabet kid snacks are animals made out of healthy foods, with their corresponding letter. We use these alphabet snacks to make learning to read fun, rather than intimidating.
Corban loves Daniel Tiger, and that adoration has saved us during many potential melt downs. Any other mommies find themselves singing, “When something seems bad, turn it around, and find something good”? Or how about “Grown ups come back”?
He also loves tangerines, and would happily eat 10 in a day if we let him.
But we limit him to two so he doesn’t turn orange.
Last week, I was working in the kitchen and Corban was eating a tangerine while watching Daniel Tiger. When we talked about our morning as he went to sleep for his nap, he said it was great because he got “Daniel Tiger tangerine!”. The phrase stuck in my head, and I decided we would make his afternoon snack together, and see if we could actually make a Daniel Tiger tangerine.
Well we did, and it was such a success that we made it again to feature in today’s post!
KITCHEN KNIFE SAFETY FOR KIDS
This recipe is a great opportunity to let your child try using a knife for the first time. I know! Scary, right?
You may be afraid that your toddler will cut themselves. I’ve learned it’s far more likely that they just get drunk off the power.
While sharp knives are safer to use than dull ones (no slipping as you forcefully try to make a dull knife cut), I will probably wait until Corban is 4 to let him try a sharp knife (which will be his special knife that is the only one he touches and only when an adult is helping). His impulse control is just too underdeveloped right now! But strawberries and tangerines are so soft, they can be cut with a simple table knife.
Even though the knife isn’t sharp, I want to teach him knife safety. At this young an age, that means his other hand is behind his back.
If you’re cooking with kids who are a little older (6 and up) you can teach them to use a CLAW hand, to hold their food as they cut. Again, start with soft foods that are easy to slice until they become more confident and safe in their knife skills.
Another trick I used when I taught cooking classes for kids is the finger jar. It’s just a jar that I would put on the counter next to the chopping station. I’d tell the kids that if they chopped their finger off, they needed to put it in the jar and bring it to me. It’s something my 4th grade teacher did with the paper cutter in our classroom. No one every chopped a finger off, but seeing that jar there next to it was a reminder of how careful we needed to be.
Safety is number one when cooking with kids!
Now on to the adorable Daniel Tiger tangerine snack.
COOKING WITH KIDS DANIEL TIGER SNACK
The first step is teaching your child how to peel a tangerine. You need one whole tangerine in good condition, but you only need two segments from the other tangerine, so let them try imitating you in peeling that one.
You can start it for them by cutting a little slit that they can get their fingers in.
Now lay your tangerine flat on a plate for Daniel Tiger’s head. You can also prop it up slightly with an extra orange segment, which I found made it a little easier to pipe the chocolate.
Then help your child cut the tip off of a strawberry.
Place it point side down for Daniel Tiger’s nose.
For the ears, help your child cut the tips off of two segments from their tangerine.
The tips from each segment will go together to make the tiger ears.
Cheer for your super strong mini chef as they break a couple toothpicks in half.
Then you can poke the toothpicks into the tangerine to attach the ears, two tips together on each side of the head.
The next step in making Daniel Tiger is the eyes. We used a little sour cream, but you can also use cream cheese or Greek yogurt. Just dab a couple ovals on above the nose, and stick two mini chocolate chips upside down into them. Don’t worry about it being messy. You can always clean it up when you pipe the chocolate.
Now is a good time to continue the knife skills by helping your child cut a capital and lower case T from some strawberry slices. They can also practice chopping and slicing the rest of the second tangerine while you work on piping the chocolate.
Now you get to melt the chocolate! You can use the mini chips but regular ones are cheaper. Make sure you have a few extra chocolate chips, they always seem to disappear!
Let your mini chef stir the chocolate as it melts, but make sure to check if the bowl is hot so they don’t touch it and get burned.
Grab a zip top plastic bag, and let them help you scoop the chocolate into it.
The piping of the chocolate was too detailed for my mini chef, but he was thrilled to watch Daniel Tiger come to life as I did it.
Once the chocolate is all piped, before it hardens completely, you can use a toothpick to clean up your lines.
ALPHABET KID SNACK T IS FOR TIGER
And there you go! Now you have a cute tiger alphabet kid snack. As he eats it, we say “T is for tiger, t-t-t-tiger”. Then we read a book about tigers.
He has some books about actual live tigers, but since this snack looks so much like Daniel Tiger, he wanted an actual Daniel Tiger book. Just like the tv show, they have a variety of books that focus on teaching kids how to handle specific situations.
We hope you enjoyed our Daniel tiger snack and tips on cooking with kids. If you did, make sure to sign up for our monthly newsletter, and you’ll get a free download of five more cute and healthy kid snacks that you can make in five minutes or less!
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- 2 tangerines
- 3 strawberries
- 1/4 teaspoon sour cream
- 2 mini chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Peel both tangerines, but only pull one into segments, leaving the other whole.
- Cut the very tip off of one strawberry, and place it point side down into the center of the whole tangerine.
- Slice the tips off of two segments from the other tangerine.
- Break a couple toothpicks in half, and poke them into the whole tangerine, two on each side of the head, for the ears.
- Press two segment tips onto the toothpicks on one side, cut side together. Repeat on the other side.
- Dab two ovals of sour cream above the nose for the whites of the eyes, then place the mini chocolate chips at the bottom of each oval, point side down.
- Place the 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir with a fork until completely melted (you can continue microwaving in 10 second intervals if you need to).
- Scoop the melted chocolate into a zip top bag, then cut the very tip off one bottom corner to make a small hole.
- Squeeze the chocolate out through the hole, piping it around the eyes, eyebrows, the inner ears, the smile, and his stripes (use the photo as a guide).
- Let the chocolate sit for about 5 minutes to harden, you may need to stick it in the fridge for a couple minutes if it's a hot day.
- Slice the remaining two strawberries and cut a capital and lower case T out of the slices.
Approximate cost/serving: We buy a big bag of tangerines for around $6, and also get chocolate chips in bulk. This cost us around 45 cents.
Vegetarian/gluten free: This is naturally gluten free and vegetarian, you can also make it vegan by using dairy free dark chocolate chips.
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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.