If you live with a toddler then cereal, granola bars and other finger foods are probably part of your every day life. My toddler loves granola bars more than just about anything, and if it were up to him we would go through several boxes a week. We compromise by making these delicious cereal bars together - it is a project easily handled by a 4 year old with adult assistance and is a fun way to learn about measuring, melting, mixing and ingredients that make up our food.
Cockamamie Farms Fruity Cereal Bars
3 Tablespoons Organic Butter
30 Large Marshmallows (be sure to count them out - using a whole bag makes a gooey mess)
4 Cups Cascadian Farm Organic Fruitful O's Cereal
2 Cups Sweet Home Farm French Vanilla with Almonds Granola
1/4 cup Raisins
- Grease a 13x9 cake pan or casserole dish. (We use Grape Oil for this step).
- In a large stock pot, melt butter on low heat. Use this small amount of butter to show your toddler how to stir slowly and carefully. Your pot will become warm near the rim, but should not get so hot that your toddler will be injured should he/she bump it while learning to stir.
- Add all 30 marshmallows to the pot, counting each one as you go. Stir to coat with melted butter, then let rest about 1 minute before stirring again. Let rest & stir every 1-2 minutes until marshmallows are melted. Talk about the process of applying heat to melt something with your toddler.
- During your breaks of stirring the marshmallows measure your cereal, granola and raisins and pour into a large bowl. Mix well with a separate spoon (you don't want that marshmallow goo on it just yet).
- Once marshmallows are melted down completely, pour your cereal mixture into the stock pot. Grownups will need to stir at this step, as it takes some effort to coat the cereal completely.
- Pour your marshmallow cereal mix into the prepared pan. Cover with a sheet of wax paper. With your toddler, press the cereal down firmly until it is packed evenly into the pan. Let rest for 15 minutes until the marshmallow has cooled enough to free from the wax paper easily.
- Grownup step: Using a knife, cut into your choice of squares or bars.
A whole pan of cereal bars is a lot to handle at once (although these bars are so delicious that your child will try). After cutting, I pack about 2/3 of the batch into tupperware containers and keep them in the freezer to eat at a later date. The rest I cover and leave on the counter until they disappear.
Toddler Talking Points:
- What are ingredients?
- Is the stove dangerous? When can we use it?
- Why is it important to pick healthy ingredients for our project?
- Will we keep these treats for ourselves, or share them with others?
- Do we like cooking together? Why or why not?
- Why do we measure things?