We really wanted to do a pancake theme with our toddler class this session. But how could you talk about pancakes and not talk about the delicious maple syrup you pour over them?
The more I researched maple syrup and the process of making it the more I found that the concept was a bit complicated for a two year old. You can read more about it here. I mean really, how do you tell a toddler that the sap from a tree is sent through the process of reverse osmosis? Just can’t do it. The key to planning toddler activities is to NOT complicate it. Two and three year olds like hands on, different, exciting, but definitely not complicated activities.
What you will need:
- Tree (painted on paper)
- Tree Tap
So we decided to keep it in simple terms, but still in a way that they would grasp the overall concept of maple syrup making. It starts with getting a sticky liquid from a tree (sap). After, it goes through a special process to get very sweet and sugary. Lastly, it takes a few days to make. Simple. Boom. Now let’s get into the fun stuff!
Since we couldn’t take a group of two year old to a forest with maple trees, we brought the maple tree into the classroom. We then used a tree tap, similar to this one, and put it into the paper. When we told the children that we would collect sap from this tree they were very confused, but also very intrigued in finding out HOW this would work! That’s good. Keep their curiosity high. Don’t give away all your secrets. They like surprises.
We then had the children take a turn one by one to sit behind the tree and squirt water – I mean sap – through the tree tap. After everyone had a turn, each child was given a cup of “sap” and added sugar to it. This is to emphasize the second point we wanted to make – syrup is very sweet and sugary. Lastly, we let it sit overnight. (Just in case you’re confused, it did not become maple syrup overnight. It was just water and sugar. Just thought I should clarify.)
And there you go, maple syrup making for toddlers.
To close off this fun activity, each child got to microwave their very own pancake to take home to enjoy with syrup.