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Freeze and Eat Treats

Teach science with these tasty, fruity concoctions.
 

Learning Benefits

Hover over each Learning Benefit below for a detailed explanation.
Observation
Experimentation

Who doesn't remember the joy of eating a frozen fruit pop on a hot summer day — and racing to finish it before it melted down your arm? Little did you know that in the midst of all that messy fun was a delicious science lesson in the changing states of matter. The key to the change, of course, is temperature. Eat a fruit pop outside in the heat, and it changes quickly from a solid to a liquid. Eat it inside in the air conditioning, and it remains a solid longer.

With these recipes, you can introduce your child to the difference between solids and liquids and what it takes for substances to move between the two states. Invite your child to observe and describe the ingredients before making a recipe. Are they liquid or solid? Are they wet or dry? Ask her to observe and describe changes in the ingredients after the treats are ready to eat.

Invite your child to be a scientific eater, too. Encourage him to notice how the treats change depending on when and where he eats them. Don't forget: In the end, it's the fun that matters most!

Fresh Strawberry Granita

What you need:

  • 16 oz. ripe strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
  • 1⁄4 cup sugar

What to do:

  1. Toss strawberries and sugar together in a medium-sized bowl. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes or until strawberries become very juicy.
  2. Place mixture in food processor and puree.
  3. Pour into an 8" x 8" metal baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for about 30 minutes or until icy crystals begin to form around the edges of the pan.
  4. Use a rubber spatula or a spoon to scrape and blend frozen parts into the rest of the mixture. Freeze for 1 hour.
  5. Use the back of a fork to break up frozen parts. Stir them into the parts that are still slushy. Freeze for 45 minutes.
  6. Crush mixture with a fork until fluffy, and serve immediately.

Tip: Granita can be made a day in advance. Allow the granita to thaw slightly in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes, then scrape and fluff before serving.

Frozen Fruit Necklace 

String fresh, firm red or green grapes as "beads" on an unused, thin shoelace with plastic-coated tips. Grasp each grape by its ends and poke the shoelace through the middle of the grape. (For very young children, you can run a bamboo skewer through the grapes to help them "start" the stringing.) Lay the grape necklace on a foil-covered cookie sheet and freeze. When ready, remove from freezer, slip on the necklace, and nibble away!

Raspberry Cheesecake Pops

What you need:

  • 8-oz. package reduced-fat cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 cup cold skim milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 12-oz. package frozen raspberries

What to do:

  1. To prepare pop molds, place eight 5-oz. paper cups into a standard muffin tin. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, blend cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add milk and vanilla and process until creamy. Blend in raspberries to make a chunky mixture.
  3. Divide mixture into paper cups. Cover the muffin tin tightly with aluminum foil and poke wooden Popsicle sticks or plastic spoons through the foil into the center of each cup. 
  4. Place muffin tin in freezer for at least 4 hours, or until frozen solid. 
  5. Remove tin, and peel off foil and paper cups. Serve immediately, or store pops in a resealable plastic bag in the freezer.

Easy Tropical Slushies

What you need:

  • 20-oz. can pineapple chunks in natural juice
  • 1 cup cold mango nectar

What to do:

  1. Pour entire can of pineapple, including the juice, into a large, resealable plastic bag. Freeze until solid, at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  2. Remove bag from freezer, and let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. 
  3. Empty contents of bag into blender or food processor. Add the mango nectar, and pulse to chop up large pieces of fruit. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  4. Pour into glasses and serve. Makes about 3 cups.

Recipes by Amy Lord.

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