Welcome to week 26 of Kitchen Classroom, where America’s Test Kitchen Kids is sharing a weekly kid-tested and kid-approved recipe, hands-on experiment, or activity paired with a Learning Moment that brings learning to life in the kitchen.
This week’s Kitchen Classroom is a Weekend Project! Make an extra special treat to celebrate Independence Day this weekend with Firecracker Hot Dogs, a recipe from our cookbook for young chefs ages 5–8, My First Cookbook. These festive hot dogs are wrapped in coils of biscuit dough to look like firecrackers—kids can top them with a star-shaped biscuit cutout to make them even more special! While the wrapped hot dogs bake, kids will learn more about syllables, and then write a haiku about their favorite holiday food.
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Here’s what’s cooking for the week of June 28th through July 4th, 2021.
Weekend Project: Firecracker Hot Dogs
Celebrate the Fourth of July with a bang—and not just literally. These hot dog firecrackers are fun to make and perfectly festive. Young chefs will enjoy shaping the biscuit dough, wrapping it around the hot dogs, and cutting out fun shapes to top their hot dog creations. You can easily swap veggie dogs for the hot dogs for non-meat eaters.
[GET THE RECIPE]
What You’ll Need
Vegetable oil spray
8 hot dogs
1 can biscuit dough
1 large egg
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Language Arts (Phonetics and Poetry):
For emerging readers, learning to recognize syllables helps them break up words into smaller, manageable chunks. While the dough-wrapped hot dogs are baking, ask kids: What is a syllable? If they’re not sure, tell them that a syllable is a single, unbroken sound in a word. There can be monosyllabic words (words with 1 syllable), words with two syllables, three syllables, and more.
- What are some monosyllabic words you can think of? (Cat, phone, peel)
- What are some words with two syllables? (Ap-ple, ov-en, per-son)
- What are some words with three syllables? (spa-ghet-ti, to-mor-row)
When in doubt, clap it out! Tell kids that they can clap to mark the breaks in words to count the number of syllables it has. This video does a great job introducing that concept to kids.
After identifying the syllables in words, encourage your child to create a haiku about these Firecracker Hot Dogs or another favorite food they enjoy eating on the Fourth of July. Tell them that a haiku is a traditional Japanese poem that is three lines long and has only 17 syllables. The first and third lines both have five syllables, and the second line has seven syllables (so the syllable pattern is 5-7-5). Because they are so short, haiku poems are all about keeping language simple but powerful. Tell kids to think hard about which words they choose and how many syllables they have. What are the best descriptive words kids can think of? Here’s an example:
Hot dog wrapped in dough (5 syllables)
Feels like eating joyfulness (7 syllables)
Time to celebrate! (5 syllables)
Take It Further
Language Arts (Poetry):
After your child writes their haiku, encourage them to continue their poetic exploration of syllables by writing a tanka, another traditional Japanese poem. A tanka has 31 syllables in the entire poem. Traditionally, it was written as one continuous line, but now it most often takes the form of five lines. The first three lines follow the same format as a haiku, with five syllables in line one, seven in line two, and five in line three. The last two lines of a tanka are both seven syllables long (so the full pattern is 5-7-5-7-7).
Tanka allows a poet a little more space to express themself. Usually, the first two lines of a tanka describe a person, place, or thing, and then the third line is used to pivot to express how the poet feels about that person, place, or thing. Challenge your young chef to write a tanka, and try to achieve that pivot. Here’s an example:
Soft, sticky dough coils (5 syllables)
That heat transforms golden brown (7 syllables)
Holding in my hand (5 syllables)
Excited to celebrate (7 syllables)
Like a bursting firework (7 syllables)