April 10, 2014

How to Make Homemade Butter

Friday afternoon I was the mystery reader in Big Sister's first grade class.  As the mystery reader, I chose a book to read (and optional activity) to the class. During the week, the teacher provides the class clues about the reader, and the students try to guess who it may be.  The teacher told me Big Sister guessed it was me after the second clue.  

The Clues
1. I love to read books.
2. I have three children.
3. Pizza is my favorite food.
4. I am not a good swimmer.  
5. I had my first pair of glasses when I was in first grade. 
(If you are interested, I shared 37 facts about me on my last birthday.)

Introduction
I showed the children Big Sister's pioneer apron.  They had a difficult time guessing what it was.  The pioneer bonnet was much easier for them to guess.  



Next, we discussed how people long ago had to make a lot of things right at home.  We looked at an image of a butter churn, and several of the children recognized it.  

I explained that since I didn't have a butter churn, we would use a jar and marble as a substitute.  Since I didn't have a cow at home to provide milk and cream, I purchased heavy whipping cream at the grocery store.

I instructed the children to make butter by shaking the jar for a bit and then pass it along while I read the story.  I encouraged them to shake even after they couldn't hear the marble moving.
The Book
I decided to read Summertime in the Big Woods, a picture book based on the Little House chapter books.  Maybe you remember how much Big Sister appreciates Little House.  She had a Little House birthday party a couple years ago!  (Linked to lots of activities and ideas!)
As first graders, I know some of the children are beginning to read chapter books and others enjoy them as a read aloud with their parents.  With this in mind, I took Big Sister's Little House boxed set along with some of the simpler Little House abridged chapter books that read at a second grade level.  I took a moment to emphasize Farmer Boy for the boys in the class.

The Activity
Though Summertime in the Big Woods does not have the Ingalls family making butter, they did make cheese.  Wintertime in the Big Woods does discuss butter making.  However, it's April, and we all want this long winter to be over.  Since the children made the butter while we read the story (plus some extra shaking as the children returned to their seats), it was time to enjoy the treat.

Big Sister and a friend passed out napkins.  The teacher and I passed out two Saltine crackers for each student.  Then we went around and buttered the crackers.  The children thought it tasted great.  Best of all, my daughter loved every minute of it.  She thought all the children loved it.

Homemade Butter Recipe
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
pinch of salt, optional

Place a clean marble in a jar.  Add whipping cream and salt.  Seal jar tightly.  Shake until butter is thick and creamy.

(You may serve immediately if crunched for time in a classroom environment.)

Pour off the buttermilk liquid.  Rinse the butter with cold water.  Continue rinsing until the water runs clear.

Please Note:
If you make butter with a group of children, choose your jar carefully.  Too many children have allergies to use a peanut butter jar!  A canning or mayonnaise jar will be better options.

More Little House Party Ideas

Little House Party Invitation
~ Little House Party Decorations
Little House Party Activities
Little House Dress, Apron, and Bonnet
~ Little House Mercantile Store and Party Favors
Laura Ingalls Costume and Felt Braids
~ Little House Birthday Party Food
Do you have any memories of making butter as a child?  Isn't it delicious?

When we finished making butter it was time for dismissal.  Big Sister and I went on our special date.  At the end of the night I asked what her favorite part of the day was.  Despite all of our fun, me as mystery reader was her favorite!  It just shows how important it is to our children to volunteer at school.

~ Annette W. {This Simple Mom}
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