A couple of months ago our Intergenerational Book Club read a book about gardening and then planted herbs for the Assisted Living residents to care for and watch. At our most recent meeting, we harvested those herbs and made a delicious summer treat that fit perfectly with our book!
This month, we read, The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins. In this book, a mother makes her children cookies to share, but the doorbell keeps ringing as more friends arrive and are invited in. Each time, the children must equally divide the cookies amongst themselves. It’s a great math concept book. Throughout the story, the characters agree that, “nobody makes cookies like Grandma”! At the end of the book Grandma brings cookies, just as they have run out. We chose this book because of the positive intergenerational relationship and because it’s an easy book to read aloud. Not to mention, the book is about cookies, which gave us a perfect excuse to make a tasty treat!
We wanted both the kids and the residents to be able to help make the cookies, but we knew that we had to do it in a hygienic way that didn’t take TOO long. We only spend about an hour together and we have very young children who can lose attention quickly.
Our solution was to make and bake a couple batches of cookies ahead of time (I had some little helpers) and then make an extra batch of uncooked dough that we brought with for the children and residents to add the last two ingredients.
So how did we incorporate herbs into cookies? We made FRESH MINT chocolate chip cookies using THIS recipe by The Vintage Mixer. This was a GREAT recipe and the cookies turned out delicious! Seriously, who doesn’t love a mint and chocolate combo?
We chopped and measured the mint ahead of time and divided it into little containers with lids along with the measured chocolate chips (portioned in separate containers) and left those ingredients out of the last batch of dough.
We handed out the containers at our meeting and had the kids and residents pour the mint and chocolate chips into the uncooked dough. This was the perfect way for everyone to be involved with the baking without touching the ingredients!
Since baking would have required a long wait (and the use of the kitchen), we set this batch of dough aside and brought out the pre-baked cookies for everyone to try! (Don’t worry, the uncooked dough didn’t go to waste—it was baked after the meeting!)
Generally everyone liked the cookies and a few even asked for seconds (and thirds). A few kids were a little skeptical of the green mint, but generally this was a well-accepted recipe and snack!
Our intergenerational book is rewarding for participants on many levels, but namely because the relationships between resident and children grow with each visit. We try to keep the activities simple and keep our visits relatively short, making it, ideally, accessible to many families. We hope that others will continue to use our book and activity ideas as inspiration for starting their own Intergenerational Book Club.