September 21, 2003

How do you make apple cider? Tonight at dinner we had another famous "Daddy, how do you..." questions. These questions spur great lessons in our house and are some of my favorite teachable moments. Some of you may remember the "Daddy how do you make soy milk?" question or the "Daddy what is that (dry ice)" question. Well today it was "Daddy how do you make apple cider?"

Some of you may recall that we went apple picking yesterday and had a grand time. Well today we had special apple pie oatmeal (recipe: oatmeal, apples and raisins coated in apple pie mix and a bit of sugar) and apple cider for dinner. Thus our daughter's ever creative juices started flowing. She asked and we of course started to give answers off the cuff until I got stuck trying to explain the difference between apple juice and apple cider and how they were made.

Serona points to our computer and says "Look it up in the answer box" and I laughed but realized that really was a good way to explain our computer and the way we generally use it. So I did a google search on how to make apple cider. The first site I went to was way to technical for my four and two year old. I realized they really did not need to know about "pommage" and the best temperature for fermentation. I stopped reading aloud and then surfed over to a great site for kids.

The Cider Mill has some great pictures and very brief explanation of the process. My four year old loved it and she could control the mouse enough to walk herself through the process a few times after we had done it together. She then showed her brother how it worked and explained it to him as she navigated through the process of making apple cider. I was so proud of her and glad that we went that extra step in really finding the answers to her questions.

Don't get me wrong we do not ALWAYS get this detailed in answering her endless four year old questions but I would say we do it more often than not. I have decided to grab hold of those teachable moments because those are the ones they remember - when they asked the question and you helped them find the best answer. My kids actually remember what sublimation is and can explain how you make soy milk and apple cider (well the older one can atleast) and it is because we took just a few minutes more and went to the "answer box" to find more specifics at their level. I hope to continue doing this throughout their lives and eventually to teach them to do the same for themselves


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