julius jr. inventing time! cook up some creativity

Invent your own personal pasta creation

Gather your kids and join us in the Invention Dimension! Julius Jr.'s Inventing Time activities give you simple ways to play with your kids that encourage their natural creativity!

Objects Needed to Create Your Invention

  • Cooked and cooled noodles
  • Bowls of bite-sized, ready-to-eat pasta salad ingredients like cheese cubes, cooked peas, bell peppers, artichoke hearts, corn, olives, carrots, diced ham or turkey
  • Spoon or tongs for each of the ingredients
  • Individual serving bowl for each child with room to build his or her salad
  • Individual mixing bowl for each child's salad dressing (plastic jar, measuring cup, or bowl with high sides)
  • Ingredients for dressing (each in a small container such as a recycled yogurt cup), mild oil (such as olive, grapeseed, or canola), mild vinegar (such as rice or apple cider vinegar, any fresh herbs, mustard (prepared or dried), salt and pepper
  • Whisk or fork
  • Tray, kitchen towel or newspaper
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    Step Inside the Box with Julius Jr.!

    Ask your kids:
  • Which of these foods look interesting to you? Which foods have an interesting smell?
  • You can scoop out a small amount of each ingredient into your bowl and observe it more closely: How does it look? Do you recognize it? Does it remind you of other foods that you've tried?
  • What ingredients do you want to put into your salad? How much do you think you'd like to add?
  • Many times salads have a tasty sauce called salad dressing. You can make your own salad dressing by mixing these other ingredients together.
  • What happens when you mix together the oil and vinegar? What do you see? How does your mixture taste?
  • What are you adding now? How would you describe the change that you've made to your dressing? Is it ready to be added to your pasta salad, or are you still working on your special recipe?
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    Now to the Invention Dimension!

    Create a discovery zone and invite your children to explore these ingredients. Allow the children to decide which foods to try and whether to include them in their creation. Explore the flavor, texture, and aroma of each ingredient. Allow your children to explore freely as there are no possible mistakes in this process. Giving your children an authentic opportunity to create something of value--in this case, a new food--communicates your faith in them and the importance of their ideas. Set your children up for success by offering only as much of each ingredient as you would want to be ultimately included. This avoids you having to jump in and interrupt their exploration.

    What Your Little Ones Are Learning

    Your children will be immersed in exploring the pasta creation with all five senses. Enjoy the rich conversation that emerges as you try to express your experiences. Describing tastes and smells helps build vocabulary. Watch carefully, and you will notice your children engaging in critical early science behaviors (measuring, observing, cause and effect, making predictions, testing a hypothesis) as they create a simple dressing and eat their creation.

    Why "Inventing Time" Matters

    Creative thinking begins early in every child's life. It enables original thought and the ability to see solutions where others don't. It provides the fundamental building blocks for success in school and beyond. Creative play has been proven across multiple research studies to be the best path to developing a lifelong capacity for creativity.
    Julius Jr. and the Center for Childhood Creativity are working together to create inventing Time activities to help you support kids' natural creativity.

    Every kid can be an inventor like Julius Jr.
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