by Beth Simon
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
― Charles M. Schulz
White, milk, dark, frozen or hot, in bars, drops, chips or chunks, chocolate has long provided us with comfort and joy. It soothes the soul and lifts spirits in difficult times, and it complements celebrations and parties in its own sweet way through cakes and cookies.
World Chocolate Day or International Chocolate Day is celebrated each year on July 7th. It’s said that Europe was first introduced to chocolate on July 7, 1550, which was then brought to the Americas. Can you even imagine living in a world without chocolate? Lucky us! We will never have to know such horror
How can you incorporate World Chocolate Day in your classroom? You can begin by taking a poll. Polls are great because children get to express their opinion and document it on a chart or graph; it says to the child “My opinion matters” or “My thoughts count.” It also gives children a sense of connection to other classmates who feel the same way. “Margot likes white chocolate too” – this may not have been a connection otherwise made between children. This also allows you, the teacher, to get to know your children a little more personally about their likes and interests… this knowledge could come in handy throughout the year (wink wink).
Celebrate this sweet day by taking a trip to a local chocolate factory, bakery, or confectionary. If a trip isn’t possible, maybe a special guest or visitor could come into the classroom for a taste test or demonstration. Last resort, you could make this a cooking project and make your own chocolate treats in the classroom. Children will enjoy having a hands-on experience, which also incorporates cooperation and math skills when measuring ingredients.
I would always tie a special day back to a book or books and encourage reading. I had no idea the number of books about chocolate until I did a quick search. There are A LOT. Of course, there’s the obvious, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, but there are countless others. Below are a few more recommendations:
The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling
Milton Hershey: Young Chocolatier by M. M. Eboch
Chocolate Fever by Robert Kimmel Smith
Curious George Goes to a Chocolate Factory by H. A. Rey
However you choose to celebrate World Chocolate Day, make it a memorable experience by building connections and sharing a common interest. Chocolate brings us together and makes (almost) everything better.