A fun way for kids (or anyone really) to make pesto is to use a mortar and pestle. You get a different taste and texture to using a blender or processor, as when you pound the basil leaves, you “bruise” them and release the aromatics. There’s a stronger scent and thus a different taste. You can note the colour of mechanically blended pesto is much lighter green than the pesto pounded by hand, something else it might be interesting for children to note, as well as the texture changes the more you pound. (You can get good big granite mortar and pestle sets for $20-30 these days, they’re very useful.) I find adding a little fresh lemon juice to the pesto adds another taste dimension, as do different kinds of olive oils. Adding coarse salt, like celtic or sea salt helps grind everything up.
Another idea for mortar and pestles with kids from Family Feeding Dynamics…
home-made Chai tea (makes 2 cups)
2 inches of cinnamon stick
6-8 cardamom seeds
1 tea bag (use after you serve the kids)
1 cup of milk
1 cup of water (just use half water/half milk, can increase quantity for more servings)
Crush the cinnamon and cardamom with mortar and pestle. Let kids help as appropriate. Heat the water and milk on low. Add crushed spices, note the smell. Let steep a little while. Careful not to let boil or scorch. Pour milk through a sieve for your child, then add tea bag to steep for you. Pour through sieve. Add sugar or preferred sweetener to taste and enjoy! I prefer this to the powdered Chai mixes because you can control the sweetness and its so clean and fresh tasting– not muddied by too many ingredients.