NEWTOWN BOROUGH >> Inside one of the borough’s newest businesses on Sunday morning, youngsters were busy crushing graham crackers and dipping marshmallows in chocolate sauce.
As Renee Hanna provided step-by-step instructions on how to make kid-sized s’mores, the large group of youngsters listened and watched intently, mimicking her every move as she plunged a wooden toothpick through a soft marshmallow.
Soon, the kids were shoving the sweet chocolate and graham cracker marshmallow treats into their mouths, leaving some of the younger ones with chocolate covered fingers and faces.
The demonstration class was part of a grand opening and ribbon cutting celebration at Silly Spoons, a new “kid’s culinary experience” located inside Fenton Square at 408 South State Street.
Silly Spoons is the brainchild of Renee Hanna, a Pennsbury teacher and Newtown Township Mom who began offering culinary classes and cooking camps for kids in 2018 at the Lower Makefield Community Center and at McCaffrey’s Market in Yardley.
Silly Spoons, she said, is all about teaching and inspiring children to love the art of cooking through interactive classes designed to build confidence and to offer endless opportunities for learning and creativity.
Hanna signed a lease in June and held her first event - a birthday party - at her new Fenton Square location on August 1.
Since then, she said, “It’s been going great. We’ve had six events here since opening - all birthday parties. They are the most popular.”
Hanna brings an extensive background in education to her new business, including 12 years as a second grade and kindergarten teacher at Quarry Hill Elementary School. Since 2015, she has been teaching culinary classes at Pennsbury High School.
“I started working with high schoolers on cooking and they love it. So I started thinking that the little kids would love it too, but there’s nothing out there for them,” said Hanna. “That’s where this whole idea came from.”
During monthly classes, kids get to decorate their own chef hats, use the tools of the trade including rolling pins and kid-friendly cooking tools and participate in a culinary activity, whether it be making lasagna rolls, s’mores cups, homemade donuts or another fun dish.
“Basically the kids prep everything and we do the cooking - taking it in and out of the oven,” explained Hanna.
And if parents want to stick around and watch, there’s an area set aside for them to observe the action.
If Sunday’s demonstration class is any indication, Silly Spoons is already a huge hit among the kids who had a blast whipping up their sweet s’mores.
“It’s a fun, unique experience for them to learn a new skill,” said Hanna. “It makes them feel confident and boosts their creative mind in the kitchen. It also helps build fine motor and also their social skills. It’s definitely a unique experience.”
And the kids are not the only fans of Silly Spoons. So are their parents, many of whom watched their kids as they whipped up the s’mores.
“She’s phenomenal,” said one parent of Hanna. “She makes it so that they can cook and they’re excited.”
“When they get home, they are all ready to use their knives,” added another parent.
“When we went out to Texas to visit family, they made their homemade donuts and they were a big hit.”
Silly Spoons offers scheduled culinary classes for ages 5 to 12 and a special “You & Me” cooking class for children ages 3-8 accompanied by an adult.
Upcoming classes include a Kid’s Night Out on Oct. 11 for ages 5 to 12; Spooky Treats on Oct. 26 for ages 5 to 12; You and Me on Nov. 3 for ages 3 to 8; and Holiday Cookies on Dec. 21 for ages 5 to 12.
Silly Spoons is also booking birthday parties for a minimum of six and a maximum of 16 children. The package includes two hours of party time, chef hats, one entree and one dessert, cooking and baking lesson, kid friendly recipes and favors for all children.
In addition, Silly Spoons offers a Troop Package for scouts working on cooking and culinary badges. The package includes cooking or baking lesson, entree or dessert, paper products, chef hats and more.
On hand to welcome Silly Spoons to the community with a ribbon cutting were State Rep. Perry Warren, State Senator Steve Santarsierio’s Chief of Staff Rose Wuenschel and Newtown Business Association representatives Beverly Dimler and Gerry Couch.
“I wanted to grab some of those s’mores pops,” admitted Warren, who observed the demonstration class. “It looks like a lot of fun for the kids and the Hanna’s seem like fun people to spend some time with. It’s a nice addition to Newtown.”
Wuenschel added, “It’s fun to welcome another business to Newtown and especially a Newtown family. It’s so exciting to see. It’s going to bring a lot of children together with the opportunity to learn about cooking and preparing food. It’s a really nice idea.”
Couch predicted that a lot of parents and grandparents out there will be taking advantage of the birthday party and class offerings, if only to keep the kids from out of their own kitchens.
“It’s a great idea and there’s a nice market out there. It’s a very cute concept,” added Couch. “I’m impressed they did this on their own. I think the reception in the community will be very good ... It’s very unique and I think they’ll do well.”