Need a great way to keep kids occupied, but don’t need another useless craft project that will only take up space and then be discovered shoved under the bed? Are your kids bored, restless and have “nothing to do”, although their bedroom is overflowing with toys? Is your husband spending his evenings tinkering with the parts for the mustang, rather than spending family time? Are you desperately looking for a way to get the entire family involved in an activity? Well, I have a solution: Get them into the kitchen!
There are so many fun foods that you can make together, ranging from snack ideas, to fun dinners, to delicious desserts. The best part is that not only can kids have fun and create something to be proud of, but they can also hone their math skills, use their senses and even be encouraged to try new foods. There are many benefits to cooking with the entire family. It’s one of those fun and educational activities in which kids are not aware that they’re learning, and parents get to delegate dinner duties. So pull out that pint-sized apron, clear off those counters and let’s get ready to cook!
Layered Mexican Bean Dip
This is a delicious dip that my family loves. Not only is it great for parties, but it also makes a good, quick lunch if there are any leftovers. It’s so easy to make, even preschoolers can help. You can use as little or as much of the ingredients as you want, which makes it so great for kids. Pile on the cheese or just sprinkle a bit on. Go crazy on the sour cream or just spread a little dollop. It’s all about fun.
You will need: Two 15-oz. cans of black beans or refried beans, salsa, sour cream, shredded cheddar or Mexican-blend cheese, black olive slices and cherry tomatoes.
In a rectangular pan, layer ingredients starting on the bottom with beans, and ending with cheese. If using black beans, be sure to rinse and drain them. You may use the black beans as is, or mash them if you’d like. Kids can pour and spread salsa, spread sour cream and sprinkle cheese. There is really no right or wrong way to do this, and the amount is up to you.
Let them decorate the final product with black olives and sliced cherry tomatoes (you do the slicing, of course). Let the kiddos get creative – my daughter, the artist, likes to create pictures with them! Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy.
Pizza With Pizazz
Pizza is a perennial kid favorite. Well okay, it’s a favorite for just about everyone. It’s also a fun and easy food to make yourself, plus your kids will have a great time putting their own individual pies together. But perhaps your child can create a pizza picture. Pepperoni wheels and roasted red peppers can sketch out an edible car on that pizza pie!
You will need: refrigerated pizza dough, a jar of pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese and a mix of toppings. Try deli ham, pepperoni, fresh garlic, sliced mushrooms, diced green peppers, diced onions, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, grated parmesan cheese, sliced black olives or whatever special ingredients your child likes.
Stretch your pizza dough onto a large, rectangular, rimmed baking sheet. Cut dough into fourths. Of course, you can double the amount of dough if you’d like. Prebake as directed. Spread sauce evenly on each pizza. Then top with shredded mozzarella. Finally, have the kids go to town with toppings. They can use their creativity and their own taste buds to create their own personal masterpieces. Just bake as directed, and dig in.
Frozen Fruit Salad
Kids love fruit, and freezing it makes it even better. Frozen bananas taste like a decadent ice-cream treat, and frozen grapes are just as refreshing on a hot summer day.
You will need: Two cups of seedless red grapes, two cups of seedless green grapes and two sliced bananas.
Have your child help rinse and dry grapes, and then spread them on a rimmed baking sheet. They can also peel the bananas before you cut them into ½-inch slices. Add bananas to the baking sheet, making sure all ingredients are in a single layer. Freeze for about an hour or until fruit is fully frozen. Set a timer, and help your child figure out how long it will take to be ready. Yes, they can start telling time with this one!
When done, divide into bowls and serve. Add some whipped cream or dessert topping if you’d like. Perfect for a hot day.
So there you have it – some fun and delicious recipes that you and your kids can make together. Your child will have fun and also be rewarded at the end of the process with a delicious treat. Most importantly, you’ll be starting an interest in cooking that can last a lifetime.
|Savannah Marie is a mom and a writer. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading anything she can get her hands on and learning to balance work and home life.|