Photo: Girl Eating a Popsicle

Ahh, summer is here… For many kids, summer is a highly anticipated break from school to just hang out and relax. However as many parents know, the summertime boredom quickly sets in and then there’s a mad scramble to find fun stuff for the kids to do.

One suggestion is to get them cooking in the kitchen. This will serve a few purposes.  Besides giving you quality time with your children, it’ll give them somehing to do.  They’ll be helping out making meals for themselves and for the rest of the family, it’ll teach them a valuable life skill in cooking, and (hopefully) they’ll have fun!

Here are a few easy kitchen activities that you and your kids can do this summer:

Ice Pops: Have the kids mix a variety of fresh fruit (stick to easy fruit that doesn’t need too much cutting like bananas, berries, kiwis, etc.) with a big bowl of unsweetened yogurt. Pour them into paper cups or a popsicle mold and stick a popsicle stick in the middle. Allow them to freeze for 3-4 hours and serve them for dessert or for a cooling snack.

If you have older kids, have them try to come up with some unique combinations with seasonings and herbs like a strawberry chili pepper pop, watermelon with mint and basil, or banana with a pinch of allspice.

Pizza Making: This activity works well for a range of ages:

Younger Kids (3-7): Prepare pizza dough along with some easy toppings like olives, marinara sauce, shredded cheese, pineapple, etc. Split the prepared dough to make mini pizzas and have the kids roll out the dough and place the toppings themselves. While they’re waiting for the pizzas to cook, print out a paper chef hat template and have them decorate their own hats to wear.

Older Kids (8 and up): Have the kids do the recipe from start to finish from creating the pizza dough to choosing the toppings themselves and baking.

No Bake Cookies and Bites: These are perfect for kids who like to touch everything, (y’know what we’re talking about). These recipes are basically a few items that kids can mix together and roll out with their hands. It’s messy, sticky and just super fun.

Suggested recipes: No Bake Oatmeal Cookies, Dried Fruit and Nut Bites, and Raw Cacao Fudge Truffles.

If the kids get really into cooking, ask them to choose a recipe (or a few!) that they want to make and have them create the shopping list for it. Invite them along for a special shopping trip to Down to Earth or to the farmer’s market. Help them pick out the items they need but try to let them explore and figure it out themselves. You can get really specific and talk about what ingredients go into products or even how to choose fresh fruit and vegetables. We hope those little chefs and their parents get to have fun in the kitchen and maybe just leave the dishes in the sink to do tomorrow. Happy Summer!

Got an awesome kitchen activity for kids to do? Share with us in the comments below!