Much of human activity centers around food. From meeting with friends for lunch to gathering around the dinner table as a family in the evenings, people focus on food. We look at fun food projects that you can try with your kids.
However, eating is about more than just survival – although that’s a huge part of it. Cooking, baking and dining are about connection. These activities are about sharing a common love with others. Cooking with your kids is no exception.
While you might cringe at the thought of your two-year-old handling flour or food colouring, letting your little ones have some fun in the kitchen is all about connection and, of course, fun! Here are a few kid-friendly food projects you might share together.
1. Buggy Snacks
Chocolate covered crickets might not be in your repertoire, but anyone can make snacks like ants on a log. All you need is a variety of fruits and vegetables, peanut butter and a few extra snack items like pretzels, raisins or chocolate chips. Let your little ones assist you in making caterpillars, snails, ladybugs, ants and more with the food. You might even add some edible google eyes to make them look like real insects. Then, enjoy your healthy snacks together.
2. Gingerbread Houses
You may associate gingerbread houses with winter and snow, but making houses out of food is fun all year round. If you don’t want to use gingerbread, you can substitute with plain biscuits. You can even use peanut butter, melted marshmallow or Nutella as glue instead of icing. Decorate your houses with berries, lollies and more. The best thing about this project is its flexibility. Make it a healthy snack or a special treat as you see fit.
Wiggly, jiggly jelly is the perfect food to have some fun with, especially as a kid. With so many moulds and a rainbow of colors to choose from, you and the children can turn jelly into anything – from worms to fish bowls. If you have a lot of time on your hands, you can even layer different colors or place lollies or chocolates inside the jelly. Give your little ones the freedom to mix, pour and imagine.
4. Smoked Cheese
Colder weather is the perfect the time to enjoy some smoked cheese. Skip the meats and vegetable skewers and opt to smoke cheese, instead. This food project requires placing the cheese on a small mesh rack and an hour or two of your time. Plus, the kids will love peeking in on the cheese and making a charcuterie board to go along with it.
5. Mini Pizzas
While your grill is hot, you might as well make some mini pizzas, too. Gather up all the pizza ingredients you and your kids can find. If you’re feeling adventurous, you might even make your own dough. Once you’ve assembled all the ingredients, let your littles go to town decorating their own pizzas. Make smiley faces and other art on top and be sure to use your freshly-smoked cheese! Then, pop them on the grill and watch them cook.
Meatloaf may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of kid-friendly food projects. However, making meatloaf can be tons of fun for kids, especially the part where you mix everything together. Let them do this with clean hands for some tactile play and be sure to let them help you add all the ingredients to the mix as well. The more hands-on they can be, the better.
7. Homemade Ice Cream
There’s nothing more kid-friendly than ice-cream and sprinkles, especially when you make your own at home. While there are a number of different ways to churn, roll and freeze ice cream, making this dessert in a Ziploc bag may be the most fun. Simply fill each bag with the necessary ingredients, zip them shut and let your littles shake and roll them until the mixture freezes. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes.
8. Rainbow Cake
Most kids can appreciate a good rainbow dessert, which is why rainbow cake, well, takes the cake! Of course, this food project may take a bit more effort on your part, but your kids are sure to love mixing the colorful batters, layering the cake and decorating the outside with rainbow frosting. Plus, you’ll have a beautiful dessert to show off for all your hard work and multicoloured fingers.
Give Up the Reins
Of course, you should always supervise your kids in the kitchen, especially when sharp utensils are present. However, if your kids seem like they have the situation under control and are old enough to cook a few dishes by themselves, feel free to let go of the reins a bit. Giving them more room to work will encourage them to use their creativity and let their imaginations run wild. Plus, they may just learn a few invaluable kitchen skills along the way.
Do you cook with your kids in the kitchen? What kid-friendly food projects can you recommend? Tell us in the comments below.