Summer Food: 30 Fun Ideas For Your Geeklets

food fun for kids,
Peachy. (CC by 2.0 Bruce Tuten)

1. Make a bowl of edible worms. Grossly yummy.

2. Play the match game with little ones. Simply hide equal portions under small containers on a tray. This makes healthy snacks and new foods a treat, not an obligation.

3. Make frozen yogurt dots. Spoon (or pipe from a plastic bag with a corner cut open) your favorite flavored yogurt in small dots on a baking sheet. Freeze for about an hour, then pop off the dots. Cold deliciousness.

4. Learn a bagel cutting technique that teaches a mathematical principle.

5. Have a watermelon speed spitting contest. “Outside, I said outside!”

6. Keep fruits like bananas, mangoes, pineapple, strawberries, and peaches in separate containers in the freezer. On different days let each child take a turn concocting a smoothie for the family by blending his or her choice of fruit with juice and/or yogurt in the blender. Serve in tiny cups for taste testing. Encourage the creator to come up with a name for the frozen delight, like Toby’s Tooth Freeze or Sadie’s Strawberry Slush.

7. Cook something over a campfire or fire pit together. Standards are a hot dog or marshmallow on a stick, although you can find 100 other ideas in Campfire Cooking

8. Make ice cream in a bag.

9. Show kids how to mix a quarter cup or so of juice concentrate (undiluted) into eight ounces of unsweetened seltzer water. Adjust to taste with more juice or seltzer. Add ice cubes and drink. It has the same carbonation level as soda without sugar or food coloring. We call it burp juice in our house because quick gulps bring on burps.

10. Sing a veggie anthem. Better yet, make up lyrics about favorite foods to accompany a familiar tune. Whose says you can’t rhyme with “cheese burger?”

11. Try muffin tin meals. This worked wonders for my four kids when they were small. Each child got a six-cup muffin tin. I filled the six openings with different offerings in small amounts. The compartments kept each food item from the sin of touching another food, and the concept was novel enough that my kids were more willing to try something new. Back then, I thought I’d made up the muffin-tin meal concept, but it turns out lots of moms do the same thing. Well, not quite the same; they’re much more clever. Check out Muffin Tin Mondays.

12. Test out miracle berry, a natural substance that make even grapefruit taste sweet. Let family members dissolve these tablets in their mouths, then see if plain cream cheese tastes like cheesecake and plain lemons taste like lemon candy.

13. It’s fun to chow down adorable meals like those shown in such books as Bean AppetitCute Yummy TimeFunny Foodand Funky Lunch. Remember, kids are more likely to do the eating if they have had a hand in the making. Use books like these as a starting point for inspiration. And don’t forget to make monster noises as you bite the nose off an clown-shaped sandwich.

14. Pan fry dandelion flowers into tasty appetizers.

15. Encourage kids to throw corn cobs in the grass at your next picnic. Legend in my family says it distracts the bugs. When it’s clean up time, whoever picks up the most cobs wins a coveted window seat on the way home. Surely you can come up with a similar cob-related perk. Added plus, everyone wants to wash their gooey hands before leaving.

16. Make popsicles with hidden veggies lurking within.

17. Let them set up a lemonade stand.

18. Make your own ice cream sandwiches. Just glob ice cream between homemade or purchased cookies, wrap in plastic wrap and chill. Try different cookie and ice cream variations. Mix-ins work too, like bananas mashed into butter pecan ice cream and stuck between two oatmeal cookies. You’ll have to do some immediate taste testing, part of the burden of innovation.

19. Make ridiculously cute tiny treats, like “donuts” made from decorated Cheerios. For instructions and inspiration, check out the American Girl book, Tiny Treats or pre-order the more detailed upcoming book, Tiny Food Party!: Bite-Size Recipes for Miniature Meals.

20. Eat breakfast for dinner.

21. Freeze fancier ice cubes. Tuck mint leaves, fresh berries, lemon wedges, or cut up fruit bits in ice cubes trays. You can also freeze lemonade or juice. Hydration suddenly seems more flavorful.

22. Make a snack that looks like puppy chow out of cereal, peanut butter, and chocolate.

23. Let kids cook with their friends. If your kids are small, set up a “cooking class” for your children and a few pals in your own kitchen. If your kids are teens, let them sign up together for a class at a cooking school to learn pastry techniques or the secrets of French cuisine. Encourage kids of any age to start a regular cooking club. It’s a great way for them to socialize while learning useful skills. They can create menus and shopping lists, then cook the dishes they’ve chosen. Let them build on their interests. They may want to devote one session to making foods mentioned in a favorite movie and the next session to making bento-box lunches. Or set up a cooking competition like “Top Chef” for kids or families, except with less pressure and a lot more fun.

24. Plant and harvest crops within days by growing sprouts in a jar.

25. If you haven’t made them, give okra chips a try.

26. Make healthy treats for your dogs.

27. Eat the occasional color-themed meal. An all green lunch might include a green smoothie, celery sticks, split pea spread rolled in spinach wraps, and green grapes. An all white lunch might be steamed cauliflower with lots of white cheddar or provolone melted over it, mashed potatoes, white milk, and banana chunks rolled in dried coconut. Make sure you let the kids help you plan and prepare them.

28. Carve watermelon cleverly.

29. Make cake in a mug.

30. Shrink it. Kids tend to appreciate things on a scale that makes them feel larger. Every now and then, let your children eat from tiny dishes. No need for a tea set, you probably have the right sizes in your cupboard. Use the smallest appetizer plate for a dinner plate, a custard cup or ramekin for soup or cereal, and a shot glass or other tiny vessel for milk or juice. Baby forks and spoons are perfect miniature utensils. Smaller dish size automatically scales down portion size, meaning kids will actually have room for second helpings. Encourage them to serve themselves. They can refill glasses using a tiny pitcher, creamer, or even a small measuring cup with a spout. I know teenagers who still think that eating with tiny dishes is a hoot.

 

Check out our other summer idea posts:

30 Ideas For Outdoor Summer Fun

30 Summer Projects

30 Ways to Have Smart Summer Fun

 

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Laura is the author of a poetry collection titled Tending and Free Range Learning, a handbook of natural learning. She lives on a small farm notable only for its lovestruck goose.