As a kid, I looked forward to summer break. As a parent, I kinda dread it. Hours upon days upon weeks of having zero commitments and tons of daylight hours to fill with things that’ll keep the kids entertained and cool at the same time. It’s especially hard to find stuff to do outside when it’s 100 degrees out and your kid hates putting on sunscreen. Then one morning at the house while my son was complaining that he was both hungry and bored, it hit me: I can both feed and entertain him if he helps me make the snack! My son loves to be a part of the action and help out in the kitchen, especially when he gets to eat the results. I call these my super easy summer “snacktivities” that you can make with your kids.
And I do mean, SUPER easy. Like, no cooking, with minimal ingredients!
They’re simple yet time consuming, healthy snacks, and don’t involve a lot of clean up. My cooking pet peeve is when a recipe claims to be quick and easy, and then involves a blender and several accessories which you spend 15 minutes cleaning up afterwards! These are my own recipes, so are not super specific in terms of measurements; My cooking style is kinda like jazz where I go with how things feel and taste as we go along. Feel free to change them up to suit your own tastes!
Yogurt Fruit Popsicles
We took a Delta flight where they served free yogurt pops, and when we returned home my son immediately asked for more. I typically have plain Greek yogurt in the fridge and always keep fresh or frozen fruit laying around, so making our own was a no brainer. A great “go to” on hot summer days!
- Put yogurt in a large mixing bowl. Enough to fill your popsicle molds about half way.
- Add fruit, enough so that each pop has several pieces. I like frozen organic berries, which I buy in bulk at Costco, because you don’t have to wash or even cut them, just throw in as is!
- Top with a generous swirl of honey or maple syrup or agave syrup or jam. Taste and add more until the mixture is sweet enough but don’t go overboard – remember the fruit adds sugar too! My son likes to include a dash of cinnamon just for fun. Challenge your kids to make this their own way!
- Mix and pour carefully into the mold (this is the only step where I really did the work).
- Freeze (should take a couple hours). If your child wants a treat immediately, let them lick the mixing spoon and bowl!
TIP: Get a good popsicle mold where each stick comes with an individual cover so you can thaw them out one at a time as needed.
Remember that melon baller you put on your wedding registry and have literally never used? Well, dig it out from the back of your utensil drawer because this is the perfect use for it!
- Cut melon into half. I like watermelon because they tend to be the biggest and therefore take the most time to complete ; )
- Let child sit cross-legged on the ground with a towel in their lap and the melon resting between their legs.
- Give them the baller and let them scoop to their hearts delight, putting the results in a container within their reach.
- When they’re done, if you want to kill more time, have them count up the balls and divide into portions to eat now or save for later.
My mother-in-law gave me the tip about freezing grapes for a healthy snack during the summer. They feel like a treat because they came from the freezer and taste sweet like a popsicle, but are exactly what they say they are: frozen grapes. Your child can do everything with just a little supervision!
- Wash grapes
- Pat dry
- Pick off the stems and put in a freezer-safe container
- Freeze (should take about an hour)
Ice Cube Shapes
This is as easy as they come! I found a cool Star Wars set of silicon molds online and my son was super excited to drink his milk later with a giant death star ice cube inside.
- Lay out molds on a baking tray. The tray will catch any spillage and also makes it easy to carry the molds once they’re full.
- Fill up a small pitcher of drinking water and let your child fill the molds.
TIP: Put a small piece of fruit in each section before adding water for a sweet lil ice cube treat!