Last week, I got several emails and a phone call from anxious mamas looking for affordable quality summertime cooking camps for their kiddos. When I used to run my own culinary program, we were swamped over the summer, often having to turn away business. There just wasn’t enough time in the day (or a big enough staff) to meet the demand. Since I am not offering camps anymore, I felt compelled to do something to help all of the young chefs out there who want to have fun in the kitchen this summer.
This is the first of what I hope will be many DIY Summertime Cooking Class resources for anyone (parents, educators, scout troop leaders etc.) who wants to host their own cooking playdates or classes over the summer. Each set of themed resources can be used alone, over the course of a few hours in a fun-filled day, or it can be combined with my other cooking with kids activities, to create a culinary camp of your own.
How to Host a Cooking Playdate
Please tell me that I’m not the only parent who has hosted playdates where the kids mope around and ask what they should do…Fortunately, if you plan a cooking playdate in advance, there will be no more sulking. They will arrive on your doorstep (hopefully with some ingredients in hand), eager for the day’s activities. Here are a few pointers to make the playdate go smoothly:
- Decide how many kids you want to host at once. If you are hosting more than four, I would suggest asking one of the parents to stay and help.
- Once you know who is coming, be sure to ask if there are any food allergies or dietary restrictions you should be aware of. There is nothing worse than seeing a child’s face fall with disappointment when they learn they can’t eat what you had hoped to make.
- Pick the recipes that you’d like to use. Ask your own kids for suggestions or advice. It’s easiest if the day has a theme (like the Snow White one featured here, but anything will do.) You can feature food from another country, or focus only on breakfast or picnic foods. The sky is the limit…
- Depending on the age of the kids (and therefore their attention spans), you will most likely want between 1-4 recipes.
- To make things easier and more affordable for you, the host(ess)-with-the-most(est), give the parents of your guests a short list of ingredients that their little chefs can contribute to the playdate.
- Before the start of the playdate, put each recipe into a sheet protector and take out the cooking tools required for each recipe. You can also organize some of the non-perishable ingredients in advance.
- Save most of the food prep for the kids. They love getting involved with every step, and that’s where much of the learning happens.
- Take breaks, allowing the kids some time to stretch, run and play – but use the food as the bait to lure them back into the kitchen when you are ready.
DIY Snow White Cooking Class
You and your guests will enter the magical forest, and will prepare these delicious recipes…
- Prince Charming’s Pretzel Pillows
- (Not Poisonous) Applesauce
- Evil Queen’s Devilled Eggs
- Dwarfs’ Forest Dill Dip
You will also make Snow White’s Sparkling Playdough and will learn about Deception when you partake in the Evil Queen’s Deceptive Media scavenger hunt…
Don’t worry – each recipe comes with easy-to-follow directions, along with a resource page, with a list of required tools and helpful notes to make things run safely and smoothly.
This is the first of five Book and Movie themed resources that I hope to complete before summer vacation begins. I have done some great camps in the past, but certain themes (such as Star Wars, Looney Tunes and any Pixar or Disney movies) are off limits due to trademark issues. 🙁 What are some of your favorite books or movies that you’d like to see included here? PLEASE chime in!
Update: These sets of book-themed recipes are now available:
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