It’s summertime and children want to get creative. They want treats, but parents want those treats to be healthy. Caregivers are looking for classroom activities to do with children that fulfill their desire for creativity while observing health and dietary guidelines, not to mention lesson plans. What a quandary!
Here are several, healthy alternative snack ideas that children can make in the classroom or at home. They could be paired with a water day at school, or with a picnic at home. Whatever the occasion, whether a warm morning, a hot afternoon or a cooler evening, there’s nothing like home made treats to share the love!
- Chocolate Dipped Bananas. These are healthy, sweet treats that satisfy the desire for something cool. All you do is peel a banana, children cut it in half, skewer it on a popsicle (craft) stick and dip it in melted chocolate. Sprinkle it with sprinkles or granola or roll it in coconut – whatever each child desires. Place on a wax-paper topped cookie sheet and freeze for a couple of hours before devouring.
- Fruit and Cheese Kabobs. Children over the age of 3 years can thread their choice of cut fruit, cheese and even french bread pieces or angel food cake on a skewer. You can help them make patterns (math) or discuss the colors and textures (art) while they do the activity. The same can be done with …
- Cheese, Pickles and Vegetables Kabobs. A great way for kids to try new flavor combinations (and maybe even new veggies). Perfectly paired with cubed french bread or pumpernickel for interest. Not recommended for children under the age of 3 (those skewers can be pokey!). At my kids’ cooking class, this was called “lunch on a stick” and the kids loved it!
- Parfaits. Children can layer pudding (different flavors), Cool Whip, granola or a favorite cereal or pound cake to make a parfait that’s good enough to eat.
- Worms in the Dirt. Sounds yucky, but kids love it. Make a parfait using crushed chocolate graham wafers, Cool Whip and chocolate pudding in a tall clear plastic cup, with children burying a few gummy worms in the mix and peeking out the top. When covered with a bit of crushed grahams, it’s summertime dirt, with a bit more cool whip, it’s a frosty winter treat.
- Aquarium Treats. While the teacher/mom makes blue raspberry jello, the kids chose which Goldfish Crackers or gummy goldfish they want to use in their creation. After the jello has cooled and thickened slightly, children spoon it into clear plastic cups and bury the gummy goldfish inside to “swim.” A bit of white cool whip can adorn the top with a couple of gummy goldfish and Goldfish crackers peeking out the top.
- As a science experiment, nothing works better than s’mores prepared by children and placed outside wrapped in foil, to sit in the sun for an hour or more. When opened, the packages contain ooey, gooey goodness and you can talk about the power of the sun, solar heating and other subjects while devouring the treats.
- If you want to discuss the properties of water, Frozen Pops work well! Children can pour different fruit juices in popsicle molds, placing the sticks on top and letting them freeze for a couple of hours, while teacher talks about the water cycle and properties of liquids. When you take them out, they will be icy deliciousness as a hot summer afternoon treats. Can be coupled with a ‘sink or float’ experiment if bits of fruit are added to the fruit juice before freezing.
- If you have access to an ice cream maker, you can follow instructions and show children how ice cream (or frozen yogurt) can be made the “old-fashioned” way. Great for discussions about pioneers and farm life on the prairies. You can do the same to shake heavy cream in a can (playing pass the can) to make butter. This takes quite a bit of time, though, and is better done with older children. They find the separation process fascinating and will want to enjoy it on some specialty breads.
- Children can freeze grapes or blueberries. Grapes are a delicious cool treat for children over the age of 3, and when they have been frozen, they are even sweeter. When blueberries are frozen, they are delectable when children pour low-fat milk over them in a bowl, creating a slush or frozen treat. Drizzle with a bit of honey for a sweeter snack.