Summertime means plenty of opportunities for fun. But little hands and minds need something to occupy all that free time. Why not experience the sweet, fresh fruit of summer with everyday food activities you can do with your children? It’s an easy way to pass the time and doesn’t cost extra.
Go berry picking. If you don’t have a backyard garden, look up a local U-Pick farm for a berry-picking adventure. Start now. Strawberries are in season first, then blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.
Do a daily taste test. A taste test is one of the best ways to help children try new foods. Simply announce that you are conducting a taste test, set out the samples and watch them be gobbled up. Test different varieties of fruit and pick a winner, or try an exotic fruit with a crazy name.
Freeze leftovers for future goodies. Sometimes the harvest is a little too abundant. Decide to save some before it’s too late by washing and placing berries or cut-up pieces of fruit in freezer bags. Next time your kids are in the mood for a smoothie, it’s as easy as popping some fruit pieces in the blender. And since the fruit is frozen, it takes the place of ice cubes.
Make fruit kabobs. There’s something about food on a stick that makes eating fun for kids. Serve a wooden skewer of a single fruit or get creative. Create an image with a plateful of fruit kabobs. How? Make an American flag by arranging skewers of alternating strawberries and bananas for the stripes and top a few of the skewers with blueberries for the stars section.
Make homemade fruit soda. A no-soda household is a great start to a healthy food environment. But there is nothing wrong with mixing up some homemade soda for a summer treat. You can make a simple soda by mixing equal parts of fruit juice with soda water, club soda or sparkling water. Turn sour lemons and limes into soda by mixing ¼ cup lemon or lime juice with 3 tablespoons sugar first, then adding a cup of soda water.
Visit a fruit tree. If you don’t have a fruit tree in your yard, maybe you can visit a neighbor who does or a local orchard. Seeing fruit grow on trees helps little ones understand how real food grows.
Make a summer fruit mural. As you enjoy the latest fruit in season, have your little one draw or paint a picture of it. Display the growing line of color as the summer progresses. You might even make it from red berries to peachy peaches and on to orange pumpkins!
Use fruit as a natural flavor and color. Many foods in the grocery store come pre-made, meaning they are pre-flavored, pre-colored and pre-sweetened. You can do the same thing at home while having fun and limiting the not-so-good ingredients you have to settle for when buying processed foods. Use the juice of berries or cherries to color yogurt, ice cream or milk. Add cut up whole fruit to add the flavor and you’ve got an easy, healthy snack.
Create fruit art. For a classic still life, set out bowls of peaches, berries or just a slice of watermelon for water color inspiration. If you find yourself with peaches or small melons that are past their fresh date, dip in paint and use for stamping before they go in the garbage.
Inspect the seeds. It might be tough to get them to grow (trying can be fun, though!) but don’t just throw away the fruit seeds. Take the chance to inspect the type and size of seeds in summer fruits you eat. Strawberries have tiny seed specks that end up in your tummy, mid-summer fruits like peaches and plums have bigger stone-like seeds, and then you’ve got the spit-able seeds of watermelons.
This article was written by Kati Chevaux for Cozi, a Time Inc. company. Cozi is the leading family organizing app that makes it simple to keep track of everyone’s schedules, shopping lists and to dos. Information is updated in real time and shared with each member of the family, so everyone is always on the same page. Get the Cozi app (it’s free!) at cozi.com or search for Cozi in your favorite app store.
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