Last week, I held my first summer cooking camp for kids as a part of a fundraiser for an animal shelter. It was so much fun!!
Here are the top highlights. Maybe you can use these tips if you want to run your own cooking camp, or practice cooking with your child…Or maybe you just wanna read about a fun summer camp held by your favorite blogger :)….Side note – If you want to read more about the background regarding the camp, click the link.
Get menu approved by children
Once I made my initial menu plan, I presented it to my daughter. She took a look at it, grabbed a pencil nearby and drew smiley faces for the foods she approved and sad faces next to the ones she disapproved. The menu needed a lot more smiley faces at that point. Ok, I admit, not a great start.
I was all about the utility, I argued!!
Me, serious voice: “You know, you kids need to know how to make upma, pongal, sambar, chutney before you head out to college. Summer holidays is a good place to start.”
My daughter, was much more aware of the market conditions.
“Do you want anybody to show up for this camp or not?”
Hmmm…a valid counterpoint!!
Me: What the market wants, the market gets!! OK, fun menu it is!!
Kids are not thinking about their greens and lentils and spices yet. You can ease them into it. Get them involved in fun recipes at the beginning.
Have simple recipes to get them started
My summer camp kids were thrilled with simple recipes. They watched whipped cream being made with awe. They made lemonade ice popsicles with great concentration. They melted chocolate with great joy. Everything was an adventure for them!!
Sneak in healthy recipes
Ok, you cannot take the health nut from me. But, guess what – the kale chips were a hit!! I KID YOU NOT!! And of course, I had a dehydrator in the garage waiting for the very day that I could feed kale chips to kids who are not mine :).
Not just that, the crunchy raw veggies I cut for my rice paper rolls kept disappearing. The kids kept snacking on them sneakily!! Don’t give up on healthy options. Kids do love them.
Kids loved decorating with chocolate
Everything is like art to the kids. They loved melting chocolate, layering them and making them look pretty.
I am not usually the artistic kind…however, I couldn’t help but enjoy seeing the kids spend an enormous amount of time planning out the layers and design of their chocolates.
Kids love SLIME!!
Making slime is all the rage now. I thought of making edible slime as a fun side project. Boy, o boy, did they love it!! They wanted more and more of that!!
So, we made marshmallow slime, hi chew slime and starburst slime. If I did not have a menu plan, I bet they would have been content to do slime all day, and all week!!
Kids love feeling the food
The kids kept asking to touch every stage of every recipe. They love touching each and every ingredient in their hand – corn starch, frozen blueberries, torn mint leaves. Everything!!
I finally realized why my younger daughter keeps asking to help soak chana. She loves feeling the chickpeas in the water.
Sometimes, you are in for a surprise
My frozen frapuccino recipe was not a hit. I kept adding sugar, and it was not enough for the kids. They felt it was too bitter. That was a disappointment, both for me and the kids. It deprived me of an opportunity to prove my superiority to the Starbucks drink. One kid actually said, “The store one is better”. My heart broke a little!!
Never mind, they made it up for the baked french fries.
Ok, so I went into this recipe thinking, “Meh, they may like it.” They loved it!! That kid who hated the frapuccino declared that the French Fry “was sooooo goood” like a million times.They cleaned out my entire batch. Yay!! Haha…I can feel superior to McDonald’s now. Starbucks, just you wait!!
What a fun week it was!! The whole experience was great!! I thank the parents and the kids who helped make the cooking camp possible. Currently week 2 of my camp is ongoing.
Once all my fundraising is over, I will be back on the recipes bandwagon. Until then, happy summer and happy cooking, Y’all!!
Post your comments below on your experiences cooking with children. Can’t wait to hear about it!!