Here’s How I Keep my Kiddo Busy (and Learning) During School Breaks

Spoiler alert: We spend a lot of time in the kitchen!

664420980

664420980

happy family funny kids are preparing the dough, bake cookies in the kitchen

Photo by: evgenyatamanenko

evgenyatamanenko

Between superintendent’s conference days, holidays and a week-long recess for spring break, there are lots of days during late winter and early spring that school is closed. If you’ve got little ones then you already know that it doesn’t take long for boredom to set in – after the initial thrill of sleeping late and eating breakfast in pjs has worn off, most kids start to get a little stir-crazy. Once I notice that my daughter is running laps around the living room, I know that I’ve got an hour (tops) before full-blown cabin fever sets in.

Do I sometimes resort to electronics, letting her play video games for waaaaaay too long? Sure. It’s school break, after all! But I also make a point to plan a few fun (and secretly educational) activities that will keep her mind active and growing while school is out. These are some of our favorite things to do together.

As seen on The Food Network's, The Kitchen. Photo By Todd Plitt BSTV

Photo by: Todd Plitt

Todd Plitt

Science Experiments

Kids are curious about the world around them. Add magnets, motion or seemingly magical color changes and they’re bound to be mesmerized. Playing scientist is easy; You’ll find that lots of kitchen basics (like cereal, milk and liquid food color) can be used for simple, at-home experiments.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Healthy Eating

I love making these “bananimals” with my daughter. Besides being a super tasty mid-day snack, when we make them together, she has a chance to express her creativity and I get to talk to her about fueling our bodies with foods that will make us feel great – so that we can run faster, jump higher and climb all the way to the top of the jungle gym!

A Jar Snow Globe is displayed as seen on The Kitchen, Season 15.

Photo by: Jason DeCrow

Jason DeCrow

Arts and Crafts

Break out the hot glue gun – it's time for your kids to learn about art and design! This time of year, it’s fun to make snow globes. Help your little one glue their 3-dimensional design to the lid of a wide-mouth mason jar and the next day they can fill the jar with water, glitter and craft snow. Want a project that you can finish in one afternoon? Turn leftover party supplies into gigantic ice cream cone balloons instead!

FNK_GrandmasAnythingGoesStrata_H

FNK_GrandmasAnythingGoesStrata_H

Food Network Kitchen's Lessons from Grandma, Grandma's Anything Goes Strata for LESSONS FROM GRANDMA/MICROWAVE VEGGIES/CHICKEN SOUP, as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Renee Comet

Renee Comet

Family-Friendly Cooking

What could be better than a kid-friendly activity that helps you cross something off your to do list? That’s why I like to enlist my daughter’s help with meal prep. I always choose a recipe where “anything goes.” That gives her the chance to make some of the decisions (fun for her!) and lets me teach her about which substitutions work, and why. Depending on their age, your little ones can help with everything from buttering baking dishes to measuring, pouring and stirring ingredients.

Host Giada de Laurentiis' dish, S'mores Popcorn, as seen on Food Network’s Giada’s Holiday Handbook, Season 1.

Photo by: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Eddy Chen, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Watching Cooking Shows

The perfect way to end a day of educational fun? Make a big batch of sweet-and-salty s’mores popcorn and watch Food Network, of course! Whether you choose a cooking program, a game show or a competition you’ll find that your little ones get excited when they see the things they’ve learned about food and cooking throughout the day pop up on the television screen!

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