Awesome Ways to Keep Kids Busy During the Holidays

These projects won't make YOU nuts either. Promise.

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Key Words: Pancakes, Bacon, Confectioner’s Sugar, Heavy Cream, Vanilla Extract, Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Nutmeg, Strawberries, Maple Syrup, Chocolate Chips, Whole Milk, Eggs

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Matt Armendariz, Copyright 2015

Winter break comes but once a year — but if you don't play your cards right, it can feel never-ending (for you and the kids). Keep your little ones entertained between now and the new year with fun food-themed projects that'll have you looking more like Mary Poppins and less like the Grinch.

Even if the kids aren't lucky enough to wake up to fresh snow during break, they can still build their very own snowmen. Snowman Pancakes with Bacon Scarves are sure to put a smile on everyone's face at the breakfast table. Just don't forget the warm maple syrup to drizzle over the sweet chocolate buttons.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2015

Matt Armendariz, 2015

Hot chocolate is a pretty big treat weekend treat in our house, and it becomes infinitely better when served with marshmallows. (Really, all I have to do is offer them marshmallows and they're ecstatic. Can they stay 6 forever?) If your kids are anything like mine, imagine their excitement when you tell them they can decorate gingerbread cookies, have hot chocolate and turn it into a bubbling marshmallow tub for their gingerbread people.

FNK CLASSIC SUGAR COOKIES Food Network Kitchen Food Network Allpurpose Flour, Baking Powder, Fine Salt, Superfine Sugar, Unsalted Butter, Egg, Vanilla Extract, Confectioners’ Sugar, Meringue Powder, Food Coloring, Sprinkles, Cookie Cutters

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

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

Speaking of cookies, invite the kids into the kitchen for a fun afternoon of decorating sugar cookies. These classic treats are crispy on the outside yet soft on the inside, and they taste great no matter how they're decorated. So let the kids pick their favorite shapes, then sit back and watch as they put their creativity to work.

KIDS CAN MAKE: CHEESE STRAWS Food Network Kitchen Food Network Frozen Puff Pastry, Flour, Egg, Asiago Cheese

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

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

Savory cheese straws are great for kids (and parents!) who need a break from the sugar rush of the holidays, and they also make excellent gifts, should you need a few more of those. This four-ingredient recipe is perfect for getting both big and little kids involved in the kitchen; all ages can help roll and twist the dough and even sprinkle on the cheese.

Food Network Kitchen’s Mini Pizza

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Matt Armendariz, Copyright 2015

Let the kids help with dinner and you won't regret it, I swear. My kids love it when I tell them they can get the stool out (she's letting us climb things — awesome!) and make their own pizzas (we're in charge of what we're eating for once, YES!). Teach them to roll out the dough for snowman pizzas, then let them add their favorite toppings.

Today marks the first of the 16 CONSECUTIVE DAYS my kids won't be going to school. And that means only one thing: snacks. There will be morning snacks, afternoon snacks, I-just-finished-my-dinner-and-now-I-want-to-eat-again snacks, you name it.

Trisha Yearwood's Power Balls are foolproof and delicious — and my kids never pass up a chance to pulse something in the food processor. After you've mixed the ingredients, have the kids form the power balls with their (clean) hands. Better yet, make a double batch and you'll keep them busy for even longer!

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Matt Armendariz, Copyright 2015

Why should those adorable snowmen have all the fun? We've got lions and owls and reindeer, oh, my, the kids can actually make a week's worth of pancake animals that promise to make breakfast extra fun.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz

And if all else fails, I've got two words for you: Play. Dough. Armed with marshmallows and just a few pantry staples, you're only minutes away from hours of fun. You got this! It's only winter break.

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