9 Fun Food Things to Do on a School Night (slideshow)
Smoothie Coloring Books
Perfect for the kindergarten crowd, smoothies are an excellent way to start learning about colors. Grab a bunch of ingredients (standards are orange juice, assorted berries, tropical fruits, and bananas) and lay them out on the counter. Be sure to add in some fun green choices like spinach or kale. Then, let your little one get to whipping and experimenting with color. Have them try to guess what color they will make when they mix different fruits. Try blueberries and raspberries for a striking violet hue. Toss in a little spinach with a mango or banana for a vibrant green. Of course, taste-testing is a must.
The Great Brownie Relay
Doing math is even more fun when it involves a yummy treat at the end. A brownie relay will not only give you the chance to get cooking with the kids, it will also give them an opportunity to brush up on their fractions, decimals, and addition skills. Take your favorite brownie recipe and divide it into steps. Write the steps on different index cards. Be sure to take the ingredients and break them into math problems (think 1/2 plus 1/4 equals how many cups of sugar?). Have your little one sort through the problems and then complete the step listed. The trick is to make math fun through baking. They’ll be super happy with their tasty results and will feel a huge sense of accomplishment
This is a fun way to get the entire family involved in dinner. Grab some crusty loaves of bread, slice them up, and lay them out on the table with a ton of sandwich ingredients, both traditional and crazy. Then, everyone makes their own sandwich. Afterward, awards are presented for different categories. Who had the most unusual sandwich? Which person used mustard the most creatively? Who turned out the most traditional sandwich? The kiddies will love this hands-on approach to dinner as well as the opportunity to dictate the meal for a change.
The Bean Game
Sometimes, going with simplicity is best. And the bean game is as classic as it gets. Split into teams of two. Lay a row of beans at one end of the room and set straws next to them. To start, one player from each team must run over to the straw and then use it to suck up the bean. They must run back to the other side with their bean and place it in a bowl or bucket. Each player takes turns with the straw and bean challenge until all of the beans are gone. The team to get all of their beans in the bucket first, wins! Of course, you can go crazy by using jelly beans or brightly colored straws for an extra element of fun.
Rainbow Colored Meals
Have you ever tried the Rainbow Food Challenge? Participants eat the colors of the rainbow for a week, only partaking in red foods one day, green another, and so on until they’ve tried every color of the rainbow. It sounds easy, but try to think of at least six naturally blue foods. There aren’t many, right? So instead, rainbow color your meals! Kids flip for this one. Try it with pasta. Line up six gallon-sized zip-top bags and put 20 drops of food coloring and 2 tablespoons of water in each bag. Cook a pound of pasta to al dente then separate it into the six bags. Let it soak for a minute or two to absorb all the color and then one by one, rinse the pasta under cold water. Voilà! Rainbow-colored pasta that will make the kids go nuts.
The Milk Trip
Milk is pretty drab, on the whole. But it can be made into a fun science experiment with only a few additional ingredients. See, very strange things happen to milk when you add in a touch of food coloring and a drop of liquid soap. Take a small bowl and fill it with 2 percent milk. Add one drop of four different colored food colorings. Place the drops close together at the center of the bowl. Then, grab a cotton swab and place a drop of liquid soap on the end of it. Place the soapy end to the colored milk and hold it there for 10 seconds. Watch as colors burst across the bowl! Experiment with different kinds of soap, different colors, and even different percentages of milk.
The Lemming Trick
Sometimes, as parents, we have an extraordinary opportunity to play fun pranks on our unsuspecting children. The lemming trick is just one of those pranks. Fill a mason jar with Mountain Dew and Pepsi, half and half. Add in raisins. The carbonation in the soda will cause the raisins to rise to the top of the jar, then sink back to the bottom, then rise again. The fun part is convincing your children that lemmings are living creatures. Take the story of the lemming and run with it. Then, when they are on the edge of their seat, put them over the edge by grabbing one and popping it in your mouth. Watch as they freak out in both disgust and absolute amazement before spilling the secret
Water Glass Musicals
If you’ve got a budding Beethoven in your family, water glass musicals are absolutely for you. It is an opportunity to show off your musical prowess. Grab a bunch of different wine glasses and fill with different amounts of water. Use a drop of water and run your finger along the rims of the glasses, creating different sounds. Once you perfect the art, try to play songs and have family members guess.
Rock Candy Fun
Rock candy is the epitome of kid-friendly treats. So make it at home! You’ll need two wooden skewers, two glass jars, 2 cups of water, 3 1/2 cups of sugar, and some food coloring. Grab your skewers and wet them then cover them in sugar. Let them dry and set them aside. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the sugar in, one cup at a time, letting it dissolve completely before adding another cup. Once all the sugar has dissolved, add in food coloring. Use a funnel and carefully pour the sugar into the jars. Then, grab your skewer and place it in the jar, 1 inch from the bottom. Use a clip to secure it and then, wait. And wait some more. It can take up to seven days for the crystals to really form. But it is a fun experiment for the kids who will love eating up the results!