These fun kids’ crafts are even better since they’re edible—just the thing for fighting boredom (and hangry tantrums too). We usually rely on them all summer, but they’re just as perfect the rest of the year, especially now that so many kids are stuck at home with schools closed off-schedule.
Does the whiny pitch of “I’m booooored,” fill you with dread? You could be like my dad and answer with “Well, I’ve got some chores for you to do. Are you still bored?” and that solved that. Or you can take on the responsibility of entertaining your child 24/7. There’s a middle ground, of course. And some of it lies in the kitchen, where you can use food crafts to occupy your children, rather than the TV or whatever digital technology you use.
Try some of these tips. This food might not be the healthiest, but it’s not healthy for them when you lose your temper, either. You know what else is healthy? Fun. Relaxing a little. And engaging in new activities that require thinking in different ways. You can achieve all these virtues in one edible craft idea. Go ahead, see what happens.
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Use wafer cookies, pretzels, and Rolo candies to make these adorable trucks—and then devour them, if you can bear to. Get the Easy Edible Construction Trucks recipe.
Forgive us this one healthy idea. You can still use jelly beans or M&Ms if you insist, but this Healthy Candy Bracelets recipe suggests stringing dried fruit, yogurt-covered raisins, and Cheerios together for a more nutritious twist on the classic candy necklace. You can also go the full meal route as shown above, with fresh fruit, cheese, and meat sticks (all-natural, of course). You could end up with a 24-carrot design.
This is actually pretty healthy too. Use yogurt or sour cream as the base and spices or brightly colored juices for pigment. Your toddler can play with the paints by smearing them all over their highchair tray and face, and your older children can paint actual pictures, or modern abstract art if that’s their thing. Get the Edible Finger Paint recipe.
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You can also try blending dehydrated fruit into vibrant powders to color your paints.
I (almost) want to make this for myself! So much better than the nontoxic store-bought play dough. Sure, your kid won’t be poisoned from it, but this stuff is actual food, although very sugary food. Get the Edible Frosting Play Dough recipe, or the Edible Marshmallow Play Dough recipe.
5. Edible Slime
If Play Dough seems rather quaint and just doesn’t cut it these days, try an edible slime recipe instead.
Most of these activities have to do with art, but science is important too. A couple of this recipe’s items are not edible, but the others are. Your kid can learn about density, and how different liquids have different weights. Cool. (For a fully edible—well, drinkable—version, try this Fibonacci Lemonade recipe.) Get the Rainbow Jar recipe.
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A little gel food coloring, granulated white sugar, white bread, and paint brushes do can provide a novel way to have fun that regular painting can’t. Get the Rainbow Bread Painting recipe.
In the same realm of bread-as-canvas, you can let kids make flower patches or even cute animals on their toast with sliced fruit or veggies—sort of like edible Colorforms. Freehand a very veggie flower garden like the one above, or get an animal-themed Toast Art recipe.
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9. Tie-Dye Eggs
They’ve gotta get some protein in, so make hard boiled eggs and combine the arts of Chinese tea eggs and Easter egg dyeing for these eye-catching snacks. Call them dragon eggs or dinosaur eggs if it’ll help entice the kiddos. Get the Tie-Dye Egg recipe.
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OK, so we’re back to basically pure sugar, but these are definitely a fun project that kids will enjoy making (from Jell-O, lemon-lime soda, and powdered sugar), playing with afterward, and then eventually eating. Get the Edible Unicorn Horn recipe. And if you have more advanced—and patient—children to entertain, make a whole unicorn cake!
Speaking of sugar, kids also love ice cream, but you’re not going to let them mess with your precious ice cream maker, nor would that probably be much fun for them. But let them make ice cream in a bag and they’ll get multiple benefits: a bit of a workout, a lesson in culinary science, and a frozen treat in the bargain.
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Not that kind of edible insects—though if your kids like snacking on crickets, count your blessings (as long as they’re eating bugs intended to be consumed, that is). These adorable bug-shaped snacks are made from veggies, cream cheese, and all-natural deli meats and are a great way to get kids involved in the kitchen and excited about eating healthy food. Get the Veggie Bug Snacks recipe.
No kid will turn down grilled cheese, but they might be even more excited when it oozes all the colors of the rainbow. A little food coloring and shredded mozzarella are all you need to make the magic happen, and kids can help tint the cheese in their favorite shades. Get the Rainbow Grilled Cheese recipe.
For more cooking activities you can do with kids, see our favorite after-school baking projects, and consider trying Raddish, a meal kit cooking club geared to children. Plus, check out these inspirational cookbooks for kids and the best kids’ kitchen tools for your budding chef.
Header image courtesy of Daryna Kossar / 500px Prime / Getty Images