Priceless Play In The Kitchen

Time spent in the kitchen with your kids is priceless. A little one-on-one time with an opportunity to teach them all sorts of subjects, from nutrition to math to culture, even architecture -- all the while putting food on the table. Don’t believe me? Try these cooking activities with your kids and you’ll see what I mean.

Build Olive Houses: Grab a box of toothpicks and a can of California Ripe Olives. Build shapes, houses and towers by connecting olives together with toothpicks as if they are Tinker Toys. When the game gets old, snack is ready to be served.

Put a New Spin on Salad: If there’s one gadget every kids loves, it’s the salad spinner. Show your children how to wash lettuce in a large bowl, then spin dry. Washed lettuce keeps crisp rolled in paper towels and sealed in airtight baggies. If dinner is coming up, continue the fun by allowing your kids to pick and choose ingredients to fill out the bowl. Other raw veggies will do, but don’t forget California Ripe Olives, slivered almonds, shredded cheese and crumbled bacon which add tons of kid appeal. Remember, the more they prepare, the more likely they’ll eat. Or have them spin the greens, for a light dinner or lunch of Mendocino Mixed Salad.

Bake Bread: Follow a simple recipe with your child, allowing them to mix, measure and knead along the way. Take time to make scientific observations. For instance, how does the dough change? How does it feel before and after adding water? How long does it take to rise? Bake in loaves or individual rolls and look forward to a spirited conversation about everything you learned when you break bread at the dinner table. If you'd like to get an early jump on tomorrow’s breakfast, perhaps you’d like to start with this recipe for Top of the Morning Muffins.