summer recipes for kids

cookie_barDiane's Ooeey Gooey Cookie Bars

It's summer so go ahead and splurge! This is a very sweet treat. It’s a cross between a brownie and a cookie.

If you're packing up a picnic these are perfect, or if you're bringing desert to pass around the campfire, make a double batch because they will be gone in a jiffy!

Ingredients for a single batch:

  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup any of the following: semi-sweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, butterscotch morsels, M & M’s, or Reese’s Pieces

Friends have added the following because they are nutty over nuts. If you are too, you can add ½ cup any of the following: walnuts, pecans, almonds, or peanuts.

Hopefully you will enjoy this “Gotta have another one!” dessert!


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

2. Measure 1 cup sifted flour. Add baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift again. Add 1/2 cup chopped nuts. (If you are going to put them in.) Mix well and set aside.

3. Melt 1/3 cup butter. Add 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar and mix well. If shortening is used, add 1 tablespoon hot water. Cool slightly.

4. Add egg (beaten) and vanilla. Blend well. Add flour mixture, a little at a time, mixing well.

5.  Mix the chocolate chips or whatever.

6.  Spray pan heavily so that these won’t stick.

7. Spread in 9x13 inch pan. (double recipe.) Smaller pan for single recipe.

8.  Bake for 35 minutes (for doubled recipe.) Will be crispy outside chewy inside. (25 minutes for a single recipe, but ovens vary so check doneness with a toothpick.)

9. Let cool and then cut into bars.

10. Can serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top as the perfect end for a super summer meal. 


firecrackers, cooking with kids in JulyCrunchy Firecrackers:

For a fun snack to make with your little ones try this sweet & salty treat.


  •  a bag of fat pretzel rods
  • 1 cup of white chocolate morsels 
  • 1tablespoon of Crisco
  •  red sugar or red Jell-O


  1. Melt chocolate and Crisco in a double pot.
  2. Dip pretzel rods half way into the chocolate and swirl them around so that they get covered.
  3. Hold in the air so that they dry a bit.
  4. Dip the tips into red sugar or red Jell-O
  5. Lay on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper.
  6. Allow to sit for 10 minutes then "Happy 4th of July!" Crunch-Munch-Crunch


fried_ice_cream, cooking with kids, summer recipes for kids, kids in the kitchen FRIED ICE CREAM:

I was surfing the net to see if I could find something on the extraordinary side that I could post a link to, and this fit the bill. 

So if you're into doing something amazing to wow your children with, try making a weird recipe, like frying something that melts!

Click on the link to view the video to see how easy this Japanese restaurant makes Tempura Fried Ice Cream look, then see if you want to give it a whirl.  I haven't had time, but it's on my list of things to do before summer's over! Let me know if you had fun!

watermelon shark carving, cooking with kids, summer recipeswatermelon shark, carving watermelons, birthday party ideas, summer birthday party idea, cooking with kids, recipes for kids, summer fun ideasMy final woo-hoo is a shark watermelon carving. Click on the link to see the National Watermelon Promotional carvings.  I thought they were pretty awesome!

I will be making the shark for my grandson's 6th birthday next week. (Next week's note: See photos of my grand accomplishment!)

I also loved the turtle and teapot, but he's a boy and I just thought a shark would be "way cool!" I'll let you know. 

There's some awesome "rosette" carved watermelons at this link.  Amazing what people can do with a watermelon.

If you want some tips on how to carve a watermelon shark or hedgehogAny Time Fun has a "how to" video. I sure hope I can make mine as quick as this guy does!

He sure makes it look easy! Click on the link to view it!


Well Nana did it.  She carved her 1st watermelon!  It's lucky I did this on Friday night as there would have been no time to whip this together on Saturday morning before the birthday party. 

Plan on an hour to do this project and buy TWO watermelons.  If your watermelon "guts" look anything like mine when you reach into the cavity of your shark and start "scooping" things out, you will NOT want to be serving those to guests!

summer birthday party ideas, summer birthday party center pieces, cooking with kids, recipes for kids, summer recipes for kids, watermelon carving, shark watermelonI had to run out Saturday morning to get another melon and cut those pieces into nice square chunks.  If you are nuts about using a melon baller go for it.  I'm into quick and easy after carving a shark. 

Doing the teeth was my favorite part.  The insides of the first watermelon did not go to waste.  I plopped them into a bowl and my husband, puppy and I will be enjoying those. 

I arranged "Wild-Berry" blue Jell-O jiggler squares (the ocean) that I  sprinkled with red Sweedish fish on the front of the glass tray and then heaped on fresh cut strawberries sprinkled with blue berries on the back of the tray.  I even hung a Sweedish fish from "Sharkie's" tooth!  It looked adorable and was a huge hit at the party.

Jeremiah's guests loved the look AND the ingredients!  The shark also went with the pool party swim theme he had going on in their front yard. All that was missing was the Jaws music. 

Until next time...bon appetit!

Summer Reading Fun!

July books to read, summer readingIf you haven't checked out the main blog and heard about LiveBinders you might want to give it a "look see". 

I discovered it yesterday and had a nice time perusing other people's binders filled with wonderful suggestions of what they found were helpful websites.

summer reading fun, July books for kidsOne mom put together a lovely binder filled with summer reading tips.  (A Fabulous Find!) 

So if you're looking for some super suggestions for your little ones click on the link and check out her beautiful summer reading binder

My fondest memory of summer is time spent with my grandma Lydia up north at her cabin in Eagle River Wisconsin. 

One of the fun things we used to do was pick raspberries.  Grama said we had to sing songs loudly and stomp around so that we'd scare away any black bears that might be hungry. 

We never saw any, so we must have done a good job.  Even tho' we brought along pails, we rarely had anything left to tote home, as we had a hard time not eating the delicious red ripe berries that literally plopped into our hands when we touched the prickly branches. 

jamberry, books of the month for July, summer reading for kids, good books for July for kidsThus, my book pick for this month is Up North at the Cabin, although, another cute book you could read that has to do with berries is Jamberry by Bruce Degen!


The Gist:

 A young girl goes up to her grandparents cabin to spend some time with them during the summer. 

Why I LOVE It:

Chall conjures up special thoughts of my favorite childhood memories, and although she is writing about a lake in Minnesota it could be a cabin located just about anywhere and certainly "painted pictures" in my mind of special summers up north in Wisconsin. 

Marsha Wilson Chall, Up North at the Cabin, summer reading, July books for kidsHer adept use of language brings to life the local flora and fauna as viewed through the eyes of a young city girl..."a moose stands like a house on stilts..." and "cabins are built with logs like pretzels."  There is no real story line, you just flow through this young vacationer's sweet summer as she baits her fishing pole with "peanut butter and worm sandwiches", canoes "through the wilderness" seeming to hear the drums of the long since silenced Indian drums or thrills at slicing through the "silver waves" while waterskiing. 

The textured oil paintings by Steve Johnson add to the lazy-hazy days of summer, suggesting past and shadowed memories, a recollection of quiet times and the mysteries deep within the cool woods that will warm her when "frosted windows cloud the sun."  All of this happily takes you into the book, especially if you too have enjoyed and savored these same special moments as I have. 

The other reason I love it, is my daughter Kelli bought me this book while she was on a class trip. 

Photo of Marsha Wilson Chall compliments of her website. Click on the link to check it out.

summer reading fun, july books for kids, july activities for kidsStorytelling Tips:

Before you begin the story,  tell the children to close their eyes and picture their favorite place to go for the summer.  Then have them open their eyes and toss a beach ball or some other summery object and whoever is holding it gets to share their favorite place to go.

Show a map of the United States and ask the students where their state is.  Now ask them if anyone knows where Minnesota is, then show them where the state is and tell them a little bit about it. 

Ask the children what they think "sunnies" are on the page that's across from the picture where the family is eating.  I thought the author was referring to eggs sunny side up, but she contacted me and told me that they are sunfish!

The paintings are just lovely in this book.  Choose 3 to 5 and ask the children which is their favorite and why they chose it.  My personal favorite is the one where the girl is on the dock in her bathing suit. She is looking out at the sparkling water.  I often did that as a little girl.  I love the way the sun shines like diamonds glittering on the water. 

Ask for a show of hands to see how many children have gone to a cabin or a lake. You can graph these results as well as several other things in the book.  Click on the link for the graphs.

magic tricks, summer reading for july, july books for kids, july activities for kids, fun activities for summer for childrenMagic Tricks:

Using a change bag, I show the children that it is empty.  I pass out several worms.  I ask them what they think will come out of the bag.  We say the magic words: Happy summer vacation! or Up North at the Cabin and I produce a fish puppet that helps me do whatever I want him to do like introduce the story, or review parts of the book etc.

Minnesota is known for the loons that cry out with their haunting calls especially in the evening.  I bought one of the Audubon stuffed birds that make bird sounds.  I put it in my Red Box or you can also use a duck pan.

I show the children that the box/pan is empty, I sprinkle in some silver glitter, shut the box/put the lid on; we all call out like a loon and then I produce the stuffed bird who answers our call when I squeeze it.

Writing Extension:

Make an Our Summer Class Book where your students trace and complete the sentences: My favorite place to go for the summer is... and My favorite thing to do during the summer is... Click on the link to view/print a copy to make with your class/child.

summer art project, july reading, july books, summer fun, activities for summer for kidsArt Project: Run off a copy of my master of a log cabin.  Make a sample so that you can show your students how to cut the door so that it opens and shuts. 

To make it more of keepsake, take a photo of your students wearing summer attire, print them off and have them glue "themselves" inside the cabin, coming out of the door. 

Students should write "_____________'s cabin" on the line above the door.  If you want, you can have children glue skinny pretzel sticks to the lines on their cabin as the simile described cabins in the story.  

Click on the link to view/print the log cabin pattern.

Skill Sheets: I've designed 6 fun skill sheets that incorporate different standards and skill levels, themed around the story.  Click on the link to view/print them.

Bibliography: Sorry there is no bibliography for July.  I haven't taught summer school for a while now, but do check the awesome binder mentioned above for some great summer selections!

Whatever you're reading this summer I hope you have a relaxing time doing it!

Be sure and check out the FREE Easy Readers for July in the article that follows.

ice_cream_sandwich, cooking with kids, fun recipes for summer

Ice Cream Sandwiches:

In this crisis-time economy and to try and make better nutritious snacks than the packaged kind offers, have fun making ice cream sandwiches with your kids. 

This is an especially cool activity for June. {Pun intended :-) }  

Oatmeal cookies work well, but you can pick a large sugar cookie too, and if your kids really love peanut butter go with peanut butter cookies.

Sam's Club also sells a nice variety of M&M "monster" cookies, chocolate chip, oatmeal  and peanut butter cookies together if you want to make an assortment. 


  • 1 cup vanilla frozen yogurt (Lowfat if you want to be heart-healthy).
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 8 large round cookies
  1. Soften the yogurt and mix with the peanut butter.
  2. Freeze until firm.
  3. Spread on 4 of the cookies.
  4. Put other 4 cookies on the top to make a sandwich.
  5. Put each one into a Ziploc freezer Baggie.


cantaloupe, frozen fruit pops, fun recipes for the summer, cooking with kidsFrozen Fruit Pops:

Quench your kids thirst in a fruity fun way by giving them chunks of frozen fruit on mini-Popsicle sticks.  You can buy a package of 100 at most craft and Dollar Stores.

Buy a watermelon, honeydew melon and/or cantaloupe and cut up nice size chunks of fruit.  Insert a mini-Popsicle stick.

Lay the fruit on a sheet of wax paper that's been put on a paper plate. Cover with freezer wrap and pop into the freezer. Freeze 'til firm; a frozen fruity - sweet treat so good for them to eat!

banana_blast, cooking with kids, fun recipes for kids for the summerBanana Blast:


  • 6 bananas
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 drop of vanilla extract


  1. Peel bananas
  2. Wrap in freezer wrap and freeze until firm.
  3. Cut in half and put in blender.
  4. Add milk and vanilla and blend until creamy.
  5. Serve in ice cream dishes, custard cups or small bowls with spoons.


shrimp_salad, cooking with kids, fun recipes for the summer, Diane's Shrimp Salad:

I just finished whipping some together this week.  My husband and I love eating this salad during the spring and summer months.  

It's great for a quick lunch as an entire meal and fun to take to a pot luck or picnic.

This one is copyrighted so if you use it please give or Diane Henderson credit


  • 1bag of medium sized frozen cooked shrimp (30-40 in a bag).
  • 1 pkg of celery
  • 2 tbs parsley flakes
  • 2 tbs dried Ranch Dressing
  • 1/8th teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/8th teaspoon dill
  • 1 tbs caraway seeds
  • 2-3 tbs Helman's real mayo ( You can add more if you like it creamier.  We are trying to cut calories. )
  • 1/2 teaspoon creamed horseradish if you like some kick.
  • 1 can of large black pitted olives
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 sunflower seeds


  1. Wash hands.
  2. Wash and thaw out the shrimp.
  3. Cut the shrimp into 1/3rds.
  4. Put in a large bowl.
  5. Sprinkle the dry Ranch dressing on the shrimp and blend with your fingers.
  6. Add the celery seed, caraway seeds, dill and parsley flakes.
  7. Add the mayo and horseradish. 
  8. Add the sunflower seeds. 
  9. Wash and dice up the stalks of celery.  ( I like to cut a stalk length wise and then dice so that the pieces are smaller.)
  10. Add to the bowl. 
  11. Drain olives. 
  12. Slice into 1/3rds. 
  13. Add to the bowl.
  14. Add the carrots
  15. Stir 'til blended well. 
  16. Chill in fridge.
  17. Serve in small bowls.
I usually make a double batch and use two bags of shrimp.  We LOVE LOVE LOVE eating this all summer.  Adjust seasonings and mayo to your taste buds.  Enjoy!

beach party for end of the school year, fun school snacks for the end of the year, cooking with kids, fun recipes for kids for the summerIf you're eating this as a meal it's nice to have some Rye Crisp crackers with it. Yummy!

For a few more fun ideas be sure and check out the cute Beach Party snacks that Katja from the Netherlands sent in that were posted on the main blog! Click on the link to go there.

Whatever you're whipping up with your wee ones this June I hope it is summer-super cool!

As always, I'd enjoy hearing from you!  and if you use our recipes please be considerate and link to our page. Thanks!