Summer is the season of late-night bonfires and pool parties, of colorful carnivals and state fairs – so many opportunities for fun! Along with the activities come sweet treats such as funnel cakes, ice cream cones, sticky cotton candy, and fire roasted marshmallows in ooey-gooey s’mores.
With all of these treats around, it’s easy for me to forget how much I enjoy a juicy, ripe peach or other fresh fruit . And I know this can be true for kids too. Here are a few ways to make fruit more exciting for your child (or your inner child) this summer.
Looking for a light snack or a tasty way to encourage your youngster to try different fruits? Try a Honey-Yogurt Fruit Dip paired with dippers like melon, grapes or strawberries. Need ideas for dessert? What about a dark chocolate dip, with toppings like shredded coconut, crushed nuts, sprinkles, or graham cracker crumbs. Kids can choose their favorite dipping fruits (mine are strawberries, pineapple, and granny smith apples), dive right into that chocolate, then sprinkle on their choice of topping. These can be eaten right away, or can be placed on a tray lined with parchment paper and put in the freezer for a different sort of treat. Which brings me to my next tip…
What makes frozen fruit more fun? Maybe it’s the texture: frozen bananas taste creamier, almost like ice cream. Frozen grapes are like little tiny popsicles you can pop right in, without ever worrying about a melting sticky mess. Maybe it’s the temperature: frozen orange wedges are more refreshing than the coldest glass of OJ. Frozen blueberries are little bursts of coolness on a hot summer’s day. For an easy way to amp up the fun and turn down the heat, give freezing fruit a try!
If you’re excited by the idea of frozen fruit, check out this recipe for Fresh Fruit Popsicles that you and the kids will love to make. They’re almost too pretty to eat! Almost.
Kids love to throw together ingredients to make magic potions and witches’ brew, while many adults prefer to follow a recipe. Where they come together is the blender. We all like to mix up ingredients and watch, as if by magic, a delicious new creation appear. There is no better tool for this than the blender, and no more perfect ingredient than fruit, which can be combined in an endless variety of smoothies. You may be surprised by how well some ingredients pair together. The best smoothie I ever had combined pineapple, kiwi and strawberries. So, go wild and try a crazy combination. Put four types of berries in your Triple Berry Smoothie (we promise, we won’t tell). Or don’t use any – use an apple instead! And don’t feel confined to only fruit. If you’re feeling green, and want to toss in some spinach or kale, that’s great too. The sky’s the limit when it comes to smoothies. If you prefer a roadmap, we’re here to help.
Want some excitement? Try some fun competition! Just like “Who do you think can get ready for bed faster, you or your sister?” provides results much more quickly than “All right, it’s time to get ready for bed”, enjoying fruit can be made into a game. Check out these silly rules for watermelon seed spitting competitions. Think about any fruits with seeds or small pits and create your own games and lasting memories.
Children love using their imaginations to create fun designs using fruits. Try laying out out a variety of fruits such as grapes, strawberries, slices of banana or apple or orange, whatever your child enjoys. Feel free to throw in some veggies for good measure. Provide toothpicks or peanut butter for connecting, raisins, mini chocolate chips, pretzels, almond slices, and so on for details, then just step back and watch them build. My much-loved creation was a monster, whose head was a star fruit, body an avocado and countless arms and legs were a combination of grapes, prunes, and blueberries. He was a sight to behold! Whether it’s animals, monsters, silly faces, or something entirely new, you’ll be amazed by the masterpieces they’ll create (and then devour!)
While they are working on their chef-d’oeuvre, add to the fun and see who can identify the fruits in these 12 riddles.
Summer is the perfect time to engage with fruit in fun ways, reaping lots of healthy benefits.