Happiness

Kitchen Plan for KidsAllowing young kids to play with kitchen tools can be a great sensory experience as well as encourage interest and excitement about cooking and eating. And it can give you a few minutes in the kitchen to get some meal preparation done without a toddler clinging to your legs… priceless!

 

Kitchen Play Activity 1:

Materials

  • 2 or 4 cup liquid measuring cup (approximately half full of water)
  • Muffin tin
  • Turkey baster
  • Water
  • Cookie sheet

 

Directions

Fill the measuring cup with about 2 cups of water. Place all of the materials in the cookie sheet and watch your child do some creative water play as they move water into the muffin tin. Kids love to pour and this gives them some good, not-too-messy practice too! Pretty soon they will be pouring their own drinks, which one mom told me is “life-changing”!

 

Kitchen Play Activity 2:

Materials

  • Rice, pasta or beans, uncooked 
  • Stacking measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Cookie sheet or large bin

Directions
Place all utensils and materials inside the cookie sheet or bin. Add the rice, pasta or beans. I use about 2 cups worth but if you’re willing to clean up more, then have at it! Watch as your child does some creative kids play by moving different materials to different places. This is also a fun way for children to learn math concepts as they pour the food into different sized containers.

 

Steamed Clams Recipe for KidsSometimes a fun family activity has many other benefits. We just experienced such an event when we went clam digging!

Most importantly, the kids loved it and it’s so great to have them see where their food comes from and be a part of the whole process of harvesting, cooking and eating. Additionally, this fun summer weekend activity promotes getting outside, being curious, and eating a healthy food!

Even if you skip the digging part, eating clams is an adventure in itself. Trying new, different foods builds kids palates as well as their confidence. Tasting a new food can be scary and overcoming that fear shows children that they are able to step out of their comfort zone and try new things. It’s also a lot of fun having to dig your food out of a shell at the dinner table. To top it off, it’s even nutritious, offering a good source of protein, iron and vitamin B12.

While I’ve only dug for clams a couple of times, I’ve been steaming them for years – such an easy, yet impressive food! For a steaming clams recipe, I use what I have on hand as the the recipe is very flexible - you can substitute different herbs, or use beer or vodka as the liquid – experiment to find your family’s favorite combo!

Steamed Clams

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds live hardshell clams
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2/3 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)

Directions:

  1. Scrub the clams with a brush under running water.
  2. Place all ingredients into a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat, uncovered.
  3. As soon as it comes to a boil, cover and boil until all clams are open (about 3-4 minutes), shaking the pot occasionally.
  4. Discard any clams that do not open. 
  5. Serve with crusty bread for dipping in the awesome broth!

 

Chess for Kids Fun GamesSometimes the oldest games can be the best. Chess has been around for approximately 1500 years and is enjoyed worldwide. But Chess is more than just a game. Chess provides many benefits to the children who take it on. Consider what it takes to play the game. Concentration. Focus. Recognition of patterns. Patience. Planning. Learning. The list goes on.

Research has also been conducted that further proves the benefits of Chess to children’s development.

For some parents the idea of teaching Chess to their children is daunting as it is a hard game to learn! However, there are many resources available, such as:

  • Online
  • Chess Clubs
  • School

If you are looking for an online resource for your child, check out: www.chesskid.com

If you choose to look for a local Chess Club, your best option is to simply Google for a local kids chess club. For example, a search for “Seattle chess club for kids” turns up several pages worth of options. One such option happens to be Chess 4 Life at www.chess4life.com.

Chess 4 Life’s mission is “Teaching Life Skills Through Chess” (www.chess4life.com). It is hard to find an organization with a better mission than that! Chess 4 Life

How old should your child be before they begin learning Chess? Of course if your child's introduction to Chess is through school, they will typically be older. Many grade schools do not have chess clubs or chess instruction but by the time middle school rolls around, chess is prevalent.

As for how young your child can be, introduction to the game can come as young as four or five year’s old. It is more difficult for kids this young to focus on learning the game, but that also happens to be one of the benefits of being taught the game.

Kidamentals is consistently looking for fun games and activities that promote healthy habits, education, and happiness. Clearly, Chess meets the criteria to be a recommended activity for you to consider for your child.

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