After a series of beautiful days filled with time at the playground, walks in the park, and outdoor excursions, seeing gray skies, clouds, and raindrops can be a disappointment for you and your kids. Just because it’s gloomy outside doesn’t mean it needs to stay that way inside your house. Instead of seeing the rain away, try some snacks and treats that are sure to give everyone a sunny disposition.
Start Dinner Early
Kids love to help prepare food, and studies have shown that children who are involved in dinner preparation are more likely to have better eating habits. Pull out a slow cooker, and let your little ones help to plan the menu. Easy, kid-friendly recipes like chicken nuggets or chicken pizza have ingredients you probably have in your pantry and will get your kids excited for dinner.
Cooking together is the perfect opportunity to blend learning and fun:
- Teach everyone about the importance of hand-washing and food safety. There are some outstanding resources to help guide your instructions and activities. From songs to crafts and activities, helping children learn about cleaning their hands and workspaces before, during and after food prep can set the stage for a lifetime of healthy habits.
- Give children age-appropriate tasks. While you handle any raw meat products, your younger children may enjoy adding in pre-measured spices or ingredients. Older children may want to measure the ingredients, and teens can help chop vegetables under your supervision.
- Disguise some schoolwork. At its core, cooking requires reading, math, and science. Let children read the recipes out loud, figure out the measurements, and learn about what happens when certain ingredients mix, like ice and salt or baking soda and vinegar.
- Make it fun and spend time bonding with your child. Ask your kids about their favorite foods, tell them about your childhood, and appreciate the time you have together.
Time for Fun
Sure, you could spend the day catching up on laundry while your kids catch up with their friends, or you fill the day with craft and activities that are sure to bring smiles, laughter and memories.
- Open a living room cinema. Pop some popcorn, bring out the blankets and find your favorite childhood movies to share with your kids.
- Set up a treasure hunt. Put clues in separate envelopes and hide them around the house. Each clue should lead to the next one, and whoever solves the clues first to find the last envelope wins a small treasure - toys, movie tickets, and candy are great options.
- Hold a karaoke contest, play an epic game of “I Spy,” or find some colorful crafts that can brighten up the day. There are plenty of recipes for edible playdough, use crackers for an action-packed game of bingo, or use marshmallows and toothpicks to build cities, animals or more.
Snacks and Lunch
Lunchtime doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. Kids love to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. While you’re stuck inside, whip up a mid-day mealtime makeover.
- Build a fort and set up a living room picnic. Make sandwiches into festive and fun shapes with cookie cutters. Cut up some fresh fruit to mix with lemonade, and bring out some John Wm. Macy’s CheeseSticks. Spread some nut butter or sun butter on celery and add some raisins to make ants-on-a-log. Create some veggie flowers, and let young children bring their favorite stuffed friends to join the fun.
- Set the table, light some candles and dress up for a mid-day dinner party. Bring out the fanciest dishes you’ll let your kids use, and incorporate John Wm. Macy’s CheeseSticks and CheeseCrisps into elegant meals that your diners will love. Jazz up kid-friendly favorites with Crunchy Cheesy Potatoes or CheeseSticks style lasagna.
- Create a make-your-own style lunch with a taco bar or mini pizzas. For a taco treat, brown and season your favorite meat or protein source, and then slice some lettuce, peppers, onions and other veggies. Put each ingredient, along with cheese, salsa and sour cream in separate bowls, and let kids load up their tortillas. Tortillas, flatbreads or English muffins can serve as the crust for personalized mini-pizzas. Set up meats like ground beef, pepperoni, chicken or sausage, and your favorite pizza toppings. After spreading some sauce on your crust, load your pizza up, cover with cheese, and bake.
Finding new and interactive indoor activities to keep your kids active is the best way to curb tantrums and avoid hearing, “I’m bored,” all day. Start thinking through some ideas now and stock up on indoor fun ingredients - like craft supplies and John Wm. Macy snacks - so that you’re not dreading the next dreary day.
Thanks for reading our blog. If you would like to try some of our gourmet cheese snacks, please click here.