Eight Quick & Easy Snacks that Preschoolers and Young Children Can Make Themselves
Tired of feeding your classroom the same snack, or prepackaged junk? Start making snack time fun again! Check out these snacks that not only taste good, but are healthy and fun for little hands to prepare. Not a teacher? No problem, make these snacks at home with little ones for a fun afternoon activity:
1. Fruit-in-a-Cup Popsicles
Put out bowls of fresh and frozen fruit, with spoons, and let each child fill a small Dixie cup with a mix of fruit. Fill the cup with water and add a popsicle stick. Freeze it overnight. Peel off the cup and eat the popsicle.
2. Cookie Cutter Fruit Fun
Use cookie cutters to punch out shapes with large fruit, like a giant piece of watermelon. If you want, you can also use popsicle sticks and turn them into popsicles. This is great for motor skill development, too!
Food is always more fun if you get to dip it in something! Give each child a small bowl and let them spoon in plain, unflavored yogurt. Pass around some cinnamon and let them sprinkle some in gently. Then pour in a bit of maple syrup. Mix, mix, mix! Put out fruit and let chidren dip any type of fruit in the dip.
4. Taste the Rainbow
Put out bowls of fruit and vegetables in all different colors of the rainbow and let kids make their own rainbow snack. This is a great way to learn and talk about colors. It's also a great discussion starter for meal and snack time to introduce the idea of "eating the rainbow" and the benefits of eating a varied and colorful diet.
A Rainbow of Fruit: strawberries, raspberries, oranges, bananas, kiwis, grapes, blueberries.
A Rainbow of Vegetables: cherry tomatoes, red peppers, orange peppers, carrots, yellow peppers, green peppers, raw broccoli, cucumbers, snap peas, peas.
For extra fun, mix up fruit and veggies!
5. Make Your Own Skewers
Give each child fruits/vegetables and skewer sticks and let them make their own skewers!
You can make rainbow fruit skewers or fun heart-shaped skewers with strawberries and watermelon. Celebrate a color! Here's an example of a green-themed skewer. And don't forget about veggie skewers! Don't be afraid to put out herbs, like fresh basil, and olives, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes.
For skewer sticks without sharp points, check out these cupcake sticks.
6. Make Food art…and Eat It!
Give each child a few pieces of cucumber, pepper and tomato and let them make shapes, faces and designs! Here are a few ideas for inspiration! All of these images were made using 4 slices of cucumber, 4 cherry tomatoes and 2 pieces of red bell pepper.
This is a great activity to encourage creativity - how many shapes and designs can you make!? You can also create images, like the ones on this page, and encourage children to replicate the order and sequence.
7. Punch Out Veggie Shapes
Give children sliced carrots, cucumbers and pieces of peppers, and some vegetable cutters. Let them punch out their own shapes with the veggie cutters.
You can buy six of these stainless steel vegetable cutters for $10.
8. Become a Food Critic
Give each child a “tasting” plate with lots of SMALL bites of different foods. Let them taste and try as they wish. Ask them to describe what they are eating - encourage them to go beyond "yummy" and find new words that describe the food. Have them rate the foods and come up with class favorites. They can take turns being the "Head Food Critic," and take the first taste of a new food. Not only is this a great vocabulary builder, but it's also a great way to encourage them to try new foods. Use plates with lots of sections, like muffin tins, ice cube trays or give each child a big plate with food in small piles. You can focus on a mix of fruits and veggies, and offer some familiar ones as well as some new and unusal ones, like fennel, jicama and pomegrante seeds.