Why would you want to keep the kids busy during mealtime?  If your children are anything like mine, they are nearly bouncing off the walls by dinner time!  There are times when the kids are off from school and they need activities to keep them busy.   I plan on meals the children can help to prepare.

For lunch, I like to place a dish of celery stalks on the table and include bowls of different toppings.  Cream cheese, peanut butter or pimento spread works perfectly as the “filler” for your celery.  For toppings put out bowls of sunflower seeds, raisins, diced apple, crushed pineapple, shredded or diced cheese and granola.

Do your children like yogurt?  Place several flavors in bowls on the table.  For toppings, try thawed mixed berries, granola, coconut flakes, cereal and graham crackers.  For the main course use pita bread or flour tortillas.  Let the kids add shaved turkey or ham, tuna, cut pickles, black olives, shredded cheese, sliced eggs, lettuce and tomatoes.

What could be better for dinner than individual homemade pizzas?  If you don’t want to deal with making your own dough you can purchase small pre-made crust rounds.  Standard pizza toppings are wonderful choices, including black olives, pepperoni, pineapple, onions, green peppers and mushrooms.

Tacos or chili are great dishes to cook when you want your children involved with the preparation.  Older kids love to grate cheese, chop veggies and stir ground beef.  They can also measure spices and pour in cans of tomatoes or sauce.  Let the younger kids arrange bowls of toppings on the table or chop the lettuce with a butter knife.  If chili is too spicy for the young ones, simply add tomato sauce to ground beef for “kid chili.”

You can let the kids make dessert pizzas with cream cheese mixed with powdered sugar as the “sauce.”  Toppings can include fruit, M&M’s, coconut, skittles or gummi bears.  Yummy!

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