The thing that I love about summer is the way my families pace changes, we ease up on lessons and find more time for adventures. The kids think our light load of lessons means they are getting away with something, but to be honest the change in pace often allows them to learn and practice skills differently than they would during the rest of the year. So even though summer inevitably changes the pace of life in our household, I think of it as a prime time to work on skills, routines and schedules that will smooth out our day to day routine all year round.
But, shhhhhh…. we don’t have to tell my kids that!
With four kids between the ages of 2-12 our daily life can be hectic and one place I need my kids to take more initiative is in planning and getting their own snacks. If left to their own devices, however, my kids are some what like a plague of locust and they will buzz through the kitchen consuming everything snack like in the first 48 hours post grocery shopping.
Creating a Family Snack Bar
My kids don’t intend to eat the kitchen bare it just kind of happens, someone eats all the crackers than somebody else eats the last 4 cheese sticks because there were no crackers left. I knew that there must be a way to help control our snack inventory without standing in the kitchen all day so I decided to spend some time this summer helping my kids create a family snack bar.
- We spent some time coming up with a list of snacks that were low prep (as the snack bar would not have a regular attendant).
- I cleared out a cabinet and a drawer in the fridge to dedicate to the snack bar.
- Stocking the snack bar was the fun part, we utilized some things that came prepackaged in individual servings such as Horizon’s Orange Super Squeeze and Mozzarella Cheese Sticks.
- We made our own packages of individual servings of things like crackers, pretzels, raisins, pre-washed veggies, cut up fresh fruit and homemade trail mix.
- To make things easy to keep track of we decided that everyone could have just one package of any one snack per day, helping to ensure that everyone would have a fair shot at their favorites. We also decided together on the the number of snack packages they could have each day (four for the bigger kids and six for the two year old).
BONUS -One surprising side effect of our family snack bar is that it is so much easier to predict how much food I need to buy for snacks. I am planning to have them begin rotating taking inventory and creating a shopping list for the snack bar (there is also plenty of room to work on more academic skills for a variety of ages such as counting, estimating, rounding, multiplying and dividing, graphing, reading and writing).
My hope is that this will extend into packing lunches for field trips and co-op, helping them become even more self-sufficient. My kids love dramatic play and this has been a fun way to work toward independence in the kitchen while feeding their imagination as well as their growing appetites!
Lorien Van Ness is the mother of four children ranging in age from toddler to tween, as well as, a freelance writer and regular contributor at Creative with Kids and Hands On As We Grow. Having worked with children from birth through adolescence in a professional capacity for more than 10 years, she enjoys helping families create meaningful experiences that foster strong relationships. She grabs any free moment she can to write about life, parenting, and everything in between.
This conversation is sponsored by Horizon. The opinions and text are all mine.