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Cooking with Young Children: Recipes with Seasonal Summer Produce

Jun 29, 2023    |   Healthy Snacks & RecipesSummer

One of the great benefits of summertime, is the wide variety of fresh and nutritious produce that is in season. From juicy strawberries to colorful melons, there are so many fun fruits and vegetables to enjoy with the little ones in your care! And, inviting children to be a part of the cooking process is a great way to support early development while getting little ones excited about eating healthy meals!

Benefits of Cooking with Children

Participating in the process of cooking is good for children’s health, development, and overall well-being. In an article for the National Head Start Association, pediatrician Dr. Nimali Fernando describes three key benefits of cooking with young children: 

1. Working together builds confidence.

When children take part in cooking, they contribute to tasks like measuring, pouring, and mixing the ingredients together. Accomplishing these tasks and successfully making a recipe helps children to build new skills and gain confidence in themselves. 

2. Cooking connects children to multiple areas of learning.

The kitchen is full of learning opportunities, and cooking encourages children to practice their science, math, language, and motor skills– all in one activity! While cooking together, invite children to help measure and count ingredients as you explain some of the science behind the way foods change when they are cooked! Asking children to help with chopping, scooping, and pouring gives them the opportunity to build their fine motor skills. 

3. Healthy cooking encourages healthy eating!

When little ones are involved in preparing healthy, fresh, and nutritious food, they are more likely to be interested in eating it. Cooking together inspires children to be curious about a variety of different food items, and it makes mealtimes more fun! 

Easy, Healthy Recipes with Summer Produce

Watermelon Pizza


image & recipe from
Raising Veggie Lovers

July and August are peak season for melons – which makes this watermelon pizza recipe a perfect treat for the summer months!

All you will need is a large watermelon, whipped cream or Cool Whip, honey (omit if serving to infants), and small pieces of fruit. One of the best things about this recipe is that the “pizza” can be topped with any fruits that you have available, such as berries, kiwis, sliced grapes, cherries, bananas, and more! 

Start by slicing the watermelon into a large circular piece and then cutting across the circle to divide the watermelon into triangle slices (like cutting a pizza). Invite children to help with spreading the whipped cream and adding their favorite toppings to their own slices! 

Avocado Mango Smoothie

image & recipe from
Yummy Toddler Food

This simple recipe uses only three ingredients and features avocado, which is in season during the month of July! It’s an especially refreshing recipe for cooling off on a hot summer day. 

All you’ll need is milk (or kefir), avocado, and frozen diced mango. Little ones can help prepare this recipe by measuring the milk, scooping the avocado from the peel, and placing all of the ingredients into the blender. All you have to do is blend them together until smooth, and serve! 

Raspberry Banana Cookies 

image & recipe from Healthy Little Foodies

Summertime is berry season – which means raspberries are especially fresh this time of year! This healthy and kid-friendly cookie recipe has no added sugar and uses only a few healthy ingredients to make a perfect summer snack for young children. All you’ll need are: raisins, bananas, oats, cinnamon, and (of course!) raspberries.

Start by soaking the raisins in hot water for 10-15 minutes in order to soften them (this step should be completed by an adult). Next, mash the bananas to a puree consistency. This step is especially fun for little ones – invite them to use a wooden spoon to mash them in a large bowl, or put the bananas in a plastic bag and let them squish the bag of bananas with their hands! Once the banana is mashed, mix the banana, oats, and cinnamon together. Add the raspberries and stir until the raspberries have broken down and incorporated into the mixture. Finally, drain the raisins and mix them in too!

Once everything is mixed together, roll the cookies into balls, place on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes at 350℉. Be sure to let them cool for a few minutes before serving your tasty raspberry treats!

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