Staying entertained over summer months has been uniquely challenging this year with physical distancing measures limiting kids’ playdates and public activities. “I’m bored,” is a phrase parents may have heard in record repetitions!
If this resonates with you, then consider this creative activity that could gift you with an hour or so of fun with the kids, and even more than that. Making edible food art not only gets little ones more comfortable in the kitchen, but it can get even picky eaters excited to eat what they helped create.
With all of that in mind, here are some inspirational food art ideas to make with kids from the super-easy to the more complex.
Hello Kitty-inspired pizza
All it takes is a heart-shaped cookie cutter and a Hello Kitty mold to make the essential parts of this adorable DIY mini pizza that’ll make lunch or dinner feel like a treat. Calgary-native Shannon Casorso uses mozzarella for the head, nori for the eyes and whiskers, cheddar cheese for the nose, and luncheon meat for the bow.
Kids can take any melon and drupe and use age-appropriate (dull) knives to cut and chop the shapes of this friendly cacti. Sine of @Foodbites says she started making food art as motivation to eat more healthily; if you’re trying to find ways to get your kids to eat more fruit, this might be the way to do it!
These thirst-quenching critters make for a delightful afternoon snack platter or dessert. Get younger kids to put the finishing touches on your pre-cut watermelon – use chocolate discs to make the feet and paws, candy for the nose and eyes, and add a strawberry for the head.
Kermit-inspired grape plate
Food artist Laleh Mohmedi takes an iconic muppet and brings it to life on a plate – and all it takes are a bunch of halved grapes, sliced apple for Kermit’s mouth, bocconcini cheese for the eyes, and cut cucumber for his jester collar. Bonus: The prep for this plate is easy for adults to prep, yet a time-sucker for kids to arrange.
Sky’s the limit with breakfast porridge, as Toronto porridge enthusiast Nadia Korolkova shows us, using the easy morning food as a blank canvas. Introduce it as a quick, weekday morning activity, or let kids can get creative by using different berries and veggies to come up with variations to their hearts’ content when there’s more time.
Parinita “Paggy” Singhi serves up quirky fruit art to her family for a laugh. She uses mango, plum and cucumber for the head and hair, and for the eyes, black raisins that have been rolled flat using a rolling pin. The most important ingredient: pomegranate arils for the top and earrings. Bonus: kids will have extra fun popping out all the pomegranate seeds for their creation.
Endless fun awaits when decorating one’s own pancake. This edible activity may be more suitable for older kids who can experiment with different textures, natural food colouring, and shapes. Food artist Sandra Daum uses dolphin and star cookie cutters on papaya and white pitaya fruit (also known as dragon fruit) to decorate this tropical island-inspired pancake.
Not your everyday smoothie bowl, this heartwarming variation by Montreal food artist and computer engineer Silvia Cecco incorporates the whole fruit. Kids can scrape out the seeds from the papaya before filling it with butterfly pea powder-dyed coconut yogurt, and decorating it with whatever yummy adornments can be found in the kitchen.
A mix of coconut yogurt and natural food dyes allows kids to dress up any food really, and this yogurt bowl serves as great inspiration. Set out natural colouring agents like pink pitaya powder, turmeric, spirulina, and butterfly pea flower for kids to blend and create their own unique colours.
Older kids looking to be challenged can get lost in a fruit-filled afternoon with inspiration from Sarah Lescrauwaet-Beach’s amazing, vibrant food art – cutting up different kinds of fruit in various shapes to create an edible masterpiece. Make it a weekly art project and let whatever fruit the family is craving be part of the inspiration.
Janet Ho is a writer and hobby artist. You can follow her at @janetonpaper.