When I was young the winter months seemed to drag on. Days were spent feeding hay and breaking ice on the ponds, and you can only play in the snow so long until it’s time to warm up. (Yes, that’s correct I said “breaking ice on the ponds.” It wasn’t until after my brothers and I left the farm that dad decided it was time to buy automatic heated watering systems). Funny how that happens…
Now, there was plenty to do when the weather was nice outside. But, after the weather turned and I finished doing chores, all I wanted was some hot cocoa.
Seeing the snow across the Ozarks reminds me when my mother would pull me into the kitchen and we would have a “craft day.” Together we would make play dough, homemade bubbles and bake all sorts of delicious treats when I was a child. It’s funny how these memories have come to life again now that I have a little one running throughout my kitchen.
“Craft days” are how my mother introduced to me the kitchen. She made the kitchen not only a place where meals were served, but a place of fun for me at an early age. I truly believe this is one reason I enjoy being in the kitchen so much today as a grown woman.
Instead of your traditional “cooking” recipes, I want to share a fun “craft” recipe that can help teach the joys of the kitchen to your children or grandchildren. Here are some of my suggestions for making crafts in the kitchen a bit easier on you:
• Embrace the mess. Children are messy. Children in the kitchen are even messier. If it makes you feel better, cover the table or counter with newspaper or plastic bags. After that, let it go and enjoy the activity.
• Make maracas:  Fill clean screw-top plastic bottles with different quantities of dry foods (such as beans, rice or peanuts) to create a variety of maracas. Children also can decorate paper labels to tape around the outside of the bottles.
• Fashion jewelry out of pasta and cereal:  String cereal O’s and different shapes of pasta tubes on yarn or kitchen twine to make necklaces and bracelets. Use markers to color the pasta. (This was one of my favorites!)
• Paint with pudding (My son’s favorite):  Make several different batches of instant pudding, then let children paint on paper with it using large brushes or their fingers. And the best part:  it’s ok if they lick their fingers.



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