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Ideas for a cooking demonstration for kids?

My stepdaughter has asked me to do a food demonstration for her class of 6 and 7 year old girls. She has about 20 students. I'd like to make this fun and entertaining, yet try and teach something about cooking. I will not have access to a cooktop or oven unless I bring portable equipment.

This would take place mid- to late-afternoon so I don't want to do something that will ruin their dinner appetite. Some ideas I have:

~ make cookies or cupcakes up to the point they need to be baked, and then passing out pre-baked goodies to each child to decorate and take home with them

~ grilled sandwiches (I have a panini grill I could bring)

~ pizza (if I had an oven!) Has anyone tried to cook a pizza on a panini grill?

~ quesadillas

~ anything else?

Besides salads, salsa or pbj sandwiches, can you think of any non-cooking foods that might capture a child's attention for at least an hour? I've searched through the Chow boards and tried googling cooking with/for kids but not coming up with the right combination. I also have to consider possible food and nut allergies.

Any suggestions or ideas will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your help!

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  1. FoodNetwork.com has some good ideas. Just do a topic search for "cooking with kids". Emeril did a segment on making pinwheels with kids. It looked easy and fun. I believe he also did a fruit smoothie to go with the pinwheels.

    1. We do latkes, or potatoe pancakes for both of our kids classes ever year. There is a lot for them to grasp the sound, smell and crunch of the latkes. I would not be concerned about ruining dinner appts, there is plenty of time between school and dinner time.

      You can call them hash browns instead of latkes.

      Good luck.

      1 Reply
      1. re: normalheightsfoodie

        This may or may not be appropriate for your group, but just in case... My daughter did a demonstration at school when she was 8...the kids loved it. It's completely "unchow", but actually pretty tasty. It's a mock torte, using chocolate graham crackers and cool-whip topping. You basically spread a layer of cool-whip between grahams, sticking them together and placing them on a plate (once you have two or three crackers, they'll stand upright). Add as many crackers as you want to make a cake, frost with more cool-ship, and top with crushed candy canes, chocolate curls, sprinkles, or toasted nuts. Let it sit for several hours, and slice. The coolwhip absords into the crackers and makes it very cake-like. She made one in class, and then served one she made at home the day before.

      2. Trifles are fun with that age. Kids love to watch whipped cream being beaten. They can cut their own fruit, strawberries, etc. You can use pudding and some kind of cake, either poundcake, lady fingers (we did it with girl scout trefoils which were good) and have the kids cut that. They can either make their own or make one big one and scoop. I thought scooping worked well. If they make individual ones, bring Glad press and seal and they can take home dessert and that won't spoil their appetites.

        1. Choclate fondue?? You can whip up the choclate in advance and re-warm with hot plate. Pre slice strawberries, kiwi fruit, oranges, dried apricots, angel food or pound cake, pretzel rods, etc. and have kids dip them in, let set and eat. Although the parents may not talk to you for a while because of the mess. You will be remembered for a long time very fondly by the kids though.

          1. Pancakes would be fun if you have an electric griddle or pan to take. Make icing and decorate pre-made muffins. Make a fruit salad. S'mores. Make pita pockets.