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Free Things to do with Kids


Do it yourself snack packs. Free and Fun!

Small kids, older kids, little kids, and big kids will love making their own free or inexpensive snacks at home and spending time with you.

Make Your Own 100 Calorie Snacks

Turn off the TV, shut down the game system, and get ready for some free fun at home in the kitchen with your kids (little ones too). Making your own 100 calorie snacks is fun and helpful because it saves you money, doesn’t make a big mess, and is a great teaching opportunity for kids of all ages. You get to clean out the pantry and use up the last bit of some snacks that usually spoil – which makes this something free (or at least inexpensive) to do with the kids.

The best part is that you’ll end up with several 100 calorie snack bags that are perfect for snacking kids or adults on the run. You’ll save some money on your groceries (since these free items are already in your kitchen) and the kids might actually like these inexpensive snacks since they helped make them. Plus, the biggest complaint with grocery store bought 100 calorie snacks is that they are expensive, unhealthy, and you always want more than one! Now you’re the chef and can have them just the way you want them.

What You’ll Need

You don’t need much, but you do need a few items that are usually found in every kitchen.

  1. Free Snacks – Raid the pantry and open the cupboards. Let your kids pick out their favorite crackers, cereal, nuts, almonds, dried fruit, cookies, or any other bulk-packaged snacks.
  2. Sandwich bags or small Tupperware containers – Either way you can reuse them if you want to satisfy the green in you. The containers you choose should be able to be closed tightly to avoid your snacks spoiling before you get to them. (I know, like that is really going to happen!)
  3. Kitchen food scale – Most any small kitchen scale will do. The digital food scales work nicely because it’s easy to get a good weight reading but non-digital scales work too. The key is that it should be one that is capable of weighing small amounts since we’ll be working in grams and ounces most of the time.
  4. Free Recipes at 100CalorieBags.com – Here you’ll create your very own 100 calorie snack recipes. The great part is that you can actually make healthy snacks and they can be any size you want. 250 calories – no problem. 300 calories – no problem. You get the idea. Be creative.

 

Step-by-Step How To Instructions for Making Your own Snack Bag Recipes

  1. Visit 100CalorieBags.com. Locate the free snack recipe calculator on the home page.
  2. Let your kids decide what they want inside their snack bag. To start, limit the ingredients to two or three ingredients.
  3. Locate the nutrition label on the snacks and get ready to create your own snack recipe.
  4. Begin entering the name of the first ingredient and select from the list of displayed suggestions or manually enter the grams and calories.
  5. Click Add Ingredient to add additional ingredients to your snack recipe.
  6. When you are finished entering all of your snack ingredients, enter your target calories in the Target Calorie box.
  7. Finally, click on the Calculate button. The snack calculator will now show you how many grams of each of your ingredients you’ll need to create your snack pack.
  8. Either print or jot down the recipe. You’ll need to know the snack bag ingredients and the number of grams you’ll need for each snack bag. (tip: use your browser’s print function to print out your recipe)

 

Kids – It’s Time to Put Together Your Free Snack Bags

Now that you have your snack recipe it’s time to put it together. Have the kids wash their hands, dry them and then have them sit at the table.

Put the ingredients for this snack pack on the table along with the bags or containers you’ll use to store the snack packs in. Have the kids carefully put each snack ingredient on the kitchen food scale as you watch the weight. When it reaches the right amount, dump it in the bags or containers. Repeat for each ingredient until you’ve done them all and your snack bag is complete.

Suggestions for Keeping Your Older Kids Engaged

Ok, the older kids soon will figure out that they are really helping you – and they won’t want anything to do with it! Keep older kids engaged by having them monitor the weight and guess how many of each snack it will take to get to the proper weight. Use the opportunity to teach them about calories and the importance of eating healthy foods. It’s also a great time to talk about portion control and how eating too much can negatively affect your health.

Teach older kids about the nutrition label of the snacks as you are creating your recipes. Have them read over the ingredients on the nutrition label. When they come to one they can’t read, and they will because of some of the weird stuff in our food, use the opportunity to talk about the difference between healthy food and unhealthy food. Let them use the computer to make the recipes. You’ll be able to show them that you can do more on the Internet that just games!

Suggestions for Keeping Your Little Kids Engaged

Little kids have a tendency to get bored pretty quick. Keep smaller kids engaged by good old fashion bribery – if you finish this project you can have one of the snack bags for a treat! You won’t mind giving them a snack since the portion size is so small (assuming you didn’t opt to make 1,000 calorie snack bags!).

Little kids will love to use their hands and touch the snacks as they put them in the bag. Teach them how to keep their hands clean by not eating any of the snacks when they are making them. This valuable lesson will pay off when they are in the kitchen!

More Free Things To Do With Kids

If creating your own free 100 calorie snack bags isn’t quite what you had in mind, try out these other resources:

  • Unplugged Play – No Batteries. No Plugs. Pure Fun, by Bobbi Conner.
  • Visit your local library. Many libraries have suggested reading lists to match your kid’s age and offer free library cards for kids as well.
  • Visit the play land at your local mall. The only thing with this free thing is that you might be tempted to spend money while you’re there!
  • Make cleaning a game – give them an easy (but helpful) chore and then time them as they get it done. This free thing inspires older and younger kids alike.

Remember, finding something free to do with the kids is usually just a matter of being creative and having fun yourself!