As an important life skill, learning to cook and learning the basics of the kitchen can be an exciting adventure for children from toddlers to teenagers. Using a delicious childhood favorite like popcorn as the main ingredient at the heart of your class can spark interest and excitement.
In addition to understanding measurement and safety, teaching your kids how to prepare simple recipes also offers opportunities to connect and create memories that can last a lifetime. A snack associated with good times, popcorn is versatile enough to inspire creativity.
While it’s important to start with simple techniques that introduce future chefs to the culinary world, it’s also helpful to ensure they’ll enjoy their first creations so they can spend more time in the kitchen.
100% unprocessed whole grain with no added additives, hidden ingredients, or GMOs, air popped popcorn is only 30 calories per cup and features a whole grain that provides energy-producing complex carbohydrates. Because whole grains are important sources of nutrients like zinc, magnesium, B vitamins, and fiber, you can teach the values of a nutritious snack while having fun.
These simple yet delicious recipes and tips can help you get your kids involved in the kitchen.
Enjoying learning is an important introduction to the world of cooking. Start with a versatile staple that’s naturally low in fat and calories like popcorn, and encourage your child to get creative with a recipe like Pop-a-rific Popcorn Balls. Little ones build confidence in their skills in colorful ways with simple variations like adding food coloring or mixing in candies, nuts or dried fruit.
A key component to recipes of all skill levels, teaching measurements from teaspoons and tablespoons to cups, ounces and more is valuable knowledge. Start with the basics like these easy popcorn s’mores, which call for measuring popcorn and graham crackers into cups so your child can focus on one measurement. Then, with the little ones helping, have an adult melt and drizzle the chocolate for a family favorite treat.
Learning to create and explore is often productive (and fun) when kids can get their hands dirty. Sweet ‘n’ Salty Popcorn Pretzel Sticks are a perfect canvas to get kids hands-on with ingredients as they roll pretzels in peanut butter, add sprinkles to their heart’s content, and popcorn popped into their newfound favorite treat.
Visit popcorn.org for more kid-friendly recipes to get the whole family involved in the kitchen.
DIY popcorn bar
Whether you’re entertaining guests, hosting a house full of kids, or just enjoying a weekend at home, a DIY popcorn bar offers kids and adults alike a tasty and fun way to create their own version of an afternoon treat. Just lay out a few ingredients and watch the fun unfold.
- Small popcorn bags, bowls or cups
- shovels or spoons
- Popped popcorn
- Peanuts (remember to ask other parents if their kids may have an allergy)
- chocolate chips
- Grated cheese
- grated coconut
- Melted butter
Sweet ‘n’ Salty Popcorn Pretzel Sticks
6 tablespoons peanut butter
6 large pretzel sticks
3 cups of popcorn
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on a pretzel, leaving a 2-inch handle without the peanut butter. Repeat with the remaining peanut butter and pretzels.
Press and roll popcorn onto peanut butter to coat each pretzel. Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles.
To make an optional chocolate drizzle: Place chocolate chips in a small resealable plastic bag and seal the bag. Microwave 30 seconds or until chocolate has melted.
Snip a small corner from the bag and pinch to drizzle chocolate over the popcorn.
Sprinkle with more sugar sprinkles. Allow chocolate to harden before serving.
Pop-A-Rific Popcorn Balls
Yield: 14 balls
3 liters of popped popcorn, unsalted
1 package (1 pound) marshmallows
1/4 cup butter or margarine
Place the popped popcorn in a large bowl.
In a large saucepan over low heat, cook marshmallows and butter or margarine until melted and smooth. Pour over popcorn and toss gently to mix well. Cool down for 5 minutes.
Butter hands well and shape into 2 1/2 inch balls.
Variations: To color popcorn balls, add 3-4 drops of food coloring to a smooth marshmallow mixture. Mix well to evenly distribute the color, then pour over the popcorn as directed.
After mixing popcorn and melted marshmallows, mix in candy, nuts, or dried fruit. Stir to spread, then form into balls.
Place nonpareilles in a shallow bowl or plate. Roll popcorn balls into nonpareilles after forming.
Easy popcorn s’mores
Yield: 10 cups
10 cups of freshly popped popcorn
1 package (10 1/2 ounces) mini marshmallows
2 cups graham crackers, broken into small pieces
1/2 cup milk chocolate, melted
Combine popcorn, marshmallows, and graham crackers on the baking sheet.
Drizzle with melted chocolate and let cool.