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Getting Cheesy with the Kids
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Every couple of weeks I get a chance to play "fun Aunt" to a couple of six year old little girls. They come and stay with us for the weekend and sometimes longer depending on the time of year. Many times when they are at the house they will watch me create grazing platters and take lots of pictures of them. We take food photos in different light and from all kinds of angles. It's funny to listen to them critique the boards and the pictures now. "Lou Lou, I think there are too many shadows in that one", I haven't figured out if she actually knew what that meant or not but it was hard not to laugh because she sounded super serious about it.

Last weekend when they came for their visit I decided to surprise them with an activity where they could create a charcuterie platter and then eat it for lunch. They had so much fun! It was like an art project they could eat. And another huge bonus was that since they picked everything that went onto their plate, they thought it was the most delicious thing ever! They cleaned their plates even though they did a ton of sampling all along the way.

The activity was so easy to set up and so much fun to do. If this is something you want to try out with your kiddos or some tiny visitors you get to entertain for a couple of hours, check out our tips below!

For us, it helped that the girls were already familiar with the idea of grazing or charcuterie boards. They had already had the chance to watch me construct them and many times had also been the beneficiaries of the finished masterpieces. I don't know if understanding it would help most kids as they go through the activity but for my fellow Pinterest addicts out there, showing them a couple pictures on your phone might help them understand what you are doing.

Planning:

When planning the activity, I wanted to give them as many healthy, colorful and tasty options as I could. Fortunately for me both of them love fruits and most veggies so that part was easy. Since they have a variety of food allergies we couldn't do charcuterie meats but I know a lot of other kids that would like that as an option.

Here is what I shopped for:

2 cheeses (we used cheese sticks and I'll tell you why below)

3-4 veggies

3-4 fruits

2-3 crackers

Dried fruit

Nuts

The great thing about this shopping list is that after your activity, you have plenty of healthy snack options stocked up for them and a chance to repeat the activity if they really liked it!

Set up:

I find it easy to go through an activity with children if I have everything prepped and ready long before they even know about it.

Here are a few things I did to get us ready to jump in:

*Wash and cut up all of the veggies and put them in one container

*Wash and cut up all of the fruit and put them in another container

*Display all of your cracker options on one plate

*Put your dried fruits and nuts in their own small bowls or containers

*Set out a small cutting board for each child with a plastic butter knife. (The girls are not allowed to touch real knives yet so this was a good alternative for them) The reason that we used cheese sticks was so the girls could easily cut their own pieces of cheese for their board.

*Pick out a plate that might make the food feel a little more special to them. The girls called the plates I set out for them "fancy";)

The Activity:

*When everything was ready, we went out to the garden and picked a couple of flowers they thought would complement their boards nicely. You don't really need much and it's probably important that an adult verifies that the flower they pick is safe to be next to food.

*When the kids are set up at the table, begin by giving them an idea of the selections they will have overall so they can think about what they want it to look like.

*Start with the cheese options and allow them to cut up cheese the way they want to see it on their plate.

*Go through all of the categories one at a time and let them take their time putting what they like on the plate in a way they feel it looks nice. I left each container on the table after presenting them with new ones just in case they wanted to go back for more of anything.

*When they are all done creating, take pictures of the masterpieces! We didn't spend too long on this part because they were excited to start eating what they had created. They were both so proud of their work! =)

Since this was for a meal that we were all going to have together, I used the opportunity to create my own grazing board and got to sample some new items I had been eyeing. Again, it's not like I really needed the excuse to try more cheese but this was a good one anyway!

I would love to hear from anyone who tries this activity at home and even better I would LOVE to see the pictures! Let the kids show off their work and tag us so we can see.

~love in abundance,

Crystal@ Grazing Goddess Charcuterie