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How to Keep the Kids Busy During Winter Break

Seven daily activities to ensure that your young chef’s winter vacation is filled with fun.

Published Dec. 6, 2020.

Winter can be a difficult season to find enjoyable indoor activities for the kids. Not this year. America's Test Kitchen Kids is bringing seven daily challenges for your young chef(s) to tackle. They will learn how to plate food beautifully, make hot cocoa all by themselves for the chilly days ahead, prepare their own overnight oatmeal for their first day back to school, and more. 

Winter Break Challenge

Keep reading to find out which activity awaits them each day.

December 26th

With this beginner project, your young one will need a few crafty materials to create a package that will protect a single potato chip or cracker from breaking during a fall. The catch? They need to keep their package under a certain size—and they need to design a way to put the chip or cracker into their design . . . and take it out.

Design Challenge: Pack It Up

Before you get started, have your young one look around your kitchen cabinets or refrigerator to see what other packages protect something fragile inside.   
Get Started

December 27th

This recipe for Edible Spheres is a kid-friendly take on a molecular gastronomy technique. Your young chef will use gelatin and any type of flavorful liquid (such as fruit juice or soy sauce) to make tiny, edible spheres. Once they're made, enjoy them on anything from yogurt to ice cream to rice—there are so many possibilities!

How to Make Edible Spheres

With a few special ingredients, we'll show your young chef how science and cooking interact with each other.  
Get Started

December 28th

There are so many brands of tortilla chips, ice cream cones, string cheese, and other foods on supermarket shelves. Try out one of our taste tests to figure out which ones rank the best among your friends and family members. 

Tasting & Testing: String Cheese

Have a string cheese party! Make sure to invite friends and family to your tasting, too.  
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December 29th

We'll show your young chef three different plating techniques with one of our favorite meals: Sweet and Tangy Glazed Salmon (yum!) with Avocado Crema (tangy! creamy!) and Roasted Fingerling Potatoes (crispy on the outside, creamy in the center!). Use these recipes, or try out the techniques with your favorite main dish, sauce, and side dish. 

How to Make Your Food Look Awesome

Master a few handy techniques and you’ll be creating plates of food that look like they’re straight out of a restaurant.  
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December 30th

You'll never want to buy hot cocoa packets again after you and your young chef try this DIY hot cocoa mix. It takes just 10 minutes to make and serves the entire family, and then some. Don't forget the marshmallows and whipped cream!

DIY Hot Cocoa Mix

Hot cocoa mix makes a great gift, especially in the winter.   
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December 31st

Before winter break comes to an end, have a family movie night and let the kids make this easy Real Buttered Popcorn in the microwave. All you need is a clean paper lunch back. Stick with classic butter and salt, or try one of our flavor variations, such as Sriracha-Lime, Cinnamon-Malt, and Parmesan-Herb!

Real Buttered Popcorn

Everyone knows that the best microwave popcorn is the kind you make yourself.  
Start Cooking

January 1st

Happy New Year! Help kids get ready for their first day back to school by making a batch of overnight oatmeal together. (Bonus: It saves time in the morning!) With our four flavor options, your young chef won't get bored with breakfast anytime soon. 

Overnight Oatmeal Bananas and Brown Sugar

Thankfully, most of this recipe "cooks" overnight. Prepare it the night before for an easy morning.  
Start Cooking

Share your young chef's creations on Instagram using #ATKkids—we might feature your photos on our social media or in an upcoming America's Test Kitchen Kids newsletter! 

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