A trip to your local farmers' market provides more than lunch. When it's too hot to play outside, let the kids practice a different kind of culinary art, turning produce into a menagerie of fanciful creatures.
These animals are made entirely from fruits, vegetables and other edibles, with a few toothpicks thrown in for structural support.
Your kids can copy these designs or come up with their own. The possibilities are as endless as their imaginations and the offerings of your local produce bin.
Set up a work place in the kitchen, gather the supplies and get creative. You'll need a variety of fresh or dried fruits and vegetables, toothpicks and whole cloves or peppercorns for eyes. Soft candies and marshmallows are other decorating options. If the insects need a nest, use leafy greens.
In most cases, the produce items can be cut with a plastic picnic knife, for safety's sake. This project is good for ages 7 and up.
* Fresh or dry fruits and vegetables
* Cloves or peppercorns
* Dry pasta
* Assorted candy -- gumdrops, jelly beans, marshmallows
* Plastic picnic knife or small kitchen knife
Lemon Pigs: Slice the skin off the bump at the end of the lemon. This is the nose. Cut into the top of the lemon in a V-shape for ears. Use cloves for the eyes, macroni for the legs.
Squash Dinosaur and Parsnip Plam Tree: Celery feet support a yellow crookneck squash body. The armor along the back is made from red pepper strips cut in a zig-zag pattern. A baby yellow Roma tomato is the head, with clove eyes. The tree trunk is made from a parsnip; the leaves are cut from the bottom of a green bell pepper turned upside down.