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Building summer meals builds bonds


Including kids in meal preparation provides a pinch of learning during the summer. Measuring, pouring, stirring and observing chemical reactions in a mixing bowl is exciting stuff for curious, growing minds. While educators refer to such activities as "teachable moments," there is more than instruction going on. When we spend uninterrupted time with our kids, we are building both skills and relationships.

Here's a delightful summer salad you and your kids can make together. Serve it in a half shell of a pineapple. As you prepare the salad, stir up some learning too, with the suggested questions.

Set out on the kitchen counter a variety of ripe fruit such as pineapple, mango, bananas, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, lemon, shredded coconut and raisins.

Ask your children to name each fruit. Which fruit is largest? Smallest? Which fruit is your favorite? How are raisins made? How many do you want in the salad? Count them and set them aside.

An adult should slice the pineapple in half lengthwise. Cut the fruit from the two halves. Save the pineapple shells and place the cut-up fruit in a mixing bowl. As you work, ask, "How does a pineapple grow and where?" Taste a chunk and describe it.

Wash, peel and cut the rest of the ingredients, adding them to the mixing bowl. Squeeze and drizzle lemon juice over the fruit. Ask, "What does drizzle mean?"

Scoop the fruit mixture into the pineapple halves. As you complete the luscious salad, ask, "What does fresh mean? Why is a fruit salad healthy? What else could we put in a pineapple fruit salad next time?"

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