Maybe you’ve enrolled them in some summer camps at the museum or your church. Maybe they spend the day at Buelita’s house. Or maybe they are driving you loca as they sit around whining that they are bored…or worse, they stare like zombies at the TV.
Here are 3 must-do activities this summer to get them off the couch, use their brains, and cool them down. I think mami will enjoy these refreshing summer treats almost as much as the kids!
My kids think that absolutely nothing tastes better on a hot summer day than chilled watermelon straight out of the fridge. A single slice of sandía can send them running for the front porch to gobble it down. So imagine my delight to find these cool cookies in our Disney Family Fun Magazine. You can forget about the oven. All you need are some fun cookie cutters, plain yogurt, and maybe some sprinkles (optional). Cut your sandía about an inch thick, then let the kids cut out shapes from the slices of watermelon and decorate!
Or to keep your kids occupied even longer, break out those pumpkin-carving tools and let them design their own watermelon sculptures. If they need ideas, have them look at this amazing collection on the National Watermelon Promotion Board website. If you click on a picture, it will give you some easy-to-follow directions. You can also find many other fabulous watermelon-related games and activities in the site’s Educator section.
I don’t know of a single child who will pass on having a Popsicle. So why not introduce them to the Popsicle’s rich cousin—la paleta? (Warning: There’s no going back once you’ve tasted one of these recipes!) And for those of us in love with the heavenly taste of paletas, there are tons of recipes online; but the one from our favorite Latina recipe blog, A Little Cup of Mexican Hot Chocolate, is to die for! Clementina, blogger and chef extraordinaire, shares with us her recipes for making mango, watermelon, and coconut-pineapple paletas—YUM!
And to add to the fun, pick up a copy of Carmen Tafolla’s children’s picture book, What Can You Do with a Paleta? Illustrated by Magaly Morales, it is the engaging story of the many uses one little girl finds for a paleta. From creating a colorful masterpiece to making new friends, who knew a paleta could do so many things? You can find new and gently used copies of Tafolla’s book here.
AGUA FRESCA, ANYONE?
Aguas frescas come in a whole variety of flavors and can be made from practically any fruit. Maura, from The Other Side of the Tortilla, has the best recipe for making un agua fesca de piña. Before reading her article, I had no idea how to tell if a pineapple was ripe (do you?), but now I can pick the best piña in the store.
Hibiscus tea, or agua fresca de jamaica, is also super yummy. As an added bonus for some of us mamis, it can be used as a natural weight-loss aid. Loaded with Vitamin C, it contains a number of enzyme inhibitors that prevent the absorption of sugars. Plus, it has anti-bloating properties, helping the body to shed excess fluid.
To make agua fresca de jamaica, soak a handful of dried hibiscus flowers in a small pot of just boiled water. Let soak for a half-hour or so, then have your kids strain the tea into a pitcher and add cold water and ice. Throw in a few berries for decoration and you’re done! If you want to sweeten it just a bit, add a simple syrup (½ cup granulated cane sugar to one cup water) to taste. Enjoy!