Many of my longtime readers will think I’ve officially lost my marbles after reading this post, and maybe I have.
I just think it’s worth sharing because though there isn’t any serious learning going on, my kids were sure using their brains for this one. And their creative juices were a’ flowin’. And their bodies were moving. And there was a whole lot of laughing.
And they were outdoors, unplugged, and doing just what they wanted.
And really? It was so much fun.
It’s just a quickie reminder to get those kiddos outside and to see what happens. Because this afternoon? We were all totally surprised at where the day took us.
Except where on Chopped the chefs compete using food, in our Backyard Chopped Challenge, the kids competed using plants, sticks, and flowers as food.
Here’s the skinny. . .
- Backyard ‘Chopped’ Challenge–Creative Outdoor Fun:
My kids are huge, huge fans of The Food Network and will watch just about any show they run.
Chopped is a fave; Diners, Drive-ins and Dives is top of our list, as is Guy’s Grocery Games and Cupcake Wars and Cutthroat Kitchen.
Every single summer, we make the Next Food Network Star a fixture and the highlight of our Sunday evenings. We’re hooked.
And when Rachel v. Guy: Kids Cook-off was on, we were literally glued to the screen and watched each episode too many times to count.
I like most of these cooking shows because quite often, my kids want to cook. They want to try new foods, new recipes, and new dishes in the kitchen.
A few days ago Maddy, Cora, and their neighbor pal were just hanging around out back while Owen was at basketball camp. The kids were just poking around the plants, playing with bugs and making designs.
I brought out a few recyclables for them to use—some popsicle sticks, plastic takeout containers, jars and yogurt containers.
I gave them a challenge: use anything in our yard to make a pizza.
They immediately got to work. They ran. They scrambled. They collaborated (Cora and our neighbor) while Maddy rolled solo. They wanted me to time them, and when they were finished, they wanted me to judge them.
So? I said, Okay. Let’s make it official. We’re doing a Backyard Chopped Challenge, then. Who’s in?
So everyone decided to work individually, and they wanted some guidelines. They wanted five minutes for each round, and they wanted three rounds. And they wanted separate work spaces. (Clearly they’ve watched too much Chopped. . . ).
Anyway, that’s what we did. And I was amazed. Blown away. Totally surprised and excited by their dishes.
(from the pizza round)
We played three rounds:
- kid lunch
- fancy dinner
I judged not after each round but at the end. I knew I wanted each child to win one round. (Come on. You know I’m like that. . . )
The focus was both on their dishes and on their description. They had to convince me that their dish was the best and use clear and colorful words to describe what they made.
Cora won the first round. Her sandwich was incredible, and she included a chocolate chip cookie! She had to win!
Maddy won the fancy dinner round. Her meal was a spin on a Thanksgiving dinner, complete with chicken (easy to forget.. . ) and cranberry sauce!
Our neighbor pal won the dessert round. His Hawaiian cookies actually had purple flowers on them! They were gorgeous!
It was fun. Seriously fun.
And the coolest thing? They’ve played it several times since then.
Woot! Three cheers for bringing the cool to the back yard and for crazy creative kids.
Now I’m off to figure out what to make for dinner tonight. . .