Photo: fizkes via 123RF

If your summer plans include plenty of backyard cookouts and neighborhood barbecues, get your kids involved in the meal planning and prep.

These six recipes are easy for kids to make on their own, and they all involve food they’re likely to eat without complaint! They’ll be excited to make these dishes and proud to set their contributions on the table when you arrive at the party.

Ants on a Log

This classic snack is a tasty option for those summer barbecues. Your kids can easily make them independently, and it’s an easy way to ensure they eat some protein and veggies during the party. If they’re old enough, they can cut the celery by themselves and choose fillings and toppings. Younger kids will need help with the chopping portions. Suggest various fillings—peanut butter, cream cheese (even Nutella for a dessert treat!)—and toppings like nuts, raisins, seeds, and even quartered grapes/berries.

Antipasto Kabobs

Elevate a meat-and-cheese sandwich with these kabobs. Kids often shy away from unknown food at parties, so using familiar ingredients in a fun new way is an excellent offering for the barbecue feast. Let the kids cut up the ingredients themselves (if they’re old enough), or set out pre-cut blocks of cheese, fruit, olives, and meat. Have the younger kids practice making patterns on the kabob skewers. Choose ingredients that are palatable to your kids, and have them make a batch with “new flavors” for the other guests to entice them to expand their culinary repertoire.

Photo: Mark Bowden via 123RF

Wheely-Good Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is always a staple at the summer barbecue, but making it more appealing for kids is an important upgrade. Choose a fun pasta shape like these wheels, and let them make everything independently (with some stovetop supervision if needed for the younger ones). You can buy pre-cut vegetables for even easier assembly, or use this opportunity for your kids to practice knife skills by cutting carrots, cheese, broccoli, cabbage, etc. Add whichever diced veggies you’d like! Buying premade dressing is also a straightforward way to season the salad. Plus, you can make your own if you’d like your kids to practice mixing and whisking.

Watermelon on a Stick

This simple recipe is a fun way to enjoy this juicy snack! Most kids will need adult help since cutting a whole watermelon can be daunting. Adults can slice the watermelon into one-inch-thick discs. Then, older kids can practice their knife skills by cutting those rounds into quarters. Adults should then cut a small slit in the rind of each quarter, just deep enough to go through the green part. Let the kids finish the job by putting large craft sticks into the slits for handles. These watermelon sticks are a hit at any block party since they’re so easy to eat on the go!

Grilled Chocolate Banana Foil Pack

These banana packs are a potassium-filled twist on classic s’mores, making them the perfect, easy-to-make dessert option. Your kids will love bringing a dish to the barbecue that can be “thrown on the grill” alongside the main dish and veggies. Let them assemble these foil packets at home. Then, they can help arrange them on the grill once the party starts. Even small kids can slice the banana open down the middle with a dull knife, then fill it with mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. Wrap it back in foil, then add crunchy cinnamon cereal after grilling for an added surprise!

Hot Dog on a Stick

These hot dogs are a great recipe for kids to prepare on their own before the barbecue begins. They can go right on the grill when it’s time to start cooking. Have kids poke a long skewer all the way through each hot dog, then coil-wrap with a piece of breadstick dough. You can also add cheese mixed into the dough for some extra flavor. If you’re stacking these on a plate for transportation to the party, brush the dough with a bit of olive oil to keep them from sticking to each other before cooking!

These recipes are easy for kids to make on their own, and everyone at the barbecue will love the finished products!

If your summer plans include plenty of backyard cookouts and neighborhood barbecues, get your kids involved in the meal planning and prep.

These six recipes are easy for kids to make on their own, and they all involve food they’re likely to eat without complaint! They’ll be excited to make these dishes and proud to set their contributions on the table when you arrive at the party.

Ants on a Log

This classic snack is a tasty option for those summer barbecues. Your kids can easily make them independently, and it’s an easy way to ensure they eat some protein and veggies during the party. If they’re old enough, they can cut the celery by themselves and choose fillings and toppings. Younger kids will need help with the chopping portions. Suggest various fillings—peanut butter, cream cheese (even Nutella for a dessert treat!)—and toppings like nuts, raisins, seeds, and even quartered grapes/berries.

Antipasto Kabobs

Elevate a meat-and-cheese sandwich with these kabobs. Kids often shy away from unknown food at parties, so using familiar ingredients in a fun new way is an excellent offering for the barbecue feast. Let the kids cut up the ingredients themselves (if they’re old enough), or set out pre-cut blocks of cheese, fruit, olives, and meat. Have the younger kids practice making patterns on the kabob skewers. Choose ingredients that are palatable to your kids, and have them make a batch with “new flavors” for the other guests to entice them to expand their culinary repertoire.

Photo: Mark Bowden via 123RF

Wheely-Good Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is always a staple at the summer barbecue, but making it more appealing for kids is an important upgrade. Choose a fun pasta shape like these wheels, and let them make everything independently (with some stovetop supervision if needed for the younger ones). You can buy pre-cut vegetables for even easier assembly, or use this opportunity for your kids to practice knife skills by cutting carrots, cheese, broccoli, cabbage, etc. Add whichever diced veggies you’d like! Buying premade dressing is also a straightforward way to season the salad. Plus, you can make your own if you’d like your kids to practice mixing and whisking.

Watermelon on a Stick

This simple recipe is a fun way to enjoy this juicy snack! Most kids will need adult help since cutting a whole watermelon can be daunting. Adults can slice the watermelon into one-inch-thick discs. Then, older kids can practice their knife skills by cutting those rounds into quarters. Adults should then cut a small slit in the rind of each quarter, just deep enough to go through the green part. Let the kids finish the job by putting large craft sticks into the slits for handles. These watermelon sticks are a hit at any block party since they’re so easy to eat on the go!

Grilled Chocolate Banana Foil Pack

These banana packs are a potassium-filled twist on classic s’mores, making them the perfect, easy-to-make dessert option. Your kids will love bringing a dish to the barbecue that can be “thrown on the grill” alongside the main dish and veggies. Let them assemble these foil packets at home. Then, they can help arrange them on the grill once the party starts. Even small kids can slice the banana open down the middle with a dull knife, then fill it with mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. Wrap it back in foil, then add crunchy cinnamon cereal after grilling for an added surprise!

Hot Dog on a Stick

These hot dogs are a great recipe for kids to prepare on their own before the barbecue begins. They can go right on the grill when it’s time to start cooking. Have kids poke a long skewer all the way through each hot dog, then coil-wrap with a piece of breadstick dough. You can also add cheese mixed into the dough for some extra flavor. If you’re stacking these on a plate for transportation to the party, brush the dough with a bit of olive oil to keep them from sticking to each other before cooking!

These recipes are easy for kids to make on their own, and everyone at the barbecue will love the finished products!