Fun Things to do with the Kids: Hands On and Food Fun

Creative workshops, volunteer programs, and fun with food.

Roberto Gonzalez

Fun Things to do with the Kids!

The Great Outdoors
Get Movin’
Out of the Ordinary/Out of this World
Simple Delights and Fun N Games
Hands On/Food Fun

Sling Some Mud!

Did you know that the City of Orlando’s Parks and Recreation Division operates a fully equipped pottery studio at their location on Parramore Avenue? Complete a project at Family Pottery Night (for kids 6 and older), held on Wednesdays from 6-7:30 p.m. Or bring your mini-Michelangelos and Mudslingers to a 3-class session for ages 3-5.

Pick Your Own Eggs

The coop’s open for picking on Fridays and Saturdays (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) at Lake Meadow Naturals in Ocoee. Ask the clerk in the Farm Store for cartons, then head into the chicken house to pick your own eggs, right from the hens’ nests. Tip: Wear long pants and closed-toe shoes (the hens get a little pecky—literally—defending their eggs). While there, explore the farm. There are goats, turkeys, and even beehives.


Do Some Good 

Volunteer programs that welcome children are not easy to find. Here are two ways your family can serve. 

Ever wonder what happens to all those half-used bars of soap and bottles of shampoo left behind at hotels? The international, Orlando-based nonprofit Clean the World is keeping them out of the landfill and putting them into the hands of those who need them most. Volunteers age 8 and older log thousands of hours each year by sorting hygiene products at work sessions held six days a week at the group’s Recycling Operation Center downtown.

The second Friday of each month is Family Volunteer Night at the Community Food & Outreach Center, at 150 W. Michigan St. in Orlando. This nonprofit group is dedicated to helping the working poor by selling deeply discounted groceries. All ages are welcome at these monthly gatherings to clean, organize and restock the grocery shelves (Mom or Dad: bring dishwashing gloves). Sessions are 5-8 p.m. and include training, a pizza dinner and hard, but rewarding, work.

Tools of the Trade

The first Saturday of each month at Orlando’s six area Home Depot stores, your child can become just like Bob the Builder and Handy Manny during the retailer’s free woodworking workshops. Children ages 5-12 are invited to participate in a craft project, like building a birdhouse, toolbox, fire truck or mail organizer. Children get to keep their handmade craft along with a workshop apron and a certificate of achievement. Workshops are 9 a.m.-noon.



Cook Together

At Chef Night, parents and kids learn to cook healthy meals together, as part of a small group led by well-known Orlando chefs and food personalities. Each event, presented by Edible Education Experience, features a healthy menu that can be replicated at home, a fun environment to cook in, an outing to the garden to forage for ingredients and a delicious shared meal. The conversation is nonstop, and participants learn as much from one another as they do from their chef, sharing tips about food allergies, hard-to-find ingredients, go-to weeknight recipes, and more. Chef Night is currently held in the kitchen at Orlando Junior Academy, but will move to the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House & Culinary Garden in College Park when it is completed later this year.


DIY Marshmallows

Hosted monthly at its quaint downtown Sanford café, Wondermade’s marshmallow workshops unfurl the world of artisanal marshmallows, a surprising and delicious diversion from the store-bought selections we’re used to. For $15 per person, attendees of this family-friendly, hands-on class create and decorate marshmallows while enjoying treats and drinks.

Sweet Escapes

Turn going out for a treat into an interactive and educational experience. 

At Krispy Kreme, kids’ eyes will glaze over as they witness dozens and dozens of doughnuts making their journey from the fryer through the sugar waterfall to the box. 

Every Monday is family night at Farris & Foster’s Famous Chocolate Factory in Baldwin Park, where families can learn the art of chocolate making.

At the Winter Park and Celebration Kilwin’s, you can watch the chefs making fudge, waffle cones, caramel apples and popcorn.

Saturday Pancake Day

When the family begs for pancakes, do you send them to get dressed so you can hit your favorite diner? Next time, make them at home. Here’s an easy recipe that even a 6-year-old can prepare with a little help. Your kids will love making them, and you’ll love not paying the bill. Best of all, you can wear your pajamas.

In a large bowl, combine:
2 cups flour (you can substitute half with whole wheat flour)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
In another bowl, mix:
2 cups milk 
¼ cup vegetable oil 
2 eggs

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until the large lumps disappear. If you have a griddle, heat it to 400 degrees. If using a pan, heat to medium-high (err toward medium if your stove runs hot). Lightly grease the pan or griddle with vegetable oil. When you see a little sizzle from a flick of water, the pan is ready. Pour the batter ¼ cup at a time. Watch for bubbles to form and pop in the center; then flip your pancakes. Kerrygold Irish Butter and real maple syrup are condiments you won’t find at the diner. 

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