Kids can make their own salsa using scissors. Here’s how.
Summertime is quickly winding down. Just a few more weeks until school starts. The countdown is on
If you’re like us… you look forward to summer break with high hopes and expectations that it’s just that… a big break!
Alas… the excitement of three months off quickly wears off… and summer boredom sets in around this time.
“Mom! I’m BORED!”
Next thing you know, the kids are looking to you for activities and entertainment. Next thing you know, you’re scrambling to find DIY crafts and educational opportunities to keep the kids’ summertime TV watching and video-game binge-playing to a minimum.
Museums, movies, theater, festivals–hit them all throughout the summer, and your wallet will be the one taking the hit.
Finding some fun healthy activities that introduce important skills that kids can build on at home and on a budget are key during the summer!
We love making scissor salsa with kids, and we have found that kids love it too! At Yard Hospitality, we might even consider ourselves experts in scissor salsa making with kids!
Through the Food Justice program offered at The Wynwood Yard over the past three years, we’ve made scissor salsa with about 1500 kids from all over Miami-Dade.
Here’s what we’ve discovered over the years:
- While many kids were excited by the idea of learning to make food, not everyone was jazzed about eating raw veggies.
- It helped to preface the activity with a brief introduction, which we’ve included below.
- It works best to introduce the kids to the activity in a small group, making sure that there is a good mix of kids. If you ensure that there are at least a few who eat a lot of veggies and who already like salsa, that will help ensure
highrate of success!
- There is a small investment associated with the activity, which is the purchase of kids’ scissors that are used only for kitchen activities. It’s important that salsa scissors are not mixed in with craft scissors.
- Kids will be more likely to try the food that they have prepared, and especially if they are amongst peers who are offering positive feedback. It will surprise you how the very kids who were most nervous about the activity end up loving their creation.
- Kids will love trying the recipe again and again once they learn the basics. Give them some creative license to add their own twist. Let them make it their own!
What to say
- Here are some key talking points to include in the introduction. Always remember to keep it positive.
- “Kids, today you get to learn a new recipe. We’ll use scissors to make a delicious, fresh salsa. When we’re done preparing it, you’ll have the opportunity to taste your creation!”
- “The first rule of making a recipe together is that we always show respect to one another and to the recipe. We only use positive words and keep negative words to ourselves. We do not want to ruin someone else’s experience by making them feel uncomfortable or ashamed.”
- “Saying ‘I don’t prefer that.’ is OK while saying ‘That’s gross.’ or ‘I’d never
eatthat.’ can hurt people’s feelings.”
- “You might feel a mix of emotions. Some of you might feel excited to create food, while others might feel nervous to make it, apprehensive to taste it, or already feel convinced you won’t like it, try to keep an open mind as you make the dish. YOU are creating it! If you do decide to try it at the end, you might actually surprise yourself… and like it!”
- “One of the very cool things about preparing food is that flavors come together in unexpected ways. It’s quite possible, and even probable, that even if you don’t prefer these flavors on their
own,when they are mixed together, and you add salt and lime, then eat them with tortilla chips, the flavors are completely different than if you had just eaten one of the ingredients alone.”
- “I encourage everyone to at least try your creation when we’re done. What’s the worst that can happen? You dislike it? Well ok, then take a drink and wash it away. What’s the best that can happen? You could LOVE it, and know how to make your new favorite dish! And THAT is pretty darn cool!”
Next, you offer a demo to show the kids the ingredients in the bowls. Go through the ingredients with them to identify them.
You can even ask them to share other ideas for ingredients that they might add into their salsa. Some suggestions could include mango or pineapple, corn, black beans, mint, radish, celery, garlic, or other varieties of onions.
Show the group how to use their scissors to break down each piece, one by one. When the vegetables are cut into smaller pieces, they will turn their scissors vertically to snip… snip… snip to really mash and mince the veggies into salsa form.
Make sure kids have all washed their hands thoroughly.
Now, let them go for it!
Depending on age and dexterity, kids may need varying levels of assistance.
I always leave some extra pieces of veggies on a plate in the center in case any kids love a particular ingredient and want to add.
When the salsa is almost finished, squeeze some lime into each bowl, and a pinch of salt. Kids can stir it all together with the scissors, giving it one final mash.
Place bowls of chips on the tables once most of the kids’ salsa is ready, and allow them to dig in! Encourage everyone to try their creations. Remind them that the chips are there to scoop the salsa and eat their creations, not to eat alone. (We all know what tortilla chips taste like! They are just part of the experiment, not the actual snack.)
Discuss their impressions, comparing what they thought when they began the activity to what they thought when tasting their creation. Ask them how they might make it differently the next time they use this recipe.
Perhaps allow them to make their own recipe cards to take home with notes on ingredients.
In conclusion, remind the kids that it’s great to try new recipes that include fresh veggies, and to always look at it as an experiment.
Whether or not we love it, in the end, that does not determine success. The success comes in the trying, the creating, the tasting, and the knowing that we made it! We win when we are empowered to create our own food!
Recipe: Scissor Salsa
2 pints cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips (optional)
1 cucumber, seeded, cut into 3” strips longwise
½ piece of green onion
½ bunch of cilantro
2 limes, cut into wedges
kosher salt or sea salt
1 bag tortilla chips
6 kids’ scissors
1. Cut up the first 5 ingredients with a knife according to instructions.
2. Divide into each bowl: small handful cherry tomatoes, a few pieces each of red and green pepper, 1-2 pieces green onion, and a few leafy sprigs of cilantro.
3. Use scissors to break down veggies into salsa.
4. Squeeze lime and pinch of salt. Allow kids to finish salsa.
5. Put out chips for kids to eat with salsa.
6. Scoop, taste, enjoy. Repeat!