• Jennifer Larson

Summer Fun: How to Sharpen Your Kids Culinary Skills

We’re diving into another family activity in this week’s Summer Fun series as we look at ways to take learning outside the classroom. I expect we’re all ready for a break (parents included!) from the weekly routine of alarm clocks, school days and homework.

It’s a holiday weekend (yes it really is the end of May!) and many families are preparing to gather with friends and family. So, this week we’re talking about cooking, and more specifically outdoor grilling and party planning to celebrate Memorial Day.

Memorial Day weekend is known for kicking off the grilling season, so we’re sharing some favorite recipes, outdoor games and other tips which give our kids a chance to sharpen their culinary skills, work together, and have fun too!

So fire up those barbecues, and let’s eat!

Outdoor Cooking as a Learning Opportunity

Learning opportunities don’t need to be extravagant lessons at home. Helping with chores around the house or trying a new recipe are all great ways to keep learning going over the summer. And we’re all about making sure summer learning does not feel like a typical school day!

Here’s three skills our kids can further develop while helping you plan your Memorial Day festivities.


Whether you are hosting a party at home, taking a road trip or doing a small family dinner, get your kids involved. Collaboration is all about teamwork, and these events are great opportunities for an “all hands on deck” attitude!

Executive Function

Planning, time management, organization and many other skills are necessary to pull off a dinner with friends and family. Invite your kids to help you plan out the weekend's events. They can help create the grocery list (ice cream’s probably a given!), make a timeline of tasks to be completed, or plan a few outdoor games (wiffle ball is a favorite at our house!). There’s endless opportunities for kids to work on their executive function skills.


Giving our kids time to be creative is a huge perk of summer. Consider pulling together a craft basket and letting you kids design some of the table decor. Try a new recipe or outdoor game. Being creative is all about doing things outside your normal routines.

Resources - Elementary

How Kids Can Help in the Kitchen

Learn how your child can participate in the kitchen and which skills cooking with you can develop. -

Quick BBQ Sauce Recipe

Use this recipe when making grilled or slow-cooked meat, such as our Barbecue Pork Sandwiches. - Martha Stewart

Kids Table Setting Ideas

Never a shortage of ideas on Pinterest! Let your kids design their own table and perhaps help with a few items on yours as well. - Pinterest

Resources - Middle/High

20 Memorial Day Recipes for a Next-Level Cookout

With the start of summer also comes the start of grilling season, so you might as well throw an epic cookout to celebrate. - Food & Wine

Grilling Safety Tips

Seven out of every 10 adults in the U.S. have a grill or smoker*, which translates to a lot of tasty meals. But it also means there’s an increased risk of home fires. - National Fire Protection Association

Memorial Day 2022: Shop Backyard Games for the Whole Family

To help you stock up on backyard entertainment, we've gathered the best outdoor games to keep the whole family entertained all summer long. - ET Online

Join the Discussion

Planning a holiday get together with friends and family is a great way to get kids off their devices and sharpen some of those ‘soft skills’ that researchers say are important for kids to learn regardless of what path they choose after high school.

Have a favorite grilling recipe? We’d love to hear from you!

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About the Author

Jennifer Larson is the founder and CEO of Hive Digital Minds, mother to four children, and passionate about finding innovative ways to engage parents in their child’s learning journey. Her company’s flagship product SchoolBzz is the culmination of Jennifer’s 17 years in education – working with thousands of parents and educators on their school marketing and engagement strategies. Before founding Hive Digital Minds, Jennifer led the efforts of two successful charter public school initiatives in Douglas County, Colorado. These schools have been recognized nationally for their educational programs and currently serve over 1,800 students in grades PK-12. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics from the University of California, Santa Barbara and also received her MBA from the University of Denver, Daniels College of Business. She enjoys speaking on the topics of school marketing, family engagement, entrepreneurship, and the future of work and frequently guest lectures at the University of Denver and several high schools in her local community. Jennifer can be reached at

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