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Cooking up Some Summer Fun

May 17, 2012

Many children are naturally artistic, though this may not necessarily mean with a paintbrush and easel. Outside of the visual and performing arts opportunities out there, culinary arts are taken quite seriously during the summer months all across the country. Aspiring chefs can try their hand at cooking, baking and creating edible masterpieces they’ll be proud of.

Children’s Culinary Creations in Los Altos Hills is run by Chef Sharon, who takes the time to patiently teach not only hands-on cooking, but also independence, self-reliance and other life skills essential for any future career.

Cucina Bambini in San Jose takes a cue from its name with an Italian cooking course for kids aged 6-10. Other opportunities over the summer include Cupcake and Cake Pop Craze, Lil’ Chefs Go to the Circus and much more! Hours and ages vary per session.

Over in Pennsylvania, Lavner Camps features a wide repertoire of enrichment courses, including Culinary Arts and similarly so does Penn Charter Summer Camps. These Philadephia area camps are great because they embrace a more traditional camp schedule, inspiring children to experience a diverse array of activities. Young chefs may develop in such an environment that is low pressure and intentionally only covers the basics.

Back in the Bay Area, Osher Marin JCC Camp Kehillah teaches children of all faiths a variety of activities including cake decorating and cooking. For around $300 per week, your child will also learn the fundamentals of Jewish culture and go on various nature adventures.

Camp Doodles focuses on a variety of interests including cooking, and older kids are able to take stove-top cooking classes as well as the more basic things youngsters learn at the San Francisco, San Rafael or Mill Valley locations. Similarly, Celsius and Beyond offers one-week rotating themes throughout the summer, including International Top Chef which teaches children the method and chemistry behind the various cooking techniques found around the world. If you’re in the San Francisco area, the Exploratorium also offers cooking-themed summer activities, as does the San Francisco Friends School Summer Camp.

Many summer camps also offer one-week isolated sessions focusing on a single cooking or baking method. Baking with Design, a session held through Upper Main Line YMCA in Pennsylvania, teaches children how to bake various sweet treats from scratch, as well as the art of decorating them.

Kids on Campus at Bucks County Community College also teaches children aged 10-13 the basics of kitchen careers with Kid Kuisine I. This week focuses on proper hygiene, safe food handling and both cooking & baking principles. They then are broken off into teams where they get to create their own dishes. Later the summer, rejoin Kinds on Campus for IncredIble, Edible Experiments and Kitchen Magic! Where kids learn how science works in the home everywhere from the sink’s soap dish to the ice cream they love to eat during the summer months.

Cooking camps are the way to go wherever you live if you are looking to teach your child some independence and a basic life skillset. It can also be a lot of fun and inspire them to dig deeper into a newfound hobby once school starts back up again.

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