The reality of living in the average New York City apartment in winter is that everyone—kids and parents alike—goes a little stir-crazy. Without parks and playgrounds to run around in and burn off that crazy puppylike energy, my two toddlers have been more tantrum-prone than usual. Which means that I and my wonderfully patient babysitter are desperately on the hunt for at-home activities that will keep them entertained...and hopefully have a little educational value, too. That's why I was thrilled to discover the Valentine's Heart Tart Kit from Foodstirs.
The idea behind the company is simple and charming: food crafting kits for kids ages three to 12 with fun, healthy, easy-to-follow recipes (eight steps or less) and smart packaging. Dry ingredients and specialty cooking tools and craft supplies are included, and kits are shipped to your door. Recipes are developed around a specific skill—measuring, basting, etc.—and then tested by professionals as well as by a team of cooks ranging in age from four to 14.
My own little cooks and their neighbors gave the entire experience two big thumbs up. They were captivated by the packaging and couldn't wait to get started following along on the skill sheet. I mean, heart-shaped tarts filled with jam and baked on popsicle sticks? And wrapped in goodie bags embellished with gift tags and bows? Instant winner. Here are some candid snaps my babysitter took of all the fun:
Those kids were so excited to get their hands in the bowl and mix the dough. A simple design made by pressing fork tines down around the edge of each heart made the tarts look even prettier.
Not bad for a bunch of three-year-olds, eh? The best part was that it was an afternoon activity that kept them enraptured and awoke their love of food and cooking in an entirely new way. Now if only I could have a Foodstirs kit for each of the remaining days this winter.