The EASIEST (and most FUN!) after-school snack.

Oh my goodness. I think you’re going to LOVE this idea. It’s as EASY as can be, and it’s absolutely no fail. Whatever food you’ve got in the house — raisins, fresh veggies, nuts, cheese, frozen peas, olives, and on, and on — can be used.

This is why it’s such a hit at our house:

1) It works with anything we have on hand. You can go savory with olives and pickles and cheese and broccoli and almonds and cherry tomatoes. Or think rainbow, and pick red raspberries, orange carrots, green peas, and blueberries. You can use dried, fresh or frozen foods. Raid your pantry. No special ingredients required!

Rainbow snacks foods.The EASIEST (and most FUN!) after-school snack.

2) It’s creative. Our kids love making patterns and designing their letters. Will they go upper case or lower case? How about script? (As a bonus: it gets them thinking about typography — something I hope all of my kids have at least passable knowledge about. Is the O they are making rounder, or more elongated — and what sort of personality does each letter have?) If your kids aren’t spellers yet, you can create their name-in-food for them as a surprise. Or, you could even write their letters on the parchment with pencil, and have your child trace the letters with food.

The EASIEST (and most FUN!) after-school snack. Even big kids and grownups will enjoy this.After-school snack idea: write your name with food! Easy and fun.

3) You can customize the snack with your child’s favorite foods, or, you can use it as a great way to introduce kids to new flavors. Ask them to make each letter out of a different food! And you can manage the portions by having the kids make the letters bigger or smaller. If your child has a long name, you could go with initials and make them big. Or use the full name and make them small. Or maybe use a nickname.

After-school snack idea: write your name with food! Easy and fun. (Raid your pantry! Use up leftovers!)After-school snack idea: write your name with food! Easy and fun. (And YUMMY!)After-school snack idea. Easy, fun and yummy! Use whatever ingredients you have on hand.

4) It’s easy! The how to is pretty darn simple. We use strips of baking parchment for our “trays” because we can make them as long as we need. Then, I set out the building materials. Things like raisins and cherry tomatoes and peas can be set out as is. For foods like carrots or cheese, some simple chopping will be required. Try 5 or 6 food options today, and next week, you can try a whole different assortment of ingredients. You can arrange the options on one big plate. Or place them each in a little bowl.

5) We’ve noticed our kids are more relaxed and tell us more about their day if their hands are busy and the chatting is casual. This activity works wonderfully for encouraging conversation.

Play with your food! Write your name using different ingredients. EASY & FUN after-school snack.Play with your food! Write your name using different ingredients. EASY & FUN after-school snack.

6) Though it’s simple as can be and requires nothing special to pull it off, this snack activity feels special, it feels out of the ordinary. And kids of all ages (meaning YOU too!) will love working on these. There are no rules or lines to stay within — it’s the best sort of playing-with-your-food.

We all know school days can be long and hard for kids. When they get home from school, my kids are sometimes completely wiped out. Maybe they’re mastering a new math concept and their brain is exhausted. Or maybe they had an emotional exchange with a friend and are feeling tender-hearted. Whatever they might be feeling, we’re all about an after-school snack as soon as they get home. It’s one part recharging with some sustenance, and it’s another part connecting with the kids as they report about their day. Anytime we can make after-school snacks feel a little special is aces in my book!

How about you? Would your kids enjoy something like this? I’ll bet you’ve got everything you need for this snack in your kitchen right this minute. Try it with your kids today!