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Northampton, MA

Deanna F. Cook is a kids' cookbook and kids'  activity book author. She is the author of Cooking Class, Teddy Bear Doctor, The Kids' Multicultural Cookbook, and Kids' Pumpkin Projects. She is also the content director at, a kids cooking kit, and a former editor at Disney, FamilyFun magazine, and Scholastic. 

Deanna's Blog

4 Fun Ways to Keep Kids Learning All Summer Long!

Deanna Cook

With school out for the summer, now is a great time for kids to dive into a good book. Why not spark their interest in a different type of summer reading and hand them an activity book? Not only will kids enjoy a little carefree fun as they try their hand at cooking, crafting, and getting creative, they’ll continue to build math, reading, science, and problem-solving skills that will serve them well when they return to the classroom this fall. Here are a few of my favorite activities from my kids books that are perfect for this time of year! 

1. Make Breakfast From Scratch! Now that the mad dash to catch the school bus in the morning is done for the summer, kids have more time to make breakfast. Share this recipe for French Toast on a Stick made with local berries, from Cooking Class. As kids learn their way around the kitchen, they’ll practice skills like cracking eggs, cooking over the stovetop, and following directions (not to mention feeling the satisfaction of making a nourishing meal with their own two hands)!

2. Visit a Farmer's Market. Summer is prime farmers’ market season — a feast for the senses and a lesson in learning about local food. Before you and the kids head to your town market, print out these scavenger hunt sheets from Farmers Market Create-and-Play Activity Book (forthcoming this fall!) and send your little eaters on a search for yummy treasures. Talk with them about making healthy food choices, and don’t forget to bring a few fruits and veggies home to try.

3. Open a Pet Vet Clinic. On a rainy day, gather up stuffed animals and set up a care clinic at home. With printable forms and signs from Teddy Bear Doctor, kids will have everything they need to open a doctor’s office for hours of play, plus science, math, and writing skills.

4. Build a Barn in a Box. For the horse-crazy kid in your household, creating a perfect home for model horses is as easy as 1-2-3. All they need are a few basics you probably already have on hand and directions from Horse Play! When they’re done, download this Barn-in-a-Box Props for creative ways to accessorize and bring the barn to life! Happy summer!