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Easy Afternoon Snacks Kids Can Make For Themselves

With simple, satisfying recipes kids can put together on their own, the dreaded words “I’m hungry! Can I have a snack?” are a thing of the past.

Erica Silverstein

snacks kids can make themselves


As the saying goes, give a kid a snack, and they'll want another snack five minutes later. But teach them to make their own snacks ... and you've created a self-sufficient snack machine who might even make some snacks for you someday.

Next time the after-school munchies hit, pull up one of these 10 easy afternoon snacks kids can make for themselves. Kids gain independence, kitchen skills, and full bellies — and parents gain a few minutes' peace while the chefs happily stuff their faces. Win-win!

1. Ants on a Log

Ants on a log


Parents might remember this simple kid-favorite recipe from their childhood. Shmear celery sticks (the logs) with peanut butter and dot them with raisins (the ants). This fun snack combines protein with a satisfying crunch and a silly name. For variety, sub in any spread (almond butter, sunbutter, cream cheese) or choose alternative “ants” (craisins, chocolate chips).

2. Open-Faced Banana Sandwiches

2. Open-Faced Banana Sandwiches


Bananas and peanut butter are the dynamic duo of the snack world. Kids can easily put together their own satisfying open-faced banana sandwiches by topping a graham cracker or lightly toasted freezer waffle with their favorite nut butter spread and slices of banana. Make it a sweeter snack by swapping out the peanut butter for chocolatey Nutella.

3. Yogurt Parfaits

Yogurt parfait


Parfaits sound French and fancy, but they’re snacks even 5-year-olds can make. Layer yogurt, cut-up fruit or berries, and granola in a juice glass to make this easy after-school snack. Drizzle honey on top if you like. The littlest snackers might want to skip the picture-perfect layers and dump the ingredients in a plastic bowl. The parfait still tastes as good.

4. Crazy Crudite Creations

Crazy Crudite Creations


Pre-cut veggie sticks and slices dipped in ranch dressing or hummus are a quick and easy kid snack. Make eating vegetables more fun by encouraging kids to make art out of their crudite platter. They can create people with cucumber heads, carrot bodies, and celery stick arms and legs, or maybe a truck with cherry tomato wheels carrying a load of broccoli. It’s a snack and a craft in one.

5. Smoothies



Kids old enough to safely use a blender can enjoy tons of easy after-school snack recipes for fruit smoothies. Throw together milk, yogurt, berries or fruit, and ice for the kitchen-sink approach; or experiment with add-ins such as peanut butter, honey, avocado, greens, and flaxseed. Don’t want to wing it? There are plenty of kid-friendly smoothie recipes online.

6. No-Bake Energy Bites

No-Bake Energy Bites

Chef Savvy

Energy bites feel like a sweet treat, since honey and chocolate chips are staple ingredients. But — surprise! — they have enough protein for an afternoon reboot. Kids can easily mix up these five-ingredient no-bake energy bites on their own. The trouble will be patiently waiting for the mixture to chill before rolling into balls and gobbling them up.

7. Microwave Nachos

Microwave Nachos


Kid-friendly snack recipes sometimes involve a few shortcuts to avoid sharp knives or hot stoves. Nachos are not supposed to be made in the microwave, but if your kid needs to put some fiesta into his afternoon siesta, the microwave gets the job done. The best part of this DIY snack is each child can customize the nacho toppings to their liking.

8. DIY Snack Mixes

Snack mix


Of course you can buy premade snack mixes, but there are always too many weird ingredients and an imperfect ratio of nuts to chocolate (or too much coconut — bleah!). Instead, kids can custom-make their own snack mixes by combining their choice of dried fruit, chocolate chips, candy, nuts, and cereal. Overwhelmed with pantry indecision? Follow these recipes for classic trail mix and Chex mix.

9. Pinwheel Sandwiches

Pinwheel Sandwiches

Dinner at the Zoo

Kids who are old enough to safely use a knife can whip up bite-size pinwheel sandwiches in 5 minutes flat. Take a tortilla or piece of flat bread, schmear it with cream cheese or your favorite spread, and top with veggies and/or some deli meat. Then roll it up into a log and slice. Try this rainbow veggie pinwheel recipe for an especially colorful and healthy snack.

10. Hard-Boiled Egg Boats

Hard Boiled Egg Boats

Things to Share and Remember

Argh, when ye mateys are sick of spinach, a hard-boiled egg boat will make yer landlubbers yell “Yo ho ho!” The swabby version uses half of an egg for the Jolly Roger and a cheese wedge on a toothpick for a sail. But hardy seadogs will want to loot the pantry for this more elaborate version that incorporates a pretzel stick for the mast and goldfish crackers for the creatures of the briny deep.