Kids Cook With Heart

If you’re a frequent visitor to the Halle Heart Children’s Museum or follow us on social media, you may have heard of our popular Toddler Test Kitchen program, in which little ones learn to cook simple, healthy recipes in a fun, hands-on environment.

But do toddlers get to have all the cooking fun at the HHCM?

No way! We’re excited to share that now kids ages 7-12 have a cooking program of their own in the museum’s Kitchen Cafe. Chefs-in-training are invited to join Kids Cook with Heart, a brand-new series sponsored by the Junior League of Phoenix. One Saturday a month, elementary-age students can join in an hour and a half session that incorporates healthy eating education with cooking age-appropriate nutritious recipes.

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The HHCM believes that it’s never too early to start a lifetime of heart health. Research shows that the more people cook for themselves, the healthier they are likely to be. If kids in this formative grade school age group can learn the valuable skills of cooking healthy meals in the home kitchen (and share this knowledge with their families), they’ll have a head start on the prevention of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. Children in underserved communities are particularly vulnerable to increased risk of these health issues, which is part of the reason Kids Cook with Heart is totally FREE! Anyone can join by registering HERE.

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Our first session of the program kicked off this past Saturday, June 17th. A kitchen full of junior chefs was instructed by guest chef Ellen from The Farm at South Mountain, a local establishment known for its commitment to sustainable, seasonal foods. A spirit of culinary adventure prevailed, as Chef Ellen invited students to try some unusual veggies—a Persian cucumber and Zebra Stripe and Indigo Rose heirloom tomatoes. These seasonal delights were included as ingredients in the Summer Corn Salad on the menu for the day. Nothing says summer like grilled corn!

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Throughout the course of the class, junior chefs were given the responsibility of cooking ears of corn on a grill (no small task even for adults), chopping additional ingredients to add to the mix, and honing their chefs’ palates by tasting and adjusting seasonings like lime juice, salt, and pepper.

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In addition to the hands-on cooking portion of the experience, our budding chefs took a break from the kitchen and participated in one of our favorite museum activities, Video Game Olympics, which incorporates physical movement into something all kids love, video games!

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There’s more where this came from! Be sure to secure a spot for your 7-12-year-old child at any of our upcoming dates of Kids Cook with Heart.

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Mother’s Day Membership Special

Mom-and-daughter Mother's Day Membership Special

How do you decide what to get your mom for Mother’s Day? Maybe you ask yourself, “What kinds of things is Mom into?” and go from there. If your mom is into cooking, for example, you might get her some nice cookware or kitchen gadget she doesn’t already have. If she’s into exercise, you might get her some pretty workout clothes or the latest pedometer. And if she’s into underwater basket weaving, you’ll get her some basket reeds and a snorkel…because, hey, that’s what she’s into.

One thing most moms are into is their kids. Spending quality time with their kids tends to make mom-hearts happy. The Halle Heart Children’s Museum knows this very well–after all, we’re all about hearts! That’s why, for Mother’s Day, we’re offering a membership special. What mom wouldn’t love to be able to spend time with her kids visiting the world’s only museum devoted to educating about the human heart and heart-healthy lifestyle? And what mom wouldn’t love member discounts on other fun activities and programs she can do with her kids?

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To honor moms, our Mother’s Day Membership Special offers a choice of a 2-person, 3-person, or 4-person membership at reduced rates. A 2-person membership (regularly $55) is only $35, a 3-person membership (regularly $70) is only $45, and a 4-person membership (regularly $85) is only $55!

Membership benefits include one year of:

  • Unlimited admission to the Halle Heart Children’s Museum
  • Complimentary and discounted admission to monthly programming
  • 20% off birthday packages
  • 20% off facility rentals for meetings, receptions, etc.
  • Exclusive member events and hours

So whether your mom is into healthy eating, exercise, underwater basket weaving, or just spending time with her kids, give the HHCM a call to purchase her membership today, or visit our membership page to purchase online–and don’t forget to enter a Mother’s Day discount code!

Mother’s Day discount codes are as follows:

2-person membership: WEHEARTMOMS2

3-person membership: WEHEARTMOMS3

4-person membership: WEHEARTMOMS4

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We’ll see you (and your mom) soon!


By |April 26th, 2017|Categories: Membership|Tags: |Comments Off on Mother’s Day Membership Special

Camp Heart Beat

People often ask, “Is the Halle Heart Children’s Museum open for tours during the summer?” The answer: a resounding YES!

As the weather heats up outside, things only get cooler in the HHCM. During the summer, the museum switches gears from our regular school field trip experience to offer the same quality education in a fun summer camp format!

Cafe Camp Heart Beat

Camp Heart Beat visitors can look forward to a two-hour tour through eight interactive exhibits that teach about the cardiovascular system and lifestyle choices for heart-healthy living. Our knowledgeable Heart Guides explain the importance of eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise, and always saying no to tobacco. Campers can listen to animal heartbeats, play a round of mini golf through a giant capillary, and even cool off in our fully equipped Goldman Legacy movie theater. Plus, the Camp Heart Beat package includes the added benefit of a heart-healthy lunch provided by St. Mary’s Food Bank.

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Camp Heart Beat tours are available May 30-August 31st and begin at 10:00am or 12:00pm. Admission per child is $2.50, along with one free chaperone per five children.

So if you’re a summer camp, church group, day care, or other group seeking a unique, educational (and air conditioned!) experience for kids, Camp Heart Beat is just the thing! Reservations are required, so visit our Camp Heart Beat reservations page to see available tour times and to register your group online today.

Birthday Parties at HHCM

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Imagine a birthday party where your child could have plenty of space to explore, supplement their science education, and even eat a healthy snack. Now imagine the birthday fun taking place in a colorful, one-of-a-kind environment tailor-made for kids…one that parents don’t have to set up beforehand or clean afterward!

Birthday parties at the Halle Heart Children’s museum provide all this and more!

For an unforgettable birthday for a child of any age, it doesn’t get much more unique than the HHCM. With everything from the heart-pumping action of exercise-based Xbox games to the comfort of a real movie theater, kids and parents alike can enjoy two hours of fun for an affordable price. Up to ten children can party with Lub Dub for $150 (or up to 20 kids for $200 or 35 for $300), which includes:

  • admission to the museum for the whole group
  • a heart-healthy snack and fruit-infused water
  • decorations
  • goodie bags
  • use of our Kitchen Café or Activity Center

The museum can also accommodate larger parties and offers a variety of add-ons, such as the use of our large Activity Center or the ability to play a movie of your choice in our Goldman Legacy Theater.

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Last Saturday a very special young man named Ishaan celebrated his fifth birthday with a Pokémon-themed party at the museum. Kitchen Café colors just happened to coordinate perfectly with Pokémon colors, along with customized linens and balloons provided for the occasion. To kick off the party, friends and family gathered for lunch in the Kitchen Café.

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After lunch, the group had ample time to explore the museum’s eight exhibits. Kids and parents learned about the circulatory system in the Follow Your Heart exhibit, listened to animal heartbeats in the All Creatures Great and Small exhibit, and went “shopping” for foods with just a heart-healthy amount of fat and calories in the Marketplace exhibit. When it was time to go, guests were sent home with goodie bags. These bright green mini-backpacks were packed with Lub Dub stickers, an Admit One ticket for a future visit to the museum, and even a recipe book.

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In the end, everyone agreed that the party was fun, educational and healthy…

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Well, mostly healthy…!

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To schedule your birthday party at the Halle Heart Children’s Museum, call today at (602) 414-2800. See our Birthday Parties Page for more information!

By |April 11th, 2017|Categories: Events|Tags: , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Birthday Parties at HHCM

Arizona Gives Day 2017


Blue_InvestAZ-01-2 Arizona Gives Day 2017Have you heard of Arizona Gives Day?

If you haven’t, allow us to introduce you to this statewide, 24-hour, online giving campaign that’s all about helping people find, learn about, and contribute to the causes they believe in. Taking place the first Tuesday in April every year, Arizona Gives Day is an meaningful way to be a part of a mass boost for philanthropy in our state. Arizona non-profits have an economic impact of $22.4 billion (more than 8 percent of Arizona’s gross state product) and provide 325,000 jobs, meaning they do good not just for the individuals they serve, but for our entire state. Arizona Gives Day provides an opportunity for any Arizonan to reflect on this impact and choose a nonprofit to support financially.

The Halle Heart Children’s Museum is very pleased to be a part of this wonderful charitable event!

As a non-profit entity, the Halle Heart Children’s Museum exists to provide education for children and adults about how to lead heart-healthy lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. We think it’s a cause anyone can be passionate about! With exciting field trips for schools, numerous interactive programs for children from toddlers to teens, and an all-around awe-inspiring 8 major exhibits (all for the lowest admission fee in town), we believe we’re building a healthier tomorrow.

We hope you’ll join us by choosing the Halle Heart Museum as your cause of choice on Arizona Gives Day. We invite you to donate now by visiting our Arizona Gives Day page.

Thank you for helping us make a difference in the lives of children and the future of Arizona’s health!

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By |April 3rd, 2017|Categories: Events|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Arizona Gives Day 2017

How Sodium Affects Your Heart

If you’re an American adult, you’ve probably heard that too much sodium can be bad for your heart. Perhaps your doctor has asked you to cut back on sodium-heavy foods to protect your heart health, or maybe you’ve made that decision for yourself. Leaving the saltshaker off the table, cutting back on processed foods, or choosing low-sodium canned goods are all great choices, but have you ever wondered WHY excess sodium spells bad news for your heart?

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The process by which sodium affects heart health isn’t complicated. Salt attracts water. Picture your blood vessels as pipes–just like the pipes running through your home–with water (aka your blood) flowing through them. When too much salt is introduced into your “pipes,” fluid begins to build inside. If too much fluid accumulates, the pressure in the pipes will rise. In your home, you’ll eventually have a plumbing emergency. In your body, as the pressure pushes on the walls of your blood vessels, you’ll eventually develop high blood pressure.

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The strain created by high blood pressure takes its toll on the cardiovascular system. The body responds to the stress of increased pressure in the arteries by causing them to weaken or harden. When arteries are weak or hard, the life-giving blood on its way to your heart will have a much harder time reaching its destination, potentially resulting in a blockage that leads to a heart attack.

Sodium recommendations are currently set at 2,400 mg/day, and will soon be changing to 2,300 mg/day, thanks in part to the American Heart Association’s lobbying efforts. But the average American takes in 3,400mg/day–40% more than recommended! It’s not hard to do. Americans get 75% of their daily sodium from processed foods, which we all know are pervasive in our society.

There are many ways to limit sodium in your diet (and they don’t all mean eating flavorless food)! Great flavors come in many forms. Try experimenting with other flavors like garlic, herbs and spices, or lemon juice when cooking at home. Choosing fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible, rinsing canned vegetables and beans, taking the saltshaker off the table, and simply reading food labels can all make a big difference in your salt consumption. The American Heart Association has also identified what are known as “the Salty Six”–foods that are a lot higher in sodium than most of us think.

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Whatever path you take to reducing sodium in your diet, you can feel great knowing that you have done your heart a service! Healthy blood vessels mean healthy blood pressure, and healthy blood pressure is always a good thing for your heart.


By |March 28th, 2017|Categories: Health & Nutrition|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on How Sodium Affects Your Heart

8 Best Active Video Games for Kids

If you could tune in for a moment to a guided tour stopping at The Beat Goes On exhibit at the Halle Heart Children’s Museum, odds are you would hear the Heart Guide talking about one important aspect of heart health: keeping active. Each group of schoolchildren that gathers in this exhibit learns about how getting enough physical activity every day can help maintain healthy weight, boost mood, improve immunity, and—most relevant to the museum’s mission—prevent heart disease. For a generation that increasingly seems to spend more time in front of screens and less time engaged in active play, this is critical education.

One of the American Heart Association’s Guiding Values is “meeting people where they are.” In the case of physical activity for kids, this can sometimes mean meeting them on the playground and meeting them on a screen. To this end, the Beat Goes On exhibit features three XBox Kinect consoles–(who knew you’d get to play video games at a museum?)—where kids get to play a heart-pumping round of Fruit Ninja.

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The research around exercise-based video games is encouraging! A 2016 study published in Global Pediatric Health showed that children who participated regularly in video games that required physical activity were more likely to take up forms of non-gaming exercise. When paired with other activities, there’s no reason why video games can’t play a part in kids’ 60-minutes-a-day exercise requirement.

There are tons of great video games to choose from to get kids up and moving with their whole bodies (not just their thumbs)! Here are 8 of our favorites.

  1. XBox Kinect Fruit Ninja

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This game featured during the Halle Heart Museum’s school tours turns kids into a whirling dervish of fruit destruction, slicing and dicing with their hands, arms, and even legs. Somewhere there’s got to be a giant smoothie made with all that fruit!

  1. Wii Just Dance Kids

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Just Dance Kids tops all the lists of best exercise games. With over 40 dances and plenty of songs, this one is sure to get kids to bust a move and burn some calories!

  1. XBox Kinect Rush Disney/Pixar

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This inventive game immerses kids in the worlds of their favorite Disney/Pixar movies. Guided by the action on the screen, kids use their bodies to help characters swim, jump, climb, or run through familiar movie scenes.

  1. Wii Sports Resort

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When you think of video games as exercise, Wii Sports Resort is the most “traditional” of the bunch, with golf, cycling, archery, bowling, and other options. This version has been upgraded from the original Wii Sports program to include plenty of new and extra sports challenges.

  1. Guitar Hero (available on multiple video game systems)

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For a bit of a lower-intensity workout, check out Guitar Hero. (Or even for a high-intensity workout—after all, kids can take just about any activity and make it a full-body workout!)

  1. XBox Dance Central

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Much like Just Dance Kids, this highly reviewed game teaches dance moves to fun and funky songs. Bonus: at about $9.00, it’s one of the lowest-priced games around.

  1. Wii Nickelodeon Fit

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Nickelodeon Fit was developed in collaboration with an exercise science expert specifically to improve kids’ heart health! Players perform activities with their favorite Nickelodeon characters, like jumping rope with the Backyardigans, biking with Dora the Explorer, and river rafting with Diego.

  1. XBox Kinect Sports

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Soccer, beach volleyball, track and field, and boxing in your living room? It’s all possible when kids play XBox Kinect Sports.

To get your kids active through video games, join us at the Halle Heart Children’s Museum every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at 3:00 P.M. for Video Game Olympics (free with admission)! Click here for all upcoming dates.

By |March 23rd, 2017|Categories: Physical Activity|Tags: , , , , , , |Comments Off on 8 Best Active Video Games for Kids

Get Moving!

It’s a Friday morning at the Halle Heart Children’s Museum and fitness instructor Hilda Young is ready and waiting. In yoga pants and tennis shoes, she moves quickly throughout the 9-1-1 Action Theater exhibit space, setting up exercise circuits. She turns on upbeat music and the scene is set for an hour-long workout.

Her participants? The toddlers of Get Moving!

The American Heart Association recommends 60 minutes of activity a day for children age 2 and older, and the children arriving for Get Moving!are here to do just that. If you’ve ever wondered what a group fitness class for toddlers looks like, this is it: a safe, open, supervised space for little ones to work out their wiggles. During their time in the class, kids who are expert walkers up through age seven can move from station to station doing activities like:


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Bunny Hopping Through Hula Hoops

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Stepping Through Tires

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Crawling Under a Parachute

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Walking Across a Mini Balance Beam

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And of course, for children seven and under, there’s plenty of caregiver involvement, too. Parents and grandparents cheer their little ones on as they perform various activities—and can even join in themselves. In fact, there may have been one mom getting funky with a light-up hula hoop during Friday’s class, and a grandma who showed she’s still got it by doing a somersault on the tumbling mats.

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Every week of Get Moving!looks a little different. In addition to the circuit-style workout, kids can expect to spend some sessions playing interactive games or learning dance steps. Many of the activities are the kind that can be done anywhere, so the fun can continue at home!

This all plays into Hilda’s ultimate goal for the class. As she explains, “The mission of Get Moving!is to help children from a young age to develop a healthy lifestyle, and incorporate fitness as a natural part of their lives by making fitness fun.” If children can learn that physical activity is something to look forward to, their future will be in a good shape—literally!

Join us for Get Moving!every other Friday at 10:00am at the Halle Heart Children’s Museum for $5 per child. See the museum’s event calendar for all upcoming dates.

CPR and First Aid Training at HHCM

When Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb of the BeeGees wrote “Stain’ Alive,” they probably never imagined that their disco hit would become an anthem used in CPR classes around the world. But at 104 beats per minute, the high tenor ballad we all know from Saturday Night Fever matches the tempo range of the American Heart Association’s recommended 100-200 chest compressions per minute in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, better known as CPR. With its catchy, memorable melody and chorus that reflects the mission of CPR, the song is a helpful teaching tool.

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But CPR is about a lot more than busting out our disco moves. It’s about saving lives.

In the event of a heart attack, CPR can double or triple a victim’s survival rate. For every minute without CPR post-heart attack, the victim’s survival rate drops 7-10%. But 70% of Americans report feeling helpless to act during a cardiac emergency, in most cases because they have not been trained on this potentially lifesaving procedure. Have you?

If you’ve never been CPR trained, your reasons for not doing so may be varied. Maybe you’ve worried you would have to perform mouth-to-mouth on a total stranger. Maybe you’ve wanted to but just never made the time, or maybe you’ve never imagined the necessity of CPR arising in your own life.

If you’ve had these objections, there’s good news—and some sobering news. Studies have shown that hands-only CPR is as effective as mouth-to-mouth, and in 2008 the mouth-to-mouth requirement was done away with. (So no kissing strangers!)

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And while we all hope to never have to use CPR, the reality is that heart disease remains the leading cause of death for Americans, with 715,000 heart attacks and 610,000 heart disease-related deaths occurring annually. We likely know someone who has had to use CPR on a loved one at some point. After all, around 80% of all out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the home. Taking a couple of hours on a Saturday to educate ourselves on something so simple yet so beneficial begins to seem a small sacrifice when we realize its life-saving potential.

So why not sign up to get CPR certified today? The American Heart Association offers CPR and First Aid training right here at the Halle Heart Children’s Museum in Tempe! Register online here for our upcoming class Saturday, March 25th–or if you are registering seven days or fewer before this event, please call the museum’s front desk at (602) 414-2800 to reserve your spot. You can also check out our calendar for all other training opportunities. Attendance is free for the first portion, which covers the techniques used in CPR. If you would like to be also trained in First Aid and receive CPR certification, a cost of $35 covers materials and certification. Please note that you will receive an email with instructions for some pre-class work if you choose to become certified.

(And finally, if it’s a secret disco phobia that’s kept you has kept you away from CPR training, never fear! These days, instructors are updating their CPR anthems from “Stayin’ Alive” to newer, faster-tempo pop songs. Perhaps your instructor will incorporate the latest Justin Timberlake, Shakira, or Katy Perry tune into your session. CPR is for everyone, old and young, experienced and inexperienced, disco lovers and top 40 rockers!)

By |March 1st, 2017|Categories: Events|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on CPR and First Aid Training at HHCM

Toddler Test Kitchen

When you first hear the words “Toddler Test Kitchen,” it might reasonably conjure up images of chaos. After all, any parent can attest that usually when you mix toddlers and food, you can expect spaghetti sauce on the walls, maple syrup as hair gel, and itty bitty grains of rice embedded in your kitchen grout. Many of us shy away from cooking with our kids for fear of culinary disaster.

At the Halle Heart Children’s Museum’s weekly Toddler Test Kitchen, however, it’s a different story. This one-of-a-kind healthy cooking class invites children 6 and under to spend an hour in a toddler-friendly environment making healthy recipes with their parents or caregivers, from prepping ingredients to enjoying the finished product. By taking part in the class, kids learn that cooking can be creative and fun—and parents go home with recipes that even a toddler can safely help with!

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Last Monday, eight children and their parents arrived at the heart museum’s professional-grade kitchen, where ingredient stations awaited them on high-top tables. The tables were spread with a colorful array of ingredients to make a Southwestern-Style Baked Spaghetti Squash, including green peppers, bright red tomatoes, black beans, corn, spices, and (of course) squash. Guiding the session was Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Yaffi Lvova of Baby Bloom Nutrition. With her own little one in tow, Yaffi took the class through the simple steps of taking the raw materials of the ingredients and turning them into an appealing, tasty dish that could serve as a healthy dinner any night of the week.

Working at their own pace throughout the session, children participated in:

– Chopping and dicing ingredients using toddler-safe cutlery, helping develop fine motor skills

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– Measuring spices, for a bit autonomy and basic mathematical concepts

– Scraping the inside of the squash to find—surprise!—it looks just like spaghetti!

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– Mixing ingredients together in a large bowl to create the filling

– Piling the filling into the hollowed-out squash “boats”

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Once everyone finished scooping the filling into their boats, the whole creation went into the oven with a sprinkle of cheese on top. While everyone waited for their yummy lunch to emerge from cooking, Yaffi gathered the children around for storytime. One Big Salad, a picture book with whimsical pictures of fruits and vegetables reimagined as animals, was the perfect choice to accompany a healthy cooking session!

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Finally, it was time for the little chefs (and their grown-up helpers) to test their finished products. For a Mexican-inspired dish with a dose of spice, this spaghetti squash went over extremely well with its toddler taste panel. Every child at least tried it, most had a substantial helping, and at there was least one exclamation of “Mom…it’s soooo good!”

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And in the end, no one ended up with squash in their hair!

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Join the fun of Toddler Test Kitchen at the Halle Heart Children’s Museum every other Monday and the second Saturday of each month at 10:00 AM. With a Halle Heart Children’s Museum membership, pricing is $15 per class or $45 for a 4-class series. Non-member rates are $18 per class or $59 for a 4-class series.

Click here to register for this fun family activity today!