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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