With the kids out of school, I am looking for ways to help keep my two boys busy during the summer months. When not on vacation or in summer camp, I run “Camp Kristyn”, where I plan a few special activities for my boys as part of a staycation…biking along the city pathways, geocaching and hands-on food activities.

During the school year, our schedules seem relentlessly busy. Summer-time schedules are often more relaxed, and offer a window of opportunity to enhance our family food skills. Food skills include knowledge about food and nutrition, as well as other skills such as meal planning, modifying recipes, and actual food preparation. Last summer, I taught my boys how to bake banana bread, make ice cream and make popsicles as part of Camp. Over this past year, I continued to help my kids explore in the kitchen with making muffins, cookies and pancakes. They also learned how to make pretzels, pizza, tacos, sport smoothies and several variations of eggs (scrambled, omelet, baked). This summer, I would like them to learn how to build a salad and dressing, how to make pasta, tomato sauce and meatballs, while also showing them how to make some of their favourite sweet treats.

Cooking lessons for kids often begin with baking. Expanding your teaching to include meals and snacks helps kids learn about food and nutrition, while also teaching them handy life skills from which you will eventually benefit. You can guide your child with hands-on teaching while taking advantage of kids’ inclination to eat what they have helped prepare.

There are several recipe sources available…your own food traditions, friends and family, the library, online blogs, books, magazines and more! This kind of activity could include a field trip to the farmer’s market, grocery store or to a U-pick farm.

Take advantage of summer and give your child a private, hands-on cooking class(es). Here is a fun recipe to get you started. Prepare these fruit and yogurt popsicles in the morning so they are ready for a mid-afternoon snack.

Do-It-Yourself Popsicles:

This popsicle recipe is more of a method of blending together a creamy yogurt (at least 2% M.F.), fruit (fresh or frozen), fruit juice and adding in sweetener. Here are a few popsicle-making tips:

  • Taste your creation as you prepare it and adjust to your taste preference.
  • When working with frozen treats, sweetener of some kind is needed to create an acceptably sweet product. Compare the perceived sweetness of 1 cup of cola (7 teaspoons of sugar) versus 1 cup of tea sweetened with 7 teaspoons of sugar. Foods served at cooler temperatures benefit from a little more sweetener.
  • You can add in natural sources of colour to your popsicles, based on the kind of fruit and/or juice chosen.
  • Play with different flavour combinations – raspberry and vanilla, mango and lime, strawberry and mint, blueberry and lemon. In this variation, I chose a blackberry mango combination after being on family vacation where my kids slurped up smoothies and especially enjoyed the blackberry mango combination.
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Written by a Registered Dietitian. 

DIY Blackberry Mango Popsicles
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
4 hours to freeze
8 servings
Nutritional Info
Calories114 kcal
Protein3 g
Fat2 g
Carbohydrate21 g
Fibre2.2 g
Sodium33 mg
Calcium82 mg
Source: Kristyn’s personal collection


2 cups(250 ml)blackberries
1/4 cup(60 ml)cranberry cocktail
2 tbsp(30 ml)honey
1/2 cup(125 ml)lime yogurt (at least 2% M.F.)
1 1/2 cups(375 ml)lemon yogurt (at least 2% M.F.)
1 cup(250 ml)frozen mango
*If you didn’t want to have these two flavours of yogurt, you could choose a vanilla yogurt or a berry-flavoured yogurt. You could even choose plain yogurt, and then increase the amount of sweetener added.


  1. In a blender, blend together the blackberries, cranberry juice and lime yogurt.
  2. Once blended, place the blackberry mixture in a colander and place the colander over a medium-sized bowl to capture the strained yogurt mixture.
  3. In a cleaned blender, add in the lemon yogurt, mango and honey.
  4. Spoon fruit and yogurt mixtures into popsicle moulds, alternating between the blackberry and mango flavours. Freeze for about 4 hours.
  5. You could also enjoy the above mixture as a frozen yogurt treat by spooning the batters into small glass jars, freezing and then enjoying with a spoon. You could also blend the two mixtures together for a smoothie.


Read more by: Kristyn
Kristyn Hall MSc, RD, is a Mom of two active boys. Kristyn is a Food, Nutrition and Culinary Coach with Energize Nutrition- (formerly Nutrition and Culinary Solutions).

Kristyn helps men and women over 40 achieve vitality and wellness using real food & lifestyle changes, one bite at a time, through health-inspired cooking classes, food and nutrition coaching and project consulting. She is a high-energy and knowledgeable Nutritionist and Dietitian who will infect you with her passion and enthusiasm for good quality food and sound nutrition.

Member Of
College of Dietitians of Alberta
Dietitians of Canada