Ages: Any, though the very young will get tired of shaking long before the ice cream is ready.
My kids never took to Sesame Street, or Mickey Mouse, or the Disney Channel; they didn’t care for children’s movies, either. For the most part, I appreciated that, and enjoyed my Dora-free existence. It did become an issue, however, when I desperately needed to make a phone call, or do my homework, or even just have five minutes of unchaperoned time in the bathroom.
As the girls got older, they got better at amusing themselves from time to time, but sick days remained problematic. I would eventually run out of patience with Barbies (for the moderately ill) and with ladling tea and stroking hair (for the flu victims). Unfortunately, my youngest was frequently fighting some bug or another. I heard myself asking: please, please, wouldn’t you like to watch twenty minutes of television? Sadly, no.
But one day last January, my seven-year-old got a glimpse of the Food Network. Now I have that “be careful what you wish for,” kind of feeling. “That’s not how you do a chiffonade,” Josie told me later, as I chopped mint for the top of a fruit salad. “I think there has been a misunderstanding,” she said another time, catching me frosting her fancy ganache-filled mocha birthday cupcakes with a tub of Betty Crocker vanilla.
Age Range: 7 and up, although kids under ten will need a fair amount of assistance getting their tape strips to behave.
Perhaps due to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s famed duct tape alert, I started buying duct tape long before I knew what to do with it besides tape stuff together. I had rolls and rolls of it just laying around, waiting for something to break. Thank goodness a friend of mine was trapped in her house with two kids for several very long and rainy days. She’s the one who gave me a few ideas to get started.