Holidays are a special time for everyone in the family, most especially the little ones. Whether you’re planning a picnic or backyard barbecue, or heading out of town to spend the holiday with family, involving the kiddos in food preparation will not only give them something constructive to do, but it’s an opportunity for family bonding.

Even if you don’t have time to whip up something elaborate, there are dozens of quick and easy recipes the kids will love having a hand in creating. Here are just three tasty treats your little ones will not only love sticking their fingers in, but will get excited about displaying at your July 4th celebration.

Fruit Flag Centerpiece

Assembling a flag made out of fruit is not only patriotic, but healthy and delicious as well. With so many summer fruits, like strawberries, blueberries and blackberries in season, this centerpiece will have all your guests talking and your kids beaming with pride when they’re not trying to sneak off with a handful of delicious berries.

You will need a four to five ripe bananas, twenty-nine strawberries, fifteen blackberries, fifteen blueberries, a lemon, a paring knife and a 9 inch x 13 inch serving tray.

Cut the bananas into coin shapes until you have fifty-eight slices and put them in a bowl. Cut your lemon in half and squeeze the juice over the sliced bananas. This will not only give them a unique flavor boost, but it will keep them from browning as well.

While the bananas soak in lemon juice, trim the stem off the strawberries and halve them until you have fifty-eight strawberry halves.

On your serving tray, arrange the blueberries and blackberries in five rows of six, alternating every other row. To the right of the rows, form three rows six banana coins and top each coin with a strawberry half. Continue the pattern below, starting below the blueberry/backberry rectangle on the left, adding four more rows of ten banana-coin topped strawberries.

Voila! A beautiful flag made from fruit you can feel good about serving to your kids.

White Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Sparklers

One of the things kids love most about the Fourth of July holiday is all the fireworks, so why not help them create delicious, edible sparklers?

To make these delicious treats, you’ll need a bag of long pretzel rods, one bag of white chocolate candy melts, red, white and blue sprinkles, wax paper and a microwave safe bowl.

Melt the white chocolate in the microwave for one minute on medium heat, and remove carefully to stir. Return to the microwave for thirty seconds, and remove to stir again. Repeat until white chocolate is thoroughly melted, then carry the bowl to the table.

Lay out a rectangle of wax paper. Dip pretzel rods into the melted white chocolate and roll them in patriotic colored sprinkles. Lower them onto wax paper to cool, then serve.

Firecracker Cupcakes

Cupcakes are a popular favorite, and allowing kids to help with decorating is delicious busywork that will occupy them while you see to other preparations.

Whip up a batch of confetti-cake cupcakes and ice them with white frosting. Set kids up at the table with decorative, edible stars, sprinkles and licorice whips cut into three-inch strips. Have them poke three pieces of licorice into the top of each cupcake, then decorate with red, white and blue sprinkles and stars.

Simple, easy and mm-mm good!

Sitting down together as a family and creating memories in the kitchen will establish traditions your children will carry into the future and eventually share with their own kids.