“Little Kids in the Kitchen” Goes Virtual with Fun Recipes, Stories

Kids getting bored during the summer? No worries–we have kids’ programming online, so kids can learn how to make pizza toast while they hear a great story about a dragon pizzeria!

Tui O’Baugh taught second grade for ten years before joining CALS to teach programs at our children’s library. Her know-how, enthusiasm, and warmth have been inspiring kids for two years as she teaches the cooking and storybook class called “Little Kids in the Kitchen.” This hands-on learning experience teaches kids in a dynamic way how they can turn ingredients into delicious foods. For many kids, it’s the best way to entice them to try new foods like…vegetables. (Gasp!)

“I have always enjoyed helping children learn, and encouraging them to love reading and storytelling,” O’Baugh said. Though she never took formal cooking classes, she has had the benefit of her husband’s example, because he was trained in culinary arts and has worked as a sous chef and baker. “He is an all-around creative, risk-taking cook, and has taught me so much about the culinary arts!”

When  social distancing went into effect in March, O’Baugh had to figure out how to keep reaching kids who were mostly staying at home. But with her dynamic presence and comfort with public speaking, it was natural to turn her work into a virtual class. All she needed was the help of a couple of her trusty library teammates when they decided to broadcast the class on Facebook Live.

“My two coworkers record with their phones,” O’Baugh explained. “One is Instagram, and the other is Facebook. I was nervous at first to wing it, but I prepare everything in advance and try to problem-solve for possible hiccups. Sometimes I just have to roll with it. My coworker Abby coached me and gave me pointers, like keeping up chatter as we go, and just laughing it off if I make a mistake.”

Afterward, the livestream becomes available as a recording for those who may have missed the live broadcast.

“Whenever possible, and time permitting, I tie the dish or even just an ingredient to a book, like Avocado Deviled Eggs with Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham,” O’Baugh said. “Of course, these days I have all the time in the world to add in a read-aloud! If that isn’t possible, I find some way to tie it in, like an upcoming holiday or country to highlight.”

“When I am looking for recipes to share with Little Kids in the Kitchen, I look for simple steps, simple ingredients,” O’Baugh said. “Although I am not shy about asking them to try something new. All I ask is for one taste. they don’t even have to swallow. Just try it, then spit it out if you must. I have found that more often than not, when a child makes their own snack or dish, they are more inclined to eat it. I also have tried group recipes, where we all put in an ingredient and everyone stirs and enjoys the final product. I try to go for healthier options, although every once in awhile we do holiday sweets.”

O’Baugh also uses the garden and natural resources at the children’s library to enhance the learning experience.

“I enjoy showing kids that you can grow your own food. We also compost and recycle here at the library. Whenever possible, I let them know when they are using our library bees’ honey or something from the library garden.”

Library programming across CALS must continue to take place only in virtual forms for now, to preserve public health and safety. But O’Baugh has been glad to see the recent return of children to the library for limited browsing with their families, protected by masks and distancing.

“It’s been rather lonely without kids in the building,” O’Baugh said. “I stopped and talked to a patron and her parents when I saw them walking, and I’ve seen a few who have come for lunch. It always makes me feel pleased to see them and be reminded that this pandemic won’t last forever.”

You can watch Little Kids in the Kitchen with your kids by tuning in live on Mondays at 10:00 a.m., or by finding the recorded broadcasts on our Facebook page:

Green Avocado Deviled Eggs and Green Eggs & Ham by Dr. Seuss

Pizza Toast and Dragon Pizzeria by Mary Morgan

For more excellent CALS virtual programming for children, see the CALS Kids YouTube channel.

How to visit the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center

The CALS Children’s Library and Learning Center is now open to a limited number of visitors to enable social distancing. The grounds are open for walking. Curbside service is also available for those who prefer it. Visitors inside the library must wear masks for their own safety and that of others. All children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. The library is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to the general public from 1-5 p.m. The morning hour from 9-10 a.m. on M/W/F is reserved for patrons 65 years old and up, and those who are immunocompromised.

For more information about how to visit and what to expect, please call the library at (501) 978-3870.

Feature by Rosslyn Elliott