Itís good for kids to be bored during the summer, but parents know that *too* much zone-out time ó on or off the phone ó is no good.

Iíve been trying to come up with a bunch of fun activities for us to do this summer to keep the boys creatively stimulated and having fun. Some of those, of course, are food projects, so once a week, Iíll be sharing those kid-friendly boredom busters here.

The first is DIY MunchPaks.

My sons, ages 10 and 6, loved getting boxes from MunchPak, the snack subscription service that specializes in international candies, chips and other treats. We went shopping at MT Supermarket last week and bought enough snacks to make our own boxes to try to keep summer boredom at bay. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

What the heck is a MunchPak? Itís a subscription service that delivers a box of international snacks and candies to your house. I gave it to the boys as a Christmas present last year, and it was the gift that kept on giving, once a month, until summer.

But at $10-$15 per box, those boxes arenít cheap, so this summer, I decided to take a DIY approach.

I took the kids to MT Supermarket, the Asian mega-market in North Austin, one day last week. That grocery shopping trip was an adventure in itself, but this time, I took it one step further and let them pick out about $25 worth of snacks, gummies, candies, ramen and other treats. (My oldest would pick a crazy new pack of ramen over cookies any day of the week.)

When we got back to the house, they helped me unpack our treasures ó potstickers and buns for me, shrimp chips and seaweed strips for them. I pulled out half a dozen small cardboard boxes and let them divide up the snacks into each box. They had so much fun deciding which snacks to put in which boxes and trying their best not to break into the ones they were most excited about. We then taped up the boxes, wrote a ďto openĒ date on the outside and put them away.

Each week, weíll break out a box and the kids will get to enjoy a new kind of unboxing experience. To get an even greater variety of snacks, the next time, weíll stop by a Middle Eastern or Indian store on the way home to grab salty and sweet treats from another part of the globe.

How are you staying busy with your kids this summer? Share your favorite activities, experiences or projects in the comments below.

Next week, Iíll tell you how the Jell-O cookies turn out.


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