Taco Time!

Both kids and teenage babysitters love tacos -- let them make them together!

By Barbara Albright


Let the sunny flavors of Mexico rule the next time the kids stay home with a babysitter. Tacos are fun and easy to make - both the kids and the sitter can get into the act.

Depending on the babysitter's age and abilities, let her or him prepare the entire meal - with the kids' help. If not, set up a taco bar so that everyond can assemble supper after you leave.

Make it Fun!
To add to the good times, set out brightly colored plastic or paper plates and napkins. If you have a Mexican sombrero, set it the middle of the table.

If your kids know how to speak Spanish or are learning it, suggest to the sitter that they use their language skills during supper.

Keep It Safe!
Not every child is old enough to make tacos without supervision. Even some sitters may not be capable or you might prefer they not cook while you are away.

Break down the culinary chores so that adults - you or the sitter - complete some and the kids work on others.

  • Chop the onions (adult).
  • Cook the meat and onions (age 8 years and up with adult supervision).
  • Slice the lettuce (adult).
  • Chop the tomatoes (adult).
  • Hand shred the cheese (age 5 years and up).
  • Slice avocados (adult) or mash the avocados (child).
  • Slice olives (adult).
  • Warm the taco shells and flour tortillas (children can wrap the flour tortillas in foil and adults can place them in the oven).
  • Assemble the "fixins'" and eat the tacos!

    To cook the tacos, you will need a large skillet, a wooden spoon, and measuring cups and spoons.

    If you decide to cook the meat and onions ahead of time, explain to the sitter how to warm it up in the microwave - or warm it just before you leave and put the meat in a covered casserole.

    Make sure the sitter knows not to leave the warm meat at room temperature for more than 15 or 20 minutes after you leave before assembling the tacos.

    Make It Yummy!
    Assemble "fixins'," which make the tacos special. They also allow everyone, down to the smallest tot, to customize their own tacos to their liking.

    Kids can help prepare the fixins' ahead of time with you or with the sitter. If you do this ahead of time, store them in the refrigerator, well wrapped or covered.

    Here are some extra-yummy fixins'.

  • Shredded Monterey or cheddar cheese, shredded with a grater or purchased shredded
  • Sliced iceberg lettuce
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Chopped onions
  • Sliced jalapeno peppers
  • Sliced ripe olives
  • Chopped ripe avocado
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa

    Tacos are meals in themselves. There's really no need for accompaniments, but carrot or celery sticks are always welcome. For dessert? We suggest ice cream.