Easy, Healthy Granola Bar Recipe for Kids

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4.5 stars from 4 ratings of Sunshine Granola Bars

Make Granola Bars for a Healthy Snack

Making granola bars at home is ridiculously easy - so easy, in fact, that a four year old can do it! This healthy granola bar recipe uses prunes and apricots, but any dried fruit can be substituted to create many different flavors. By making granola bars at home, you can avoid high fructose corn syrup, artificial preservatives, artificial colors, and artificial flavors. These granola bars are packed with fiber!

Cooking with kids is important: my son was unwilling to try prunes out of the container, but once he helped to cut the prunes into pieces and mix the ingredients together, he was a convert!

Ingredients for Sunshine Granola Bars

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Delicious, homemade granola bars!Set out the ingredients before you begin to make cooking with kids easier.
Delicious, homemade granola bars!
Delicious, homemade granola bars! | Source
Set out the ingredients before you begin to make cooking with kids easier.
Set out the ingredients before you begin to make cooking with kids easier. | Source

The Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole oats
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup prunes, cut into pieces (about 14 small prunes)
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into pieces

Suggested Substitutions: Try using dried blueberries, dried cherries, raisins, dried cranberries, or dried mango in your granola bars. Toasted coconut may be added to the dry oats before mixing, along with finely chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, and sunflower seeds are great additions)!

Roast the Oatmeal

Kids can measure and pour the dry ingredients!
Kids can measure and pour the dry ingredients! | Source

Step 1: Roasting the Oats

  1. An adult should preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Have the child measure out 2 cups of whole oats and pour them into an oven-proof baking dish.
  3. Bake the oats in the oven for approximately 10 minutes, or until the oats are a light golden brown (only adults near the oven, please)!
  4. Once the oats are done, remove them from the oven and allow the oats to cool. Pour the roasted oats into a mixing bowl.
  5. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 °F.

Cut the Dried Fruit.

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Use children's safety scissors to cut the dried fruit.Cutting dried apricot with plastic safety scissors.Cutting prunes with a butter knife.1/2 cup of dried apricots and 1/2 cup of dried prunes.Pour the fruit pieces into the roasted oats.Mix the roasted oats and dried fruit together.
Use children's safety scissors to cut the dried fruit.
Use children's safety scissors to cut the dried fruit. | Source
Cutting dried apricot with plastic safety scissors.
Cutting dried apricot with plastic safety scissors. | Source
Cutting prunes with a butter knife.
Cutting prunes with a butter knife. | Source
1/2 cup of dried apricots and 1/2 cup of dried prunes.
1/2 cup of dried apricots and 1/2 cup of dried prunes. | Source
Pour the fruit pieces into the roasted oats.
Pour the fruit pieces into the roasted oats. | Source
Mix the roasted oats and dried fruit together.
Mix the roasted oats and dried fruit together. | Source

Cut the Dried Fruit (Apricots and Prunes)

Children can cut the dried fruit with a butter knife or with safety scissors. My four year old son used safety scissors to cut the apricots into small pieces. This is a wonderful way to develop fine motor skills along while cooking!

His hands became tired after a while, so he used a butter knife to cut the rest of the prunes. He is too young to cut the pieces into small enough pieces, so I had him cut the dried fruit in half, and I finished the process by cutting the halves into small pieces.

Note: use only children's safety scissors for this step. Safety scissors are often marked for the appropriate age - the scissors my son is using in these photos are plastic safety scissors rate for children ages 3-5 years. They do not have a metal cutting blade.


Make the Honey Sauce

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Measure out the honey.Pour the honey into the sauce pan.Measuring out the salt.An adult should cook the honey mixture on a stove top.Bring the honey mixture to a boil (adults only, please)!
Measure out the honey.
Measure out the honey. | Source
Pour the honey into the sauce pan.
Pour the honey into the sauce pan. | Source
Measuring out the salt.
Measuring out the salt. | Source
An adult should cook the honey mixture on a stove top.
An adult should cook the honey mixture on a stove top. | Source
Bring the honey mixture to a boil (adults only, please)!
Bring the honey mixture to a boil (adults only, please)! | Source

Step 2: Making the Honey Sauce

  1. Help the child cut 3 tablespoons of butter with a butter knife. Have the child place the butter into a small saucepan. The child can do most of the measuring for the rest of the steps in this recipe.
  2. Measure out 2/3 cup honey and pour into the saucepan.
  3. Measure 1/4 cup brown sugar and pour into the saucepan.
  4. Measure 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract and pour into the saucepan.
  5. Measure 1/4 teaspoon salt and pour into the saucepan.

An adult should then cook the mixture on a stove top until the butter melts and the mixture is brought to a boil. Stir the honey mixture constantly while cooking.

To keep my little boy entertained while I did the cooking portion of this recipe, I had him "stir" the oats and dried fruit in the mixing bowl. He greatly enjoyed stirring the fruity mixture, and stole a few bites of apricots from the bowl! Cooking with kids is a sure-fire way to get them to try new, healthy food items!

Mix the Granola Mixture and Bake

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An adult should pour the hot honey mixture into the bowl of oats, prunes, and apricots.Mix everything together.Pat the mixture into a rectangle.The granola "cake" does not completely fill a 9x13" pan.Bake at 300F for 25-30 minutes.
An adult should pour the hot honey mixture into the bowl of oats, prunes, and apricots.
An adult should pour the hot honey mixture into the bowl of oats, prunes, and apricots. | Source
Mix everything together.
Mix everything together. | Source
Pat the mixture into a rectangle.
Pat the mixture into a rectangle. | Source
The granola "cake" does not completely fill a 9x13" pan.
The granola "cake" does not completely fill a 9x13" pan. | Source
Bake at 300F for 25-30 minutes.
Bake at 300F for 25-30 minutes. | Source

Mixing the Granola Bars

  1. Once the sauce has been brought to a boil, the adult should pour the hot liquid into the bowl of roasted oats/prunes/apricots. Allow the mixture to cool until it is safe to touch.
  2. Have the child stir the mixture until it is well combined.
  3. Grease an oven-proof baking dish (a 9x9" pan or 9x13" baking pan is perfect for the job). My four year old son loved spraying the olive oil spray into the baking dish!
  4. Pour the mixture into the baking pan and have the child pat the mixture into a uniform, flat "cake" that is about 1/2" thick.*
  5. Bake the granola bars for 25-30 minutes at 300°F.
  6. Allow the granola bars to cool for 2-3 hours.
  7. Have the child use a butter knife to cut the granola into bars or squares. Enjoy!

*If using a 9x13" pan, the mixture will not spread from edge to edge. Simply pat the mixture into a rectangular shape approximately 1/2"-1" thick and bake (see pictures for example).


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Comments 20 comments

veggie-mom profile image

veggie-mom 4 years ago

This looks delicious, thrifty, & fun, thanks for sharing!


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York Author

Thanks, veggie-mom! I would recommend using an 8x8" pan or a 9x9" pan to get a denser pack with the granola before baking. My kids' favorite ingredient is dried blueberries - they liked trying the new fruits, but blueberries are their favorite!


novascotiamiss profile image

novascotiamiss 4 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

What a lovely article, especially loved the pictures. It's great that you cook with your kids. It will teach them that real food doesn't grow on the supermarket shelf and they will eat healthier later on in life.


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York Author

Thanks, novascotiamiss. We cook with our kids a lot - we also garden with them and can our own veggies in the summer. It is so important to show them where food comes from!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Great granola bar recipe that grownups will like, too, and can be adjusted for my milk allergy--thanks!


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 4 years ago from Sunny Florida

Wonderful pictures and wonderful writing. I have to try your recipe. I think it's great that you cook with your kids. Up and awesome.


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York Author

It is a recipe that works well for milk allergies! Depending on the purity of the oats used, this would also be a gluten-free granola bar. I hope it works well for you, RTalloni!


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York Author

Thanks, KoffeeKlatch Gals! It works really well, but you do have to mix the oats with the honey mixture thoroughly, and then pack it tightly into the pan. If it is too loose, you'll end up with granola rather than granola bars!


cloverleaffarm profile image

cloverleaffarm 4 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

Can you substitute the honey for agave?


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York Author

cloverleaffarm - it is certainly worth a try! The honey is just a sweet, sticky agent to bind everything together... so agave should serve the same purpose.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

This is an easy recipe. We will make some this weekend and use this as snacks when we go on our hikes. I think most children naturally like to cook and will eat healthy foods when involved in creating them. Thanks for the great recipe.


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York Author

Gardening and cooking with kids are two very important components to healthy eating. Kids who grow their own veggies will eat them, and kids who help make meals will eat them, too! My boys LOVE cooking!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is useful hub and a great recipe for kids to make, leahlefler, if all the precautions which you've carefully pointed out are followed. Adults should enjoy making the granola bars too! Thank you for sharing the recipe and for the great instructions.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I must try this recipe next time my grandkids visit. They enjoy helping me cook and this looks like a great fun family activity. I see that no one voted using it as a math activity but I can see where this would be a great way to use measuring as a math experience. Your instructions are easy to follow and pictures are high quality!


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York Author

Thanks, AlicaC! These are great for adults and kids - healthy, whole grains and fruit! My kids love the honey sweetened oats - my six year old calls them cookie bars!


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York Author

Definitely try this with your grandkids - they have fun picking out the fruit and mixing the ingredients. Cooking is a great way to help kids with math concepts - volume measurements, fractions (1/4 cup and 1/2 cup), and basic addition (we need three tablespoons and we've added one - how many more do we need?) are all part of following a recipe!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan

LOVE this recipe and I can't wait to try it with Alex and Grace. Glad you shared this fun cooking activity! :) Love the pics too!


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York Author

Thanks, Cara! I'm going to try your egg cup recipe this weekend - it looks perfect for my kids on the weekends!


caramellatte profile image

caramellatte 4 years ago

Cool hub! I could make this.:)


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York Author

It is really easy, caramellatte! My biggest tip is to let the granola bars harden completely before cutting.

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