If your summer plans include a family camping trip, a backyard barbecue or even a trip to one of the local Metro Parks, you can make the event s'more fun by serving a tasty dessert that kids can cook over a fire.

If your summer plans include a family camping trip, a backyard barbecue or even a trip to one of the local Metro Parks, you can make the event s'more fun by serving a tasty dessert that kids can cook over a fire.

Columbus Parent asked Jill Snyder, senior naturalist at Highbanks Metro Park, to share a few kid-friendly campfire recipes. She suggested some new takes on an old favorite.

"I like to make s'mores with kids because they are easy to make and kids love them," she said. "Grown-ups find them pretty irresistible, too."

If you don't have a campfire or you have younger children, Snyder recommends assembling the s'more, wrapping it in foil and setting it on the coals of your fire or grill. Most of the Metro Parks facilities have picnic areas with grills that are available for the public to use.

She also loves playing with the ingredients of s'mores to create different treats. Snyder teamed up with Bexley resident Athena Baith to demonstrate a few of the naturalist's favorite recipes.

First, she had Athena, 5, add mini marshmallows and chocolate and peanut butter chips to an ice cream cone. When it was full, they wrapped the cone in foil and tucked it into the coals of the campfire Snyder made outside Highbank's Northern Shelter House. The hot coals melted the chips and marshmallows and created a gooey center. Athena gave the dish a thumbs-up.

"That was yummy," the preschooler said.

After roasting some marshmallows over the fire, the pair made s'mores using different types of candy bars. When Snyder suggested adding strawberries to the dessert, Athena declined.

"I don't want fruit on mine," she said.

Enlist your kids to see what flavors will appeal to them, Snyder said.

"Use your imagination," she said. "The possibilities are endless."

JILL SNYDER'S S'MORES IDEAS:

Change the chocolate: Use peanut butter cups or crispy rice, dark chocolate or peanut-filled candy bars.

Marshmallow mix-up: Replace traditional marshmallows with Peeps.

Graham cracker change-up: Swap vanilla wafers or your favorite cookie for the graham crackers.

................

ICE CREAM CONE S'MORES

Ingredients:

Sugar ice cream cones Miniature chocolate chips Miniature peanut butter chips Miniature marshmallows

Directions:

1. Layer chocolate chips, marshmallows and peanut butter chips into the cone.

2. Wrap in foil.

3. Place the foil-wrapped cones in the campfire until the marshmallows melt, about three to five minutes.

................

INDOOR S'MORES

Ingredients:

Graham crackers Nutella Marshmallow fluff

Directions:

1. Spread Nutella on one graham cracker.

2. Spread fluff on a second graham cracker.

3. Sandwich the crackers together and eat!

................

UPCOMING METRO PARKS CAMPFIRE EVENTS:

Saturday, July 18 at 6 p.m. - Glacier Ridge Metro Park (9801 Hyland-Croy Road, Plain City 43064; 614-873-2660) Enjoy s'mores around a campfire and take a tram ride through the park. Meet at the main entrance picnic area bulletin board.

Sunday, July 26 at 6:30 p.m. - Three Creeks Metro Park (3860 Bixby Road, Groveport 43125; 614-830-0458) Bring your voice, guitars, harmonicas or any instrument you would like to use to sing and play songs for everyone to sing along to. Meet at the Confluence Trails bulletin board.

Friday, July 31 at 8:30 p.m. - Highbanks Metro Park, 9466 U.S. Route 23 N., Lewis Center 43035) Enjoy a campfire under the blue moon and see the fireflies. Bring seating and meet at the Northern Reserveable Picnic Shelter.