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Trish McAlaster/The Globe and Mail

Each week, Child's Play offers an activity guaranteed to combat the summer-break blahs.

Gnocchi-making is not for the faint of heart, but nor must you be a Cordon Bleu-trained cook to to do it. I've made them many times with young kids. You end up with a kitchen covered in flour, a lot of gnocchi and triumphant kids who've decided cooking is fun. Bring 2 big peeled potatoes to a boil in plenty of salted water. When the potatoes are well cooked, mash them with a masher or a fork or put them through a potato ricer. Do not mash with a machine. (It makes them gluey.) Put the mashed or riced potatoes on the counter – not in a bowl. Make a well in the centre of the potato pile. Break an egg into the well. Add ½ tsp salt and 2 cups flour. Using a fork, mix the egg and flour and while mixing, gradually mix in the potatoes till it's all mixed. Then start kneading the mixture. If you don't know how to knead, get the kids to Google it. Add a little flour if the dough seems impossibly sticky after 3 minutes of kneading. As soon as the dough forms a decent ball, cut it into 4 sections. Flour the counter and use your hands to roll each section into a long snake, about as thick as a small carrot. Cut the snake into ½-inch lengths. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Drop in gnocchi and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until gnocchi have risen to the top. Drain and serve with tomato sauce or garlic sautéed in oil.

Joanne Kates is the director of Camp Arowhon in Algonquin Park

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