At the beginning of summer I was checking into activities to keep my boys busy so they wouldn't drive their dad over the edge while they were out of school. I came across the Young Chef's Academy that had recently opened in Fresno. While I didn't end up sending my kids for cooking lessons (they opted for Young At Art, learning cartoon drawing), I was intrigued by the trickle down interest in cooking that shows like Rachel Ray, Top Chef and even the Disney movie Ratatouille has inspired. Parents, worried about poor nutrition and childhood obesity, are thrilled to cultivate their kids' interest in cooking. Cooking is becoming a lost art in our fast-paced world of take-out and extra-curricular activities. When I started really looking into this I found quite a few entrepreneurs out there taking advantage of this trend. There's the Playful Chef Kids Cooking Kit that you can purchase to help you tap into your kids' eagerness to help in the kitchen. The tools are kid-sized and offer fun recipes to try. Batter Up Kids started out offering cooking classes, but today the Austin, Texas, business also does birthday parties and year-round camps, and it retails both cooking kits and cookbooks authored by entrepreneur Barbara Beery, cooking up annual sales of about $465,000. The interest has been so strong that Beery started franchising her concept last year. Daily Candy Seattle just sent out an article about cooking lesson parties for kids offered by Lovin' from the Oven. Owner (and mom) Bridget Meyer arrives at your event armed with tools of the trade and an arsenal of kid-approved recipes. Chefs-in-training get hands-on lessons in rolling sushi, toasting quesadillas, whipping up a batch of peppermint bark, or whatever tickles your birthday child's fancy. And kids chow down on the meal they've created. Think about it.... Cooking is a life skill that your child will most likely need to master. Why not have fun learning it? Consider sending your child to a cooking camp next summer. Melissa Owens, a former restaurant owner who started the Deliciously Nutritious camp last summer in suburban Maryland, teaches chef training for kids and teens who want to whip up haute cuisine. With the economy in a fragile state, why not opt to stay home, crack open your mother's old recipe books and cook something? You can do it, and you can make it a family activity. Best of all, you can consider yourself right on trend!