Every night, Cree Hardrict begs for the same book: Christina Wilsdon’s The Wonderful World of Sharks. “He can tell you about hammer sharks, tiger sharks, even that the stingray is the sharks' cousin,” says Tia Mowry of her 5-year-old son with actor husband Cory Hardrict.

So the host of Food Network Star Kids (premiering August 22 at 8 p.m.) came up with the perfect back-to-school project: shark knapsacks! “It’s great when you incorporate things that kids are interested in,” the 38-year-old tells Us Weekly. “It keeps their attention span!”

Watch the mother and son duo transform a plain canvas drawstring backpack into a Cree-approved creation using supplies such as scrap cardboard, stencil paper painter’s tape and a paper plate!

When he wasn’t sticking his head through the stencil pretending to be eaten, Cree “loved making the teeth,” Mowry shares.

Inside his prized pack, the kindergartener plans to stash sand toys for park outings and school lunch: “He’s like, ‘Mommy, look! The shark ate my snacks.’”

The former Sister, Sister actress praises the project for its use of fine motor skills and its “huge payoff.” Plus, it keeps her little boy sitting still! “My husband jokes and says, ‘Does he have a pack of batteries in his back?’” Mowry tells Us. “He’s kind of like the Energizer Bunny because he just does not stop. He’s so happy.”

She continues: “He’ll take my phone and record videos. It’s like a little surprise. The other day I looked in my phone and he’s going, ‘Woo! Wooooo!’ and jumping up and down. He just enjoys life.”