Potatoes are a staple in my house. With so many varieties and infinite ways to prepare them, their warm, earthy goodness is always satisfying. Below are 3 fun ways to play with potatoes to help your kids learn to love them, too!
- Build With Blocks:
My favorite way to prepare potatoes is to cube and roast them with a little oil, salt and pepper. Sometimes I add garlic, rosemary or other herbs for a twist, but no matter how they’re prepared, the plain crispy-on-the-outside, soft-and-creamy-on-the-inside goodness of simple roasted potatoes hits the spot every time. Prepared this way potatoes become a mechanical soft texture or a mixed texture depending on how long you roast them/how crispy you like the outsides.
When we cube potatoes before roasting them, they make awesome building blocks to play with! Your blocks could literally be anything–build a wall or tower, then knock it down. Or pretend with your potatoes. Build a potato fence around a pasture, a castle, a house, a stage, a deck, a beach. Get creative, have fun and while you’re building, you can show your child how delicious these edible blocks are by popping one in your mouth, savoring it’s deliciousness and talking about how awesome it smells, feels and tastes with lots of positive language!
2. Mush Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes just beg to be mushed and shaped like extra soft, deliciously edible play dough! You could make a mountain, a whole mountain range, a snowman, a sheep, a polar bear, anything!
At some point I think we’ve all probably had to hold ourselves back from full-out playing with mashed potatoes on our plate, but in food play, there’s no holding back, so use a fork, a spoon, your fingers, your whole hands and show your kids all the ways they can explore this delicious puree!
3. Building Sticks
My very first post on this blog was called building sticks and I remember roasting the potatoes for the picture like it was yesterday! Making oven-baked fries or ‘building sticks’ is still one of my favorite ways to make potatoes and there are so many fun ways to play with them! You could make a log cabin or build a potato bonfire and use a potato stick to pretend to roast marshmallows. Potato sticks also make excellent magic wants, railroad tracks or tic-tac-toe boards.
Besides being tons of fun to play with, building sticks, or curly fries (I make them by spiralizing the potatoes before roasting), are also delicious! Show your child how you can make teeth marks all along a fry or make one shorter and shorter by taking bites. These visual games are a fun way to move towards bringing food to our mouths without actually prompting a child to ‘eat,’ or ‘take a bite.’ Instead you could say, “Can you make yours shorter, too?” or “Can you make teethmarks, too?” If they say no, that’s ok, you can move on and keep playing, because this is food play and there’s no pressure to eat. Just putting the option out there shows that it’s a possibility, a way to explore that will be waiting for them when they’re ready.
However you choose to play with potatoes, I hope you have lots of fun! Happy food play!