The magic of food play is that you touch foods, because we have to be comfortable touching a food before we’ll be comfortable putting in our mouth. Often we present picky eaters with new foods and want them to eat them or even just taste them. But the step before tasting is touching.
If we can get kids touching new foods they’ll learn about them–how they feel, how they smell, how they break apart. When we know these things about new foods it feel safer to try them because we know what to expect.
So food play is playing with food, but more importantly it’s a way for kids to learn about and become more comfortable with new foods so they’ll be more likely to try them!
Here are a few ideas to start adding food play into your day:
- Food play Snack-time:
Try setting aside a 15-30 minute ‘food play snack time’ every day at around the same time, if possible, or a few times a week, or every weekend, whenever works in your families’ schedule. Make this snack-time separate from a meal when you want your child to eat a quantity of food for calories or nutrition. Each ‘food play snack-time’ is a stress-free opportunity to explore and learn about the foods in the activity without pressure to eat the food.
- Incorporate food play activities into classroom themes or do an activity at home based on what your child’s learning in school or a topic they’re excited about.
- Take a favorite food play activity as a snack to your child’s school.
- Make a food play activity into a play-date activity.
- Let your child get involved in meal prep. This is food play with a purpose with the added bonus that your child will see the food again at the table after having the opportunity to get used to it and learn about it first!
- Tailor food paly activities to needs, ability and interests of each child by changing foods or changing the activity. Be creative!
How do you food play?