When we take something out of context we can start to see it in a whole new light. This isn’t to say that you can put some cauliflower or broccoli in an ice cream cone and it’s going to magically taste like ice cream and your child will start gobbling it up. You might get a look like ‘that doesn’t belong there!’ Maybe you’ll get a giggle. You’ll definitely get a chance to explore and play with broccoli or cauliflower in a whole new way!
By putting new or non-preferred foods in ice cream cones, you’re setting up a playful situation. Right away a child can pick up on the fact that this time they’re being presented with cauliflower or broccoli, there’s no pressure. This isn’t about eating, it’s about exploring and having fun.
Broccoli and cauliflower are great foods to put in cones as well as great foods to take apart and explore in a deconstruct activity. As your child breaks apart smaller and smaller florets they learn about the texture, feel and smell of the food. As you break up the flroets, you could try to fill up an ice cream cone with itty bitty pieces. You could pour the itty bitty pieces back and forth between cones.
You could pretend with your ice cream cones. Feed them to hungry stuffed animals and dolls or play scoop shop and make cones for customers. When you add a component of eating to your play with food, you’re taking the play one step closer to eating. Without putting any pressure on your child to take a bite themselves, you’re showing them that the food you’re playing with is for eating and giving them the script of eating it.
Children learn and try new things during play. Playing about eating foods you want your child to like can give them a safe, no-pressure situation where they can learn about and practice eating those foods. Often, during this kind of food play kids will take a little taste themselves in imitation of your play or as the natural progression of exploration.
When you’re done playing, you could try a cooking activity with this Nacho Cheese Cauliflower Popcorn Recipe from Larice at Feeding Your Beauty. That’s my plan for the cauliflower in the ice cream cone above!
However you choose to play with ice cream cones, I hope you have so much fun! Happy food play!