Who says you can’t play with your food? Back in the old days, it was something that kids would hear often at the dinner table while building mashed potato volcanos that were filled with gravy lava. Parenting experts have since changed their minds on this old adage and are encouraging parents to let their kids play with their food. Allowing children to play with their food can help them to overcome fussy eating habits and nurture a more positive relationship with food. #FoodForThought
LEARNING DOESN’T END WITH THE SCHOOL BELL | ‘ACTIVE PLAY’
Whether your children are returning to in-class school this year, or continuing to learn virtually from home, one thing is certain: at the end of the day, they just want to let loose and have fun! Researchers have documented that ‘Active Play’ is an important part of learning and when it comes to playing with food, children can learn so many things. They can learn the following:
- What a food looks, smells & feels like
- Motor skills; picking up, moving, pushing, sliding and spinning
- How foods can interact together; mixing, dipping and scooping
- How to form ideas about eating the foods
- Sensory words associated with food; crunchy, cold, juicy, etc.
There is so much to learn about food before it even gets to your mouth. The more you let kids play with food, the more confident they will be about what they are eating. That’s exactly what parents should want when it comes to fresh veggies!
At Pure Flavor®, we believe starting kids out on a healthy path will lead to a lifetime of healthy choices. We have put together some fun after-school snack recipes to help foster learning, playing and trying new veggies. These fun snacks are not only delicious and super healthy, but they help promote play too!
It’s arts-and-crafts time with our Funny Face Wraps and Sandwiches that feature Pure Flavor®Aurora Bites Mini Sweet Peppers, Azuca Cherry Tomatoes, Mini Cucumbers, and Long English Cucumbers. Get creative and have fun by letting kids design their own faces! This gets them involved in decision making, like what veggies would they like to use to create their face, and chances are they will end up eating what they’ve chosen. It also helps with fine motor skills, like spreading and picking up small pieces, when putting the faces together and teaches
Next up is our Fun Bug Snacks recipe, but don’t let the name fool you – the recipe doesn’t contain any bugs! Featuring our Sangria Tomato Medley, Azuca Cherry Tomatoes, Mini Cucumbers, and Long English Cucumbers. This is another recipe that helps kids develop fine motor skills in the smaller details of assembling the bugs – though some younger children may need help with that part. Encourage your youngsters to get creative with their choices of veggies for this recipe and let them name their creations too! The fun part isn’t just making and eating the snack but interacting with it like it’s a real character. Parents can be the cue to the child that it is ok to play. Zoom your Fun Bug Snacks around and make silly noises – laughter will surely follow!
For a fresh twist on a classic , we have our Bell Pepper Sandwiches that feature Pure Flavor®Sweet Bell Peppers in a rainbow of colors, and Long English Cucumbers. This recipe is great for learning about sensory words associated with peppers, like crunchy and with cucumbers, like crisp. Be sure to be using these types of sensory words as you’re making your creations and ask your kids to describe the textures, and smells. It can also teach children about how foods interact together and forming ideas on how to eat it. Not only does this recipe teach all these great things in regards to fresh veggies, but it also allows kids to customize their own healthy snack.
Last, but not least, we have our super fun Mini Pepper Sailboats featuring Aurora Bites Mini Sweet Peppers and Long English Cucumbers. These adorable little boats can spark much imaginative play! They are easy for kids to put together once all the pieces are cut up for them. It promotes development of fine motor skills and lots of opportunities to talk about sensory words. Parents can start the play by making up an interactive story about boats, or a fun story about pirates. Place a blue cloth or napkin down on the table for water and add an overturned teacup for an island to enact your story as it’s being told. When parents use their imagination, the kids will take it from there.
As you can see, there are so many opportunities to have your kids in learning mode while still having fun and playing too!
Don’t forget to Sign Up for Pure Flavor’s monthly newsletter to receive more tips and recipes.