This blog post is written by our special guest contributor, Sarah from Zoe’s Lunchbox!
You know the old saying, “Don’t play with your food”? Well, there’s a reason it’s an old saying. Getting kids involved with what they eat can make mealtimes more exciting, educational, fun, and perhaps, even, adventurous. Fortunately, there are all sorts of ways to appropriately “play” with your food.
Creating, preparing, and packing lunches side by side with your kids is a great activity that gets them thinking about and helping with mealtime planning. It’s also a great time to talk about food groups, balanced meals, and the foods themselves. Here’s a simple activity my daughter and I did recently while packing for her lunch for school.
First, we gathered the lunch supplies on my side. Then, we gathered the same things on my daughter’s side, but with Melissa & Doug food play products instead! In this case, we used parts from the Cutting Food, Stir Fry Slicing, and Fridge Food play sets. I cut and prepared the foods for the real lunchbox, while, right next to me, some serious slicing and dicing of the wooden version of the same produce was happening too.
Then, we assembled the sandwiches, matching our real food items with pretend ones before we packed up the lunches.
While this lunch was not extravagant by any means, using food play in simple ways such as this has created a 3-year-old that is willing and eager to try new foods, and one that wants to help create in the kitchen. In our house, having activities and routines to get our daughter involved in what we eat has made a major impact on the way we eat. In the meantime, it’s a whole lot of fun, too!
About Sarah: Sarah Farrand is the author of Zoe’s Lunchbox, where she writes of her adventures with creative, healthy lunches, fun family projects, and more.
Does your child help you prepare their lunchbox? What educational tips can you share for helping kids get excited about nutrition and healthy eating? Share your thoughts with us at socialmedia@MelissaAndDoug.com!