You’ve probably sat across the table from a picky child who refused to eat their veggies. Or would not eat anything except French fries. Or else it had to be applesauce for three straight days.
Raising healthy eaters takes years of cultivating good habits, good attitudes, and good examples. Increase the opportunities to talk about healthful food choices with your child with these playtime ideas:
1) “Food Rainbow” Craft
This is a simple activity to teach your child to recognize healthful foods. Grab some food-shaped stickers (like the Make-a-Meal Stickers), crayons and some construction paper to get started!
Let your child (or assist) draw a rainbow across the entire paper, then search the sticker set for foods that match the colors. Children will enjoy matching the food color to the rainbow drawing, and it will give you time to talk to your child about why each food item is yummy and good for them!
When completed your child will have a brilliantly colored display of food choices that are good for them!
2) Create a “Good Foods” Plate
As your child to create (using stickers, or just by drawing) a “good foods” plate, complete with main course, side dish and beverage! Older kids can complete a plate using food items from each of the four food groups. Then, laminate your child’s food rainbow and plate creations to showcase their artwork at the table and serve as a visual reminder of healthful food choices!
For younger kids, use wooden play food to teach the four main food groups. Use the wooden containers to sort the food items into their four groups. Instead of matching like pieces (color with color), this is a step up where children match items to categories.
Then, ask your child to create a delicious meal that includes an item from each food group! Eat up – it’s delicious!
Using playtime to discuss and interact with food and healthful eating choices reinforces the good example and variety of choices you already instilling at the table!
* * *
Julie Kieras mothers two inquisitive boys with the support of her husband in the lovely four seasons of New England. She is often found at home interpreting toddler-speak, elbow-deep in PlayDough, or behind the pages of a book. In her spare time she enjoys organizing, walking, crafting, or baking! She blogs about her family life at A Year With Mom and Dad.