This edible play dough is so incredibly easy in the food processor! All you need is nuts (or an alternative if your child has allergies - that's my next step!), white chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, honey, and food coloring.
Start by grinding the nuts (we used cashews) in the food processor to the desired consistency. I use this baby food processor because small amounts are less likely to get stuck on the sides.The nice thing is you can start out with a fine texture and work on increasing it gradually to work on textures with your child that might be sensitive. If you process it for a few minutes, it becomes a finer, sticky butter. We left it a little coarse to add some texture to our dough. At this point, we took some out to taste it and compare to a whole cashew.
Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave and stir the melted chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, honey, and a couple drops of food coloring into the food processor. Process until the dough forms into a ball - about a minute. You can also finish by kneading it by hand. Then, the play possibilities are endless!
We pretended to make pancakes, used cookie cutters, rolled it into worms, and more! I buried strawberries and melon pieces in the dough and the children enjoyed digging through to find them and tasting it along the way. Here's the recipe:
1 cup of nuts (or alternative)
1 cup of white chocolate chips
1/4 cup of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 Tablespoon of honey
1. Process nuts in the food processor
2. Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each time, until melted.
3. Add melted chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, honey and a couple drops of food coloring into the food processor
4. Blend until the dough clumps together into a ball. You may want to take the ball out and knead it by hand a bit too.
This recipe does turn out to be fairly sweet. Using unsweetened dark chocolate is really good too, but the brown color just doesn't look as appealing to kids.
My daughter won't eat bell peppers and we cook with them a bit, so I wanted to start working on exposing her to them more. Today we did this fun project - mini bell pepper stamping with edible paint.
She likes mayo so we just added some food coloring to a little bit of mayo to make a few colors of paint. You could also use sour cream or just different condiments (ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, ranch, etc.). Then, I cut off the tops of the peppers, gave her some paper and she was set!
She loved making art - we talked about the different shapes and mixed colors to see what we could come up with. (We had a lot of, "Oh! Cool! Brown again!" But, hey, whatever works!)
As we were stamping, something really neat happened. Without me even suggesting it, my daughter said "I want to lick the red mayo off of it!" So, I cut up some rings of pepper and she dipped them in the different colors and licked the mayo. Then, she took little nibbles and realized that maybe she does like peppers with colorful mayo on them. She ended up eating a few of the peppers!
This is exactly the purpose of this kind of activity - a no pressure way to teach a child about ways to try new foods!
So, here's an easy way to add some fun to your food. These edible eyeballs might make food more appealing to your child. Or, at the very least, it can be a way to add some fun to the mealtime. My daughter enjoyed eating the eyes and then giggling, "oh no, you can't see anything!" Little things like this can make a huge difference when trying to make mealtimes more enjoyable!
Research studies tell us that children that have food neophobia (the fear of new foods) are also children that are sensitive to tactile stimuli. In other words, they often don't like to get their hands messy. We also know that a child who is unlikely to want to touch something, is even less likely to want to eat it. So, what do we do? Create repeated positive tactile experiences without the pressure of eating. Here is an example of a fairly easy activity: digging for treasure in Jello!
You can suspend items in jello in a couple different ways:
1. Make a batch, let it harden, put items in, add another batch on top
2. Make a batch, wait until it starts to thicken and push items into the middle (I used this method here)
I used toy airplanes and gummies in our dig for treasure, but you can use whatever your child is into. Or, if they love jello, put in new foods that you want to expose them to such as fruit! Then you can encourage them to take bites, lick the jello off, or even just expose them to touching the fruit by digging it out of the jello.
Jello is a fun tool because it also is a great exposure to smells. However, keep that in mind if your child is sensitive to smell!
You can also push items into the jello while you dig for an extra texture to touch - we did cereal.
Encourage different interactions: smells, licks, tastes. It's also a good idea to keep wipes or a washcloth on hand and tell your child that they can use wipe it off at any point if it becomes uncomfortable. Remember, this should be a positive experience with no pressure!
"Hey cat, you want to jump in the ketchup?" asked my 2 year old daughter as she dipped her cookie cutter omelet cat into her ketchup and then into her mouth. "This is soooo silly!"
Cookie cutters are a must have tool for playing with food and encouraging trying new foods. They are inexpensive, easy, and mess free! Here is just an example of how we used it with a thin egg omelet. Other foods you can use them with include: bread and tortillas to spread new foods on, lunch meat, fruits, potato pancakes, etc. The possibilities are endless! If you are looking for shapes small enough for small foods, look for play dough tools.
Did you ever think you'd see those two words together? We had a lot of fun with this simple broccoli activity! In a previous post on mealtime as a sensory experience, I mentioned using condiments to enhance the taste of foods. Here's an example of how it can be done to encourage children to explore different tastes and taste combinations.
Broccoli Painting with Condiments
Broccoli (your paintbrush): I steamed a bag of frozen but use whatever style you like
Condiments (your paint): I just used what I found in my fridge - ketchup, mustard, sour cream, and soy sauce. I was looking for a variety of colors
Plates (your paint palette)
Paper (your canvas)
This is really an open ended activity. I explained to the children and modeled how they can use the broccoli as the paintbrush and we talked about the colors of "paint." I gave them the option to dip a finger into the different condiments to see how they tasted before we began. They were happy to do that and we talked about the different tastes and which ones they thought might taste best with broccoli.
Then, we just had at it, stamping and painting (and eating) away. I encouraged smelling and licking the broccoli and they ended up taking the next step and devouring each piece after painting with it.
We mixed colors and flavors, talked about what tasted good together and what didn't, and created some neat art that they were pretty proud of!
Did you try this activity? Have questions or feedback? Please feel free to comment below!
In this food play activity, kids dip banana pieces into crumbs made out of fruit loops. This is easy, fun, relatively mess free, and a great way to entertain your kids while exposing them to foods and different textures!
1. Put some fruit loops (or anything that can easily be squished into crumbs) in a bowl. Other ideas are graham crackers, ritz type crackers, other cereals, etc. Slice up some bananas. The slices should be big enough for a child to hold onto. For a child that is working on exposure to different textures, you can keep part of the peel on for them to hold onto. Each child should have their own plate to squeeze crumbs onto.
2. Show your child how to squeeze the fruit loops into crumbs onto their plate. This is a good time to embed some academic goals. You can talk about colors, patterns, or work on counting skills just to name a few. This is also a great fine motor activity!
3. Show your child how to pick up the banana pieces and dip them into the crumbs. Bigger chunks of the fruit loops can also be pushed into the banana. Here, the child is exposed to touching different textures and the smell of the banana. This is a great fun way to expose a child that may have difficulties with combined textures or the softer texture of the banana without the pressure of eating it.
4. Encourage further interactions if and only if your child is ready. Remember, trying foods should be fun and gradual. The purpose is to create fun exposures to different foods and take the pressure of eating away. Depending on what your child is ready for you can try smelling the banana, licking the crumbs off, and taking different size bites. Have fun with this and take the cues from your child! Praise new interactions and talk about the characteristics of the food : How did it feel in your mouth? How did it smell? What was it like to chew it?
Please comment if you tried this and have any questions or feedback!