“Don’t play with your food,” is something I heard quite a bit when I was growing up. It’s no surprise that I actually encourage my kids to play with their food. I think it’s a great way to boost curiosity and increase awareness of food. We have made up several games, and most of them are easy to execute on an everyday basis.
“Guess the flavor” is our perennial favorite. It works great with everything…fruit juice, pudding, ice cream, popsicles and even cheese. To play, I blindfold the kids (or encourage them to keep their eyes closed) and put a little sample in their mouth. They keep guessing flavors until someone gets it right. Simple, yet loads of fun, and it trains them to pay attention to flavors in food.
“Math in the kitchen” is a great way to have fun and sneak in a few teaching moments. Luckily, I have an assortment of measuring cups, so doubling a recipe can be very visual. I have each kid measure 1/2 cup of an ingredient, then both kids pour it into a one cup measuring cup so they can visually see that it makes a whole cup. This works great for wet and dry ingredients.
“The cupcake game” is one of my daughter Bailey’s favorite games because she can mix and match different color cupcakes, frostings and fun toppings. She spends a lot of time making special cupcakes for everyone in the family. I thought it would be even more fun to bring it to life! I whipped up a cake mix and divided the batter into to 3 different colors and added different flavorings. Ditto for the frosting. I also pulled out a few different toppings and sprinkles. The kids had fun mixing and matching to create their personal favorites and customizing cupcakes for everyone they know.
Playing online games has been another impetus for us to play with our food (on a more virtual level). Many of our meals have been based on creations concocted online. That said, I - draw the line on reenacting fruit flying through the air and cutting it in half with ninja swords. Some things are better left to the imagination!