This week, as part of Character Toys’ ChillFactor takeover, we’re looking at some of the reasons why it’s worth encouraging young children to play with food…
We can almost hear the intake of breath from parents as we write this. But we don’t mean to actively encourage school-aged kids to chuck bits of their dinner over the table. Or even to shape their sandwiches into a carefully crafted rendition of the family pet.
No. Most certainly not!
What do children have to gain from foodie fun?
So, now onto the all-important reasons of why you might consider offering your child more opportunities to enjoy foodie fun.
- Helps to decrease food battles
If you’ve never experienced a battle of the wills at the dinner table (e.g. “If you finish your peas you can have a treat”), we suspect you’re in the minority! By letting kids help to create their own meals or food items, it’ll give them a greater sense of control. It’ll also encourage them to develop curiosity about food. As a result, kids may feel less of a need to exert their independence, helping to reduce food battles.
- Helps to reduce food aversions
It can be tough getting picky eaters to try anything new. But by letting kids explore new foods through a more hands-on approach, it allows them to experience it through different senses. They’ll be able to feel the textures of the foods. They’ll be able to take the time to smell the food and inspect it visually. And when the focus is taken off of tasting, some of the pressure around trying new foods will be removed, which should help children feel more comfortable and willing to try.
- Provides a chance to educate them on healthy eating
By involving children more in ingredient selection and food preparation, you’ll be creating new opportunities to educate them about healthy eating. You can teach them about different food groups. And you can explain to them why it’s important to create a balanced meal. You can even teach them about chemical changes, like the coagulation of egg!
- Stimulates creativity
Cooking and the process of combining various tastes and textures in a recipe, as well as the process of bringing together different colours and shapes when plating-up, is a very creative process. So, by allowing children to advance their experience with food and develop their culinary skills from an early age, you’ll also be encouraging them to be creative.
- Teaches responsibility
As part of the process of allowing children to feel more involved in the cooking process, it’s good to encourage them to play a part in the set-up and clean-up of the activity. This will help teach them responsibility.
For more chill time and creative fun, head back to the ChillFactor takeover hub page by clicking here.