Anytime I want Noah to try a new food, I let him play with it! If its on his plate, at the dinner table, he won’t touch it. No way, no how. Nope. But, if I give him a few kitchen tools and a tray of fun new foods to explore, he’ll feel them, smell them, and yup, even taste them. Funny how that works. What I love about allowing children to learn through play is that it builds confidence, instills a love of learning, and in turn encourages them to explore and try new things. This activity allows them to experience sensory play with food. Just look at the beautiful, vibrant colors of this tray! The colors alone are attractive to children (and I loved it too!) but then the new textures, smells, and even tastes to explore are so much fun!
The best part is, he ate quite a lot of the tray! Being able to explore the fruits and vegetables on his own gave him the ability to taste the things he was curious about with no ‘dinner time pressure.’ I even have a picture as proof that he willingly ate a green bean – ha! He actually took more than one bite of it and said, “Green beans are good, Momma.” (Something you’d never hear him say at the dinner table!).
There are several different ways you can explore a fruit and vegetable sensory tray like this:
- Mix them up and let your child sort by color.
- Count the number of kiwis, strawberries, etc.
- Talk about how fruits and vegetables grow and how they get to our tables.
- Take a trip to a local farmer’s market to purchase the items for your tray. Let your child participate in selecting the produce, paying for it, etc.
When you are finished exploring the tray, involve your child in cooking the food! Talk about recipes (Noah calls them instructions), let them cut the produce (with a child safe knife of course), let them stir, etc. Noah loves being in the kitchen with me and I think it gives us the opportunity to use words that we wouldn’t in normal conversation.