Turn bowls into dump trucks. Add a broccoli driver. Make piles of food, then load ’em up and drive ’em across your child’s tray!Babies start taking objects out of containers and putting them in at 9-10 months. This theme of dumping and filling in play continues throughout childhood and becomes more and more refined.
Tailor the activity to the fine motor skills of your child. If they are working on using a pincer grasp, help them pick up individual pieces to fill the trucks. If they are working on using a spoon, they can practice scooping.
Use foods you want your child to become more comfortable with. If they’re not yet comfortable touching them, let them push the trucks at first and you fill them up. Often the urge to fill or empty a bowl wins over being hesitant about touching a food, especially after 10-15 minutes of play as kids get more and more comfortable with the foods!
Language and a Song:
Use Language to structure the activity into a fun routine. Use repetitive phrases like ‘1, 2, 3, DUMP!’ or make up a song about the steps of loading, driving and dumping out to any familiar tune.
Repetitive phrases and songs are fun and allow kids to feel comfortable and confident in an activity because they know what’s coming next. When picky eaters know what words and steps come next in an activity, they are more likely to feel comfortable with and get curious about the food they’re playing with.
So have fun and enjoy! Happy food-play!