According to dictionary.com, a game is:
Basically, games have rules, things you can do and things you can’t do and games are fun. This makes games the perfect backdrop for food activities for picky eaters.
By setting rules before playing kids can feel safe that they know what is expected of them. They may be pushed to the edge of their comfort zone. They may need to touch foods to move game pieces or take 1 or 2 bites of a food to move forward on a board, but by discussing these rules before playing, they are entering into a contract that they want to play. You are both agreeing to (and making) the rules and your child can feel safe there will be no surprises.
By definition, playing games is fun, so by playing a game with food you are creating a positive experience with food. This is especially important for kids who have had negative experiences with food (like pain from reflux or nausea from chemo). We need to teach them that food is safe and good for us before they’ll want to eat it.
This week I’m going to offer a variety of games you and your child can play with food. They range from simple turn-taking games to games with complex rules. Some games you can play with kitchen items and a little imagination, others involve board-game pieces like checker boards and spinners. All games can be adapted for your child’s motor skills, developmental ability and diet.
I’d love to hear changes you made to make the games work for you! What foods did you use? Comment and let me know how they go!
Enjoy and happy food play!