Finger painting is one of the simplest ways to explore purees with a picky eater.
You can use any puree, just be sure to use a food your child has already been introduced to so you know they’re not allergic or sensitive to it. There is a great post about finger painting with sweet potato puree on the blog No Time For Flashcards. They used paper taped down to a tray, but you could also play right on the tray of a high chair, a plastic placemat, a plate or even right on your table if it’s easy to wipe up.
If your picky eater really doesn’t want to touch the puree, show them how you have fun using your hands and fingers and let them use a spoon, fork or small spatula to draw. Make squiggles or designs, draw your family. This activity can go on for a while because you can always use a spatula to spread the puree into a clean canvas again!
After your picky eater is comfortable playing in the puree, show him how you can taste it from your fingers. Exaggerate and get silly with how AMAzingly deLICious it tastes! MmmmmMMm!!
Add pretend play:
If your child doesn’t want the activity to end, you can turn it into a pretend play activity where you feed plastic animals or favorite characters on a plate, bowl or cup. You could use a spoon to feed them, or let them taste foods from your fingers.
If you anticipate your child really getting into this activity and making a huge mess, you can put a mat, trash bag or party tablecloth under their highchair to try to catch some of it (or this could be an activity for warmer months when you can do it outside!).
Have fun getting messy and happy food play!