If a bite isn’t mentioned and we’re just talking about making a sound with food, anxiety a picky eater has about eating and taking bites may not be triggered. So, very often when I ask a child “let me hear that crunch!” they’ll imitate me and crunch a cracker or carrot stick with exaggerated abandon. (This also often works visually with the phrase, ‘let me see a bite mark,’ which we’ll talk about later this week in a post on crunchy fruits and veggies). Sometimes kids are even surprised at themselves when they realized they took a bite! It’s a pretty neat trick!
If a child is too apprehensive to take a bite, they can crunch a cracker between their fingers and you can show them how you make the same crunch sound with your teeth. Every positive experience with food is a step in the right direction!
My favorite activity with crackers is to crumble them in a deconstruct activity. Taking foods apart so kids can understand the pieces is integral to feeling comfortable with and eating new foods. Often picky eaters don’t like crumbs on their hands and this is a great way to teach them where crumbs come from. The whole cracker is made up of crumbs!
Add A Song:
While crumbling crackers, I usually start singing some version of ‘I like to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas,’ about what we’re doing, so it comes out something like “I like to crumble, crumble, crumble, crumble up my cracker. I like to break, break, break it into tiny, tiny pieces.”
Add Pretend Play:
You can pretend that crackers are just about anything. They can be sleds, monsters, bunnies, cars, you name it. Or you can pretend with crackers that are pre-made into shapes like bunnies and dinosaurs.
Enjoy and happy food play!!