Thursday Tips: Play With Food Like Toys

fruit blocks, cubes

Food play is all about touching food. We want kids to get comfortable touching foods with their hands so they will start touching them to their lips, then tasting them and finally eating them!

A lot of kids are a lot more hesitant to touch foods than toys, especially picky eaters, and there are a lot of reasons kids can be hesitant to touch foods.

1. Because food is often associated with stressful situations where they have to eat it, not just touch it. So kids will lump all experiences with food together and push it (whatever it is) away with the classic 2-hand gesture of ‘I am having no part in this at all!!’

2. Because food can be a lot of different textures and if kids haven’t touched a food before they don’t know what to expect.

3. Because some kids just don’t like to get their hands dirty or wet or don’t like the feel of the food or don’t trust the situation…

Like with most things, though, kids will usually imitate our attitude and behavior.  If we play with food just like any other toys, they’ll usually (eventually) start playing like it’s no big deal, too!


Cut fruit up into building blocks (like in the picture above) and build towers, castles, cities, stables, a garage. Use the blocks as cars, horses, people, favorite characters. You get the idea. Pretend with fruit blocks just like you would pretend with regular blocks!

Make a funny face.

Play a game with food (cubes make great game-pieces when you’re done building).

Enjoy! Happy food play!





10 thoughts on “Thursday Tips: Play With Food Like Toys

  1. When our daughter was little, doctors believed she would need to be tube fed. They didn’t think she would learn to eat and be able to eat enough to grow. Both my husband and I love food and have studied cooking (him more than me) so we prepared all her purées and tasted everything before feeding our girl. Slowly we added textures. She struggled with many food and it felt like forever before she could chew. At 16, I still cut her food up before I give her the plate but she eats almost everything and will try everything. We’ve always had food available on the table that were not in her plate but she could have some. She saw is eating and enjoying all kinds of food and developed and interest for it even before she could eat it safely. We took her to restaurants and ordered one “safe” dish and all kind of other things and allowed her to pick things. We have taken her to all kind of ethnic restaurants and allowed her to form her own culinary opinion. She is now curious about food just like us. We never forced her to eat anything… We just showed her.

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