Food play activities don’t always need to be super-planned with the exact ‘right’ ingredients. The fridge and pantry have so many edible food play options when you look inside and say ‘what could that be?’ I made the boy (above) with the strawberry tops from my snack, a few nuts from the pantry, a few berries and asparagus ends from my dinner prep. The possibilities are endless!! And I ate the nuts and berries, so they weren’t wasted 😉
There are also tons of ways to play with foods and learn about them without throwing a lot of extra food in the trash. Although, any time a child has learned something by touching a food, even if they didn’t eat it, I would say that food wasn’t wasted….
1. Use left-overs from a lunch plate for an afternoon food play snacktime.
2. Save the tops from carrots and strawberries, the ends of green beans and asparagus, the rind of melons and skin of avocados. These all make great, varied materials to build with, pretend with or take apart in food play.
3. As you prepare veggies throughout the week put aside a small amount of whatever you’re chopping in a Tupperware in the fridge. You don’t need a lot of each thing. This means you’ll always have something on hand to throw together a fun, easy food-play activity and you don’t need any special foods that you’ll feel guilty about throwing away if they don’t get eaten!
4. Use very small portions when introducing new foods. For example, if you’re working on cooked peas, you could start with maybe one or two for each of you. Explore the peas, then maybe add a few more, but you could do a whole activity with 20-30. You don’t have to use the whole bag of something to play and explore.
5. Play with foods during food play that the rest of the family will actually eat. This way you’re only throwing away a very small portion and if your kid interacted with it and had a positive experience, that is not a waste!
However you choose to gather your materials, have fun and build, design and create away!
Enjoy! Happy food play!