Strawberries, like all foods, are best in peak season. Sweet and juicy, they’re the perfect summer treat or lunch, if, like me, you can’t think of eating anything other than fruit in the heat of the day.
Making one food out of another is a great way to explore one and talk about the other. If your child likes strawberries, but doesn’t like shrimp, this can be a great way to start talking about shrimp during food play without jumping right into the new and possibly scary food.
By making the strawberry shrimp a child can learn about the shape of shrimp, and a lot of other information, as they work up to interacting fully without being overwhelmed by an actual experience, if they’re not ready yet. This can be done with any other food, too, where you ‘build’ a food that you want to start introducing with a food a child is already comfortable touching.
If your child wants to keep going, you can continue to add to your picture to extend the fun. Give the shrimp some friends. Make some coral or fish or a boat to add to the picture.
I also love to dip strawberries into toppings like melted chocolate, caramel or whipped cream. Dipping is really fun and can be a great bridge to help kids try new foods. This is often used in food chaining strategies where kids gradually expand upon foods they are already comfortable with to slowly increase accepted foods. .
If your child already likes strawberries, you could add some herbs like basil or mint to expand on the play. Cut the herbs in strips or rip them up to make seaweed or food for the shrimp. Or pretend the shrimp are on a plate and the herbs could be pasta for a shrimp dish. Which makes me think of this Garlic, Shrimp Alfredo recipe I’ve been meaning to try, if you want to talk about a recipe with your kids or turn this into a cooking activity.
Strawberries are also amazing in countless smoothie recipes: another great way to get lots of nutrition in a refreshing meal that doesn’t require all the active effort of chewing! I’m linking you here to my pinterest smoothie board or a simple google search will get you countless smoothie ideas, too.
Here’s to staying cool and happy food play!