Thursday Tips: Food Prep Is Sensory Play

ketchupIn our fast-paced world we have quick, easy food options jockeying to take our orders, lighten our load, take the task of cooking off our plates. But whether you’re cooking from scratch or plating a ready-made meal, getting kids involved in getting food ready is a great way to add food learning and exploration into daily routines that are already happening!

Anything you do to prepare or serve food can count as food prep. Opening a box of crackers? Food prep. Peeling open a string cheese wrapper? Food prep. Putting salad ingredients together in a bowl? Food prep. You get the idea. Cooking also includes a lot of food prep, but there is food being touched or interacted with in some way to get food on a plate at every meal, even if you’re not cooking the whole meal, and that can be really valuable teaching time.

The interactions we have with food while we’re getting it ready teach us a lot about it. We can learn a food’s temperature, if it’s wet or dry, hard or mushy, if it drips or pours, if it’s crumbly or sticky. We can learn a lot of these things by looking at the food and we learn even more if we touch it.

We often get foods all ready for kids on their plates and then ask them to eat, but involving them in the prep steps can help them know more about the food on their plates and be more ready to eat it when they sit down.

So, instead of a separate food play activity today (though you’re always welcome to choose one from the Activities pull-down menu on the right), I encourage you to think about the 5-10 minutes before a meal or snack. Could your child help you get crackers out of the bag? Could they use a spoon and get some peanut butter out of the jar? How could they participate in getting a meal or snack ready even if you’re not cooking a whole meal?

I hope you enjoy this fresh look at your routines! Happy food prep and play!


10 thoughts on “Thursday Tips: Food Prep Is Sensory Play

  1. I agree – it’s important to get them involved when they’re young because they need to know what they’re doing when they grow up and leave! I’ve taught all four of our sons how to cook…along with all of the other necessary chores in daily life that they would need to know when they live on their own (budgeting, cleaning, shopping, menu planning) and my husband has taught them about maintenance of their cars, the yard, and they always helped him when he had to ‘fix’ anything. Now two of them live out there in this big world on their own and are self-sufficient…the other two will be on their way in a few years…thanks for sharing these great tips for other young moms!! Hope they listen 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Hope so! Funny story: my hubby grew up with nannies and maids…early in our marriage his parents came to visit…after dinner he and I started doing the dishes together, with him sweeping up the floor, etc. His mother looked at me and said “My son never had to do anything when he lived at home!” I replied: “I know, I had to teach him everything!” We still get a kick out of that one.. LOL 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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