Yucca is a staple in many South, Central and Native North American cultures. I used mainly the brown outside of a yucca root to make this yak, but the inside (you can see a little on his nose, eyes and ears) is white, much like potato. To learn about yucca, you could start at the grocery store and find the long brown root in the produce section. If you want to take one home to explore, touch and taste, here are some great ideas for how to prepare yucca, so you can get the full experience!
The texture is a bit different that potatoes, but it can be a great way to try something new to make some yucca fries or mashed yucca as a different side. If you’re scoffing at this exotic root, thinking, my kid won’t even eat mashed potatoes, then potatoes can be a great place to start.
You can play with yucca in the same ways you would play with potato. You could make building sticks out of yucca fries, or build a mashed yucca mountain. You could make a swimming pool of mashed yucca and have carrot people dive in….your imagination’s the limit!
Language and Senses:
Talk about the look, the feel the smell of yucca. If your kids are really familiar with potatoes you could compare them. The mashed yucca may feel thicker than mashed potatoes or maybe the yucca sticks feel grainier in your mouth or as you break them in your hands than potato fries do.
Try to describe the new food like you’re really excited about it. Like it’s an adventure to find out all these cool characteristics of this new food, like it’s the coolest thing you’ll see or do all week. Even if your child refuses to touch it, they’ll still remember the positive experience of you being excited about this new food and that’s a valuable learning experience, too!
However you choose to prepare and play with yucca (or potatoes) this week, enjoy, and happy food play!