The peel of this zucchini was so much fun to play with and made me think back to a post I wrote last winter on skins and peels. Peels and skins of fruits and vegetables can be especially challenging for picky eaters both for texture and oral motor reasons. Because they create a mixed texture and can be hard to chew for toddlers, we often cut them off, then don’t know when or how to try to add them into a child’s diet later.
Playing with peels can be a really fun way to get used to their texture, maybe take a taste, and learn that the skins and peels we eat taste mostly like the fruit or veggie they come from!
Playing with peels can also be a really fun way to involve kids in food play while you’re food prepping. You could set them up with a food play mat while you’re making dinner and see what they make out of cucumber and carrot peels you were peeling for a salad. (This is also a great way not to waste a lot of food on food play!). If you’re making an after school snack of apples, you could leave the peels on a separate plate, without the pressure to eat them, but you could offer a game to see who can make them into a bridge, a road, a boat, a car.
Or you could turn playing with peels into a turn-taking game where you each add one peel to a picture and see what you end up making (like the game where everyone writes one sentence in a story).
However you choose to play with peels, I hope you have so much fun! And thank you so much for having fun with me as I played my way through the animal alphabet. And you can be sure, even though we’ve reached ‘Z,’ the food play’s not over! There’ll be plenty more fun with food to be had on future Monday Fundays!
Happy food play!!