It can take lots of experiences with a food before a child is comfortable taking a bite. Because that number is different for everyone and every food, I find it’s more helpful to pay attention to a child’s comfort level rather than despair that you’ve offered carrots 5 times and they sill haven’t taken a bite! If there’s a food you really want your child to like, a 15-try challenge is a great way to offer 15 opportunities for stress-free interactions to help them become more and more comfortable. I can’t promise your child will be eating the food by the end of 15 activities, but I can offer some curiosity: I wonder how comfortable they would be?
Start by writing down how your child interacts with carrots (or whatever food you choose) at the start of the challenge. Are they ok with them on their plate? Will they touch them, taste them, or take a bite and then say they’re finished?
Then try playing with carrots in 15 different ways by incorporating them into play activities over the next month. You can definitely do more and if you end up doing less, that’s ok, too. It’s not about the number, it’s about multiple experiences with the same food helping to build a comfort level.
Here are 15 ways to play with carrots. Feel free to treat them as suggestions, a guide or a jumping off point to make up your own activities with a food that’s important to your child or your family.
- Dot painting with carrots and dip
- Tic-tac-toe with carrot sticks and circles
- Poke holes through boiled carrot rounds (let them cool first!) to explore and turn them into rings or wheels….
- Make a face with carrot hair, nose eyes or mouth.
- Make a carrot stick person or a carrot-stick family.
- Pretend chunks of carrots are stumps and have carrot stick people jump up and down around an obstacle course. Make up the rules to the course with your child as you play.
- Make a carrot stick log cabin.
- Make a carrot stick campfire, roast pretend marshmallows and sing campfire songs 🙂
- Peel a whole carrot with a carrot peeler and make a design with the thin strips.
- Hide a toy or another food in the thin strips and find them.
- Play a turn-taking game filling up bowls with the thin strips.
- Make a carrot road and carrot cars.
- Pretend carrot sticks are Chapstick.
- Feed bites of carrot to a puppet or stuffed animal and talk about (or sing a song about) the steps of biting, chewing and swallowing.
- Make bite marks in carrot peels or carrot sticks.
I’d love to hear how your activities go, how you adapted them and what changes you notice. Please keep in touch! Happy food play! 🙂