When we mush a food with a utensil or with our fingers we get a lot of information about the food’s texture, temperature, smell, feel and how we might expect this food to break apart in our mouths. This is all really valuable information for a hesitant eater who may be scared to try something because of these sensory unknowns.
Mechanical soft foods like avocado or banana lend themselves perfectly to exploring though mushing with a fork or fingers. They’re soft enough that you can draw in them with a fork and poke holes with your fingers. There are so many fun ways to mush food!!
Cookie recipes often need butter mushed into dry ingredients which you could do with a food processor, or make it into a food play experience by mushing the ingredients together with your hands.
Bread making is also a great cooking activity that involves mushing (aka kneading) dough with our hands.
Or…you could mush some soft pieces of Halloween candy (if you have any extra laying around!) like Milky Way, Mounds or Almond Joy bars, Junior Mints, York Peppermint Patties or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
The food you choose to mush will depend on what foods your child has shown interest in or what foods you want your child to learn about. The way you choose to mush the food will depend on your child’s comfort level. Maybe poking a hole in it with a fork is adventurous for your child and a big accomplishment. Maybe your child is ready to mush and squish something between their fingers…then possibly touch it to their lips to give it a kiss or take a taste with their tongue.
Whatever food you choose to mush and however you choose to play, I hope you have fun! Happy food play!!