I was recently asked to come up with food play activities that could help kids learn to like sushi. I had so much fun coming up with ideas that I want to share them with you all for today’s Monday Funday!
When I think about introducing a specific new food, I find it helpful to come up with activities within the main categories of food play: building, deconstructing, making a picture, pretend play, games and cooking. Below are some ideas in each category to help your child learn about sushi!
Sushi rolls are cut into perfect building blocks. You could stack them into a tower, build a pyramid, a wall, really anything you could think of that would be fun to build with blocks would be fun to build with sushi, too! And sushi rolls with rice on the outside are kind of sticky, so that adds a whole other dimension to the building fun!
Sushi rolls are constructed from a few different foods, so deconstructing them can be as simple as taking those components apart and putting them in their own piles. Rice in one pile, nori in another, cucumber in another etc….
Next you could take apart and explore the foods in each pile to learn about and become more comfortable with them individually. You could mush individual grains of rice; see what they feel like and what happens to them. You could make bite marks in tiny pieces of cucumber or shred a piece of crab into smaller and smaller strips.
Sushi is perfect to pretend with! A piece of sushi could be a boat, a car, a plane. You could roll a piece of sushi around like a wheel or a ball. A piece of sushi could be a snail. It could hop around like a bunny or inch along slowly like a turtle. You could use two pieces of sushi and act out a story like the tortoise and the hare. The pretend possibilities are literally endless!
Make A Picture:
Making a picture is a mix of pretend play and building, but I think it deserves its own category. You could make a face with two pieces of sushi for the eyes. You could take all the separate pieces you took apart and make a landscape or make an animal! You could make a picture together with your child or each make your own pictures and see what different, amazing masterpieces you each make out of the same materials!
Sushi pieces could be game pieces in a board game. Different kinds of sushi pieces could stand in for Xs and Os in a game of Tic-Tac-Toe. You could make up an edible obstacle course with sushi or use pieces of sushi as the cones or the ball/car in a cone drills game.
Most of us buy sushi pre-made by someone who knows what they’re doing, but making sushi rolls can be a really fun cooking activity/adventure in itself. From buying the ingredients to preparing the components of your rolls, to learning how to roll them up, there are rich learning opportunities in every step of a cooking activity with sushi!
You can also combine pretend play elements with a sushi cooking activity. You could pretend you’re putting all the ingredients to bed in their little rice bed before rolling up the sleeping bag and tucking them in. Or you could pretend you’re planting ingredient ‘seeds’ in your rice, then rolling up your garden.
I hope these ideas have gotten your imagine going and maybe given you some hope that there are fun ways to introduce the ‘adult food’ you love to your kids. Maybe someday you could even all have sushi night together!
Happy food play!