Play With Your Food: Fun Snacks to Make with Your Kids

Whoever said, “Don’t play with your food,” probably never had the chance to get deliciously messy. Not only can playing with your food be fun, it can actually be helpful for picky eaters!

Now, you obviously can’t allow food fights at every meal. However, interacting with food with as many senses as possible can result in positive outcomes. Playing with food can encourage positive feelings about mealtimes, expose picky kids to new flavors, and help provide a safe way for kids with sensory sensitivities to explore different textures.

Here are a few fun snack ideas that you can use with your kids to help facilitate appropriate and manageable food play.

Add Faces to Anything

A sandwich, a salad, a bowl of cereal… anything can be more fun if you add a face to it. The possibilities are pretty much endless, and work for any meal. Make breakfast fun with eggs for eyes on a piece of toast? What about strawberry eyes on a pancake with a whipped cream smile?

Challenge your kids to create a face with their food… the sillier the smile, the better!

Leaning Tower of Cheese

This idea is just what it sounds like. Grab a few types of cheese, cut some cubes and rectangles, and get stacking. See who can make the tallest tower without it tipping over.

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Your kids will be using hand-eye coordination, planning skills, spatial awareness, and more as they craft their cheesy creations. You can also talk about how different cheeses feel, smell, and taste as you go!

Veggie Log Cabin

Carrot sticks, celery stalks, and other veggies cut into “log” shapes make a great stacking and building tool. Use nut butters for dip and for construction!

This is a great way to talk about shapes, practice building skills, and make patterns. Veggie sticks are also perfect for dipping and snacking, so don’t forget to eat up some of those walls.

Chip Boats in Salsa Sea

When you don’t have the time or energy to make a big project out of food play, this snack will save the day. Grab some salsa, dump it in a bowl, and hand your child a fleet of chip “boats.

While it might not be the best snack for toddlers, this is a great way for older kids to explore new tastes and textures. Add olives, avocado slices, or other items to the mix if you are working on trying out new foods or different texture combinations.

Yogurt Art

Be prepared to get messy with this snack idea! Start with some yogurt in a wide bowl, then give your kids some tasty “art supplies” with the yogurt as a canvas! Swirl in chocolate syrup or honey with toothpicks, sprinkle on cinnamon, or carefully place bits of fruit on top to make patterns and shapes.

Graham Cracker High-Rise

Graham crackers make for easy construction materials, especially when you use nut butters or cream cheese as glue to hold it together. In fact, many parents find that with small kids, making graham cracker houses or high-rises is much simpler than working with things like gingerbread around the holidays.

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Making these fun snacks can be a wonderful way to make some memories with your child while exposing them to new foods, textures, and flavors. It can also just be an enjoyable experience for everyone to have the chance to loosen up and play with their food every now and then!

Bethany Robin

Bethany has been blogging about the struggles, pitfalls, and just plain insanity of parenting as a millennial since her oldest was born in 2015. She's also worked extensively as a doula and has four children of her own, including toddler twins.

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