For most children trying new foods is fun. For others it is a challenge but a little bit of creativity can open doors. Summer melons and fruits are abundant in beautiful colors and smells. Start with the visuals and encourage your child to assist in the preparation and perhaps they may warm up to the smells and tastes of summer!
First, a child “tastes” food with their eyes. That’s right! A child with sensitivity to tastes, smells and textures will visually sum up a food situation and decide just by looking whether or not a food is good or yucky. Just by simply looking at appealing colors and arrangements can grab their attention. Start by bringing your child with you to the grocery store or farmer’s market to pick out the fruits you will use for a fruit bowl. Watermelons, melons, cantaloupe, and strawberries are just a few!
Next, engage the strongest primitive sense: smell. Bring summer smells into your kitchen by cutting up your fruits with your child observing. Talk about how each fruit is grown in a garden and all the attention it requires to ripen to be fully enjoyed. Place each fruit in separate bowls and have your child smell the differences. Afterwards, combine them all together in one big bowl.
Finally, provide the opportunity for your child to interact with food in a non-stressful and playful way. Depending on your child’s age and abilities, provide safe wooden skewers with blunt tips. Have your child watch as you begin to alternate the fruit pieces onto the sticks, repeating the pattern. Have your child try to put the fruit on following the pattern or they can hand you the fruit to place on the stick.
Children learn by what they see, smell and taste. They watch their parent’s reactions to food and can sense pleasure just by watching. Given the time and example, your child may eventually try one of their own creations and next time you follow their lead!
HOOT HOOT Hooray…let’s be creative and play!
Director of Fun, Co-Founder & Mother of Four
Registered Licensed Occupational Therapist (OTR/L)
Sensory Integration and Praxis Test Certified (SIPT)
Each HOOT for Kids blog represents our point of view but should not replace diagnosis and treatment from your own doctor or therapist.