This month over on Instagram, I’ve been hashtagging #CreativePlayWithFood like crazy together with my fabulous foodie friend Simone from Play With Food.
We have been getting creative with food and sharing activities to make healthy eating fun for your littles.
Here are some of the crafts and picture books that have been a part of the celebrations.
T-Veg is one of our favourite new books.
The rollicking, rhyming text is super fun to read aloud and the illustrations are a riot of fun and colour.
It tells the story of Reginald, a T-Rex who is ostracised by the other T-Rexes for his vegetarian ways.
Sick of being teased about his love of fruit and veg, Reginald sets out to find some veggie-loving soul mates.
He is called on to save the day and realises that he really does belong with his T-Rex clan.
This book features a dazzling array of fruit and vegetables.
It celebrates diversity and shows kids that the world needs them to embrace what makes them unique and different.
In Reginald’s honour, we baked this delicious banana and carrot cake.
Do you involve your kids in the kitchen?
Simone has 8 tips for how kids can help in the kitchen and learn at the same time.
Carrot cake is how we originally made carrots more acceptable to our toddler.
(And being friends with Simone has taught me that exposing kids to fruit and vegetables heightens their chances of consuming it.)
We made sure she was a part of the baking process and fully aware of the carrot within the cake.
I used to always hide veggies in the toddler’s meals until Simone made me question whether we should hide veggies in our kids’ meals.
The book also inspired me to try my hand at food art.
I do get stuck in food ruts and present food in the same old way that I know will get eaten.
The “bean grass” was well-received and beans are well on their way to becoming an “acceptable” food.
Check out Simone’s dinotastic effort.
Nothing like some gardening to get kids excited about fresh produce!
Originally we were going to give packets of baby carrot seeds as Easter gifts to some of our little friends.
Instead the toddler decided that they were hers and she was going to plant them.
(Is “MINE!” a popular proclamation at your place?!)
They are now sprouting successfully in the backyard and a certain Little Miss can’t wait for harvest time.
I do not have a green thumb at all, so I’m just proud that we actually grew something!
A few birthdays ago, my mum gifted me a super whizz-bang juicer/processor.
I make up a juice every afternoon for the cherubs and I.
So we made some coasters for our afternoon juice sessions.
We used cork coasters, Mod Podge (PVA glue would probably also work) and some clear varnish.
We cut the paper to fit our coasters, glued it in place with the Mod Podge.
We then poured the clear varnish over the top. Simple!
(I promise that juice was super delicious, even though it looks like rainwater.)
Two little peas go on an adventure in the garden.
Where does the third pea come in, as suggested by the title?
Well it’s a Big Bad World out there, and “predators” force the two peas underground.
Slowly they grow into a beautiful pea plant.
This is a visually stunning book and I was honestly more taken with the illustrations than the story.
I suspect something was lost in the translation from French to English.
We used this book as inspiration for a painting activity.
We cut paper to fit inside various containers.
Simone made “paint” out of cornflour and the juice out of a beetroot tin which was then spooned into the containers.
The kids delighted in dropping peas and blueberries into the tins and rolling them through the paint.
It was raucous, messy and fun!
But it’s all about embracing the mess, right?
(Peas are a new favourite here and I suspect it is because of this activity.)
Alice’s Food A-Z is a perfect book for the mini-Masterchef at your place.
Arranged alphabetically, each letter features a healthy food.
Fun and funny facts, cooking tips and recipes are then dedicated to the food featured.
It’s a treasure trove of fabulous foodie information.
We took the W for Watermelon page as inspiration for some simple print-making.
We cut a sponge into a semi-circle to print the pink parts of the watermelon.
Using a paintbrush, we added the green outer.
Black pips were added thanks to a black marker.
“Kindy Kitchen” by Jessica Rosman and Nettie Lodge is a fun rhyme and recipe book that brings fruit and vegetables to life.
It’s packed with 30 recipes with each recipe accompanied by a poem.
Kids can make delicious and nutritious snacks like a pineapple crocodile or capsicum boat.
These seaweed lady beetles were a hit. Seaweed has now been added to the snacking roster here!
“Too Many Pears” by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley is a cautionary tale about what can happen when you over-indulge in your favourite foods.
Simone shared some delicious pear recipes and a peary cute craft. (See what I did there? I make myself groan sometimes.)
It has been amazingly cool to see some of the ways our InstaBuddies have been creatively playing with food with their little people.
Check out the hashtag for some more inspiration.
It has really reinforced for me that if I want my kids to be excited by food and to try new foods, then I need to lead the way and model getting excited and being adventurous with food.
Parenting is a wild ride, right?!
Just to be transparent, I am a Play with Food affiliate. This means that if you click over to Simone’s site and purchase one of her eBooks or eCourses, then I receive a small commission. However, I 100% endorse what Simone stands for and teaches. Many of the tips and techniques that we use for happy mealtimes at our place have been taught to me by Simone. She is one super clever lady!
So many great ideas – there will never be a better excuse to make cake! That watermelon print is so funky and I think pea painting is totally a thing! Simone is an absolute legend – she really is a Happy Mealtimes pioneer. I think she should totes run a course for veggie phobic grown ups too!
I agree. She also needs to develop a lunch delivery service because I’m hungry.
Thanks Sammie x
I’ve loved following along with you and Simone on Instagram – you’ve created some truly inspiring and creative activities! I think the watermelon sponge printing is my favourite because – watermelon! Bravo xx
You are too kind, lovely lady. Hope you’ve recovered from your painting session from last week! And Happy Anni!!
We’ll forever have the seaweed. Thanks for being a part of our meal times. You know I LOVE your work xxx
And also sorry about the sheets. And the clothes. Embrace mess, right?!