We are quite positive you have heard the “let them play with their food” advice by now. Sure, it’s a great place to start for our learning eaters, but do you ever find yourself running a little low on imagination [and chronically low on sleep]? Here at Our Table, we are going to be talking about a new food each week and providing 20 ways to play that’ll keep your little ones engaged! Remember, our goal is for your little ones to interact with these new foods while becoming more comfortable and adventurous, which means we recommend avoiding any pressure for them to eat these items! Keep it playful and enjoy!
1) Broccoli makes great trees of all
sizes! Bonus points if you can include some fine motor work by “picking
leaves” off the tree!
2) Stamping anyone? Grab your condiments,
ditch the nice clothing, and get to stamping! We recommend using a dip your
child already prefers for this stamp party as that will encourage them to
interact more with broccoli as we all crave familiarity!
3) Use your senses! One of our favorite
things to do is to talk about food properties (texture, smell, color, feeling,
etc.). What better way to mix it up than to compare the feeling of raw,
steamed, and frozen broccoli!
4) Broccoli floral arrangements. Have your
kids help chop some larger pieces with kid-friendly knives and arrange in a
non-breakable item [reusable cup]. Try adding dots of mustard for the center of
the flowers! If you’re feeling really crafty, try sticking shaved carrot sticks
in as petals!
5) Broccoli and bowling! Line your little
broccoli florets up [you may need to use a puree/dip to assist them in standing]
and use a small ball to knock them over. Pro-tip: incorporate another veggie by
using a radish as the bowling ball.!
6) Broccoli in the ocean. Fill up a bowl
or plastic container with water and some underwater sea creatures. Have your
little ones swim their sharks around the broccoli seaweed!
While we are talking water….try the float
or sink test! You can use a variety of fruits/vegetables for this one [try
this while you’re already cleaning your produce!] Make it more fun by taking
predictions and using a dramatic countdown, or drumroll!
8) Want to incorporate literacy? Have your
child break apart smaller pieces of broccoli to work on creating their letters!
Try taping a piece of wax paper over a large letter from a tracing book to
9) Broccoli as a bath? Your little ones
can get small pieces of broccoli wet and use them as a pretend loofa with
dolls. Or, try making a broccoli car wash!
Broccoli fronds are fun! Cut off the
fronds [small pieces on the head of the broccoli] and get to creating! They can
be grass, carpet, sprinkles, stars, and so much more!
Broccoli and the beat! Longer pieces
of broccoli can be drumsticks! Try making music on toy drums or the bottoms of
cups/pots and pans!
While we are talking music, is it a stretch to make a broccoli microphone? Keep in mind that this means getting broccoli
fairly close to the mouth which may be a challenge for little ones with extreme
picky eating – keep it fun and if they are having a hard time try wrapping a
food-safe cling wrap around it to see if they warm up to it more.
Bet you can’t wait to try out broccoli
smiley faces! Line your broccoli up in different arrangements and on
different backgrounds for your own fun creations. Bonus if you can make a
5 Little Broccoli Jumping on the Pan! You
heard that right! Let’s mix up an old song with something new! Have them
“jump” off the pan into water for cooking or washing to incorporate
Why not try a broccoli garden?
Pro-tip: find some “dirt” that your child already loves (chocolate
pudding, crumbled oreos, etc.) to plant your broccoli plants in as this will
make interaction easier!
Broccoli blending time! Stick with
me here: If you have a high-power blender try tossing some cooked broccoli in
there for some “green paint!”
Broccoli tots make a great introduction.
Try rolling the tots, stacking the tots, or even smashing them!
“Find the broccoli!” Play
hide and seek with the broccoli (within the boundaries of the kitchen) for a
few minutes before dinner!
Toss the broccoli! Try tossing the
broccoli back and forth before it heads into its “bath.” See if you
can gradually encourage your child to hold it for longer and longer each turn!
Finally, serve the broccoli! Remember,
they may not eat it, but it is great exposure for them to have it on their