We always eat dinner together and had already worked on keeping the kids at the table for 15-20 minutes with a timer. So the next step was to deal with the actual food presented. Some simple rules: everyone participates, including the adults. The kids don't have to eat everything, it's just getting the kids to touch and play with the food so they get comfortable with the tactile sensations.
I served chicken, rice, corn and apples. We all took a smell and described one thing we all could smell. Then we took turns listing the colors and shapes. This will be the first thing we do every meal before I ask them to do a game.
I served mashed potatoes, hot dogs, mixed veggies and banana slices. I brought out the mini chocolate chips, gave everyone a few pieces of chocolate chips. They first were asked to make a face with the chocolate chips on a banana slice, or all of them. After comparing faces, I asked them to make a banana sandwich and eat them. The two year old did not eat the bananas, but he had fun making the face.
We had mac n cheese, rice, grapes, and corn. I had a raspberry in the corn and the kids had to find the raspberry. Again, my two year old didn't eat the raspberry but he got his hands "dirty" by going through the corn. I have already noticed he is willing to touch more of this food. So of course, I am happy.
We made spinach tortellini soup with rice and oranges and the boys had to spoon out as much as they could in 10 seconds. Then the boys had to hide rice on their spoon and cover it with spinach. We all took turns taking guesses to how much rice was on the spoon. My two year old didn't really understand what he was doing, but it was fun to see him copying his brothers.
Quesadillas with chili and grapes, yum. We cut the grapes in half and tried to see who could build the tallest tower in 10 seconds. Then we dipped our finger in the chili and made faces on our quesadillas. It's always fun to see how creative the kids can get.
Some other games with food:
- Build a house with pretzel sticks or carrot sticks
- Finding marshmallows in mashed potatoes using your fingers
- Sprinkling grated cheese over broccoli
- Putting an orange wedge in your mouth and see who can hold it the longest before laughing
- See who can put the most corn and peas on their fork in 10 seconds
- I'm sure we will come up with more as time continues
Our adventures will continue, but I already see an improvement with the boys and their use of the utensils, touching the food, and asking "what game are we playing tonight?" I find myself planning a game as part of planning the meal, thinking, what I can I hide or have the kids make or do with this?