Here’s an idea that encourages children to try new foods and flavours and explore their health and self-care development. It can be used for individual children or a small group of 2-5. NOTE: this activity may not be appropriate for “fussy" eaters.
What you will need:
Around five different food options (based on your knowledge of the children’s usual routine and tastes, these should be different enough in flavour, texture or appearance to be unusual, but not too alien). Take care when planning, as there could be negative outcomes from trying food too unpleasant/spicy, such as making the children wary of eating/trying new things.
Some options are:
- Lemon juice mixed with enough water that it is not unpleasant, but still a sour taste.
- Mashed potato made with child-friendly blue food dye.
- Some blue cheese.
- An unusual-looking fruit such as a lychee or starfruit.
- A moderately spicy (based on your assessment of the children’s tastes) tomato sauce on a cracker.
- A table.
- Plates, bowls and spoons.
Preparing the activity
Set out the different foods on a table and make sure all children are wearing aprons to allow for any spillages.
Depending on the layout of your setting, it may be helpful to take steps to avoid other children freely joining in with this activity.
Doing the activity:
Ideally this should be a child-led activity, so have the food laid out on the table and support them to try things on their own initiative. However, depending on your assessment of the children involved, alternative methods could include arranging plates for every child with each of the food options on, or having the food ready for you to serve to each child in turn.
If you’re doing this activity with a mix of ages, consider asking the older children to serve the younger ones.
Encourage the children to try the foods and, in the case of older children, acknowledge the food’s unusual qualities (‘mashed potato isn’t supposed to be blue!’).
Observe the children eat and explore the different textures/flavours at their own pace and show or discuss if they enjoy the food (for younger children this could be simply showing they want more, or don’t!).
Tracking the activity