I wish I could have recorded how messy this got but I either enjoyed the moment and spent time with Claire, or I could have spent more time recording the whole thing. So I decided to play instead of playing videographer.
Food play is really important for a kids development and I cringe when parents refuse to let their kids play with their food, even if just occasionally.
Playing with food is especially important when a kid is a picky eater. If you integrate messy food play when you introduce a new food item to a picky eater, there is more chance of the kid actually enjoying the food.
Compared to a more formal sit-down environment, sometimes the child can get stressed out about the mechanics of eating with adults. But remember, kids are just learning how to use the utensils, they’re given all kinds of stuff to eat and order along with them. I think sometimes the kids get too worried about making a mistake or pleasing the parents when they should be just kids.
It is no wonder that sometimes kids associate a food with a negative feeling and this can develop into a dislike for the food. So if you have never tried it, perhaps some messy food play can add a new level of engagement with your child.
But back to my quick moment which I did manage to get a clip on instagram so here it is:
I think it’s important to let your children have fun with their food sometimes. Sometimes I let Claire go crazy with her food, but only when we setup a time to play like that.
This is one of those examples. I took her two little chairs outside to the patio and I knew her clothes were due to be changed so it didn’t matter if she got them dirty, and watermelon usually comes off easily if you rinse the clothes quickly.
We used a melon baller to eat half of a watermelon. One of those small ones that have become popular in recent years. Of course, the melon baller was the main attraction for Claire. Clearly watermelon cut up as a ball is way tastier than if it was cut with knife.
Since we we were outside, we were able to hose off any spills and mess. I got a little bit on Youtube as well but I wish I could have gotten more as she got dirtier and dirtier.
This time it was watermelon, but other times we’ve done other fruits like mango, or a fruit cocktail bowl. When we finished the watermelon we hosed down the patio a bit and ended up getting totally soaked. This was almost planned.
From here it was just super easy to rinse her completely off, grab a towel and get on with our day. All this of course burned off a good amount of energy, fed Claire a healthy snack and put her en route for a long nap. Everybody wins!
So plan sometime each week or every couple days to let your kid just go to town, get dirty, messy. Let them enjoy the food and make a mess out of it. I think you’ll enjoy it just as much as they do.