Sensory play using food can be a great way to encourage children to interact with and explore a variety of foods. As parents, we tend to head straight for the end goal of eating foods and might get frustrated that our child won’t even try new food. What we often overlook is that there are many sensory steps for a child to progress through before they reach the endpoint of eating. This starts with simply tolerating being near the food and moves through all the senses, from smelling the food, touching the food, tasting the food and finally eating and swallowing the food.
If we want children to learn to enjoy food, we must first ensure that they are comfortable being near it and exploring it. Sensory play using food is a great way to achieve this and can often be more successful than simply exposing your child to the food at mealtimes.
This is because the child may feel less pressure to eat the food if it’s playtime and not mealtime. Less pressure often means the child feels more relaxed and willing to explore and interact with the food.
Here are our favourite sensory play activities using food that you could try at home with your child at home: