This activity provides opportunities for sensory engagement (i.e. through vision, touch, smells, sounds, and eventually taste) in order to promote interaction with various food items during mealtime.
This Farmer’s Market guessing-game provides the child with a fun chance to build trust with new food items, without the pressure of eating it all, in an allotted amount of time.
Step 1: Grab a blindfold or bandana. Gather food items (here, we chose a food item that corresponded with every color of the rainbow). Use familiar food items & unfamiliar food items.
Step 2: Have your child put on the blindfold or bandana. Place each food item on a plate.
Step 3: Put the plates in front of the child, one at a time.
Step 4: Ask your child to identify characteristics of food item, using their other senses. Provide them with the language to build that connection with the food in their brain.
- Is it heavy or light?
- Is it smooth, waxy, prickly?
- Does it smell fresh or sweet?
- What shape is it?
- Is it squishy or firm?
Step 5: Have them give their best guess. Assist them as necessary. Have them open their eyes to see if the food matched their guess.
Step 6: Teach them how to cut, peel apart, or even color with the food item.
If they interact with new foods for the first time, consider this a win! If this encourages them to smell or taste new foods – consider this a win, too!
- If this may be overwhelming for your child, reverse the roles. Have them give you a food item to identify. Verbalize your observations. This models confidence with interacting with new foods and provides them with the language to describe new foods.
- Have them ask you 3 questions about each food item, in order to incorporate problem-solving skills. Perhaps they will ask you, “Where do you see this food item grow?” “What color is the food item?” “When do we usually eat it?”