Social Emotional Learning

Fall in love with food through play!

Social Emotional Learning

“Roll, Roll, Little Pea” is the perfect book to spark creative and unconventional food play. While deceptively simple and hilariously fun, this play has a sneaky little goal: explore new foods in the playroom and you just might want to experience them on the plate. By nurturing this joyful association between food and fun, this month’s Book Club adventures are sure to encourage even the most selective eaters to taste, and even enjoy new foods. 


social emotional


Why Play This Way?

It’s no secret that a healthy attitude towards food offers so much more than nourishment for the body. A life rich with a love of food includes tactile and sensory adventures, intimate family moments, scientific experimentation, and of course, great health!  Despite our best intentions, many children become picky eaters by age two, often favoring starches and sweets. Combatting this calls for the magic of PLAY. Create playful, whole-body engagements with food to build comfort and playful acceptance. Activities like rolling grapefruits and plucking peas from spaghetti introduce new textures without the pressure to eat. Encourage a positive approach to food experiences, making it happy and safe for your child. So go ahead, get messy, and play to build a familiarity with diverse foods that will inspire delight and joy in your whole family for years to come.

A few resources to nurture an open-minded attitude toward food through playtime exposure:

Pandas try...Pickles, Peas, and Pizza!

In the spirit of always reading and playing, we’d like to share a beloved, playful food book with you: Pandas Love Peas, by Liz Lynch. Combining literacy, play, and food exploration, Lynch specifically wrote the entire Panda Love series “for young readers and picky eaters.” What could be more silly and fun than … seeing your favorite animals eat alliterative foods? 

Well, we’ll tell you! Lynch teamed up with Katie Blauser of Eat Pretty Darling and together they created Pandas Love Pickles: Let’s Eat! – an ABC recipe and food craft book designed to help children explore new foods and make “even the most reluctant eater interested in mealtime.”


One of our favorite resources that we are excited to share with you is Kids Eat in Color®. Whether you follow on Instagram, subscribe to a newsletter, access the blog, or purchase an e-book, you are sure to expand your knowledge base and fill your toolbox with ways to support your little one’s nutritional growth. Founded by Jennifer Anderson, a registered dietitian, and supported by a team of medical and educational experts, Kids Eat in Color embodies a child-centered approach designed to support the whole family. Now, as we all know, one of the best ways to expose children to new foods is…through play! So, we encourage you to check out this incredible digital download, Food Play Every Day, featuring 102 food activities for kids ages 1-10 (with modification recommendations for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and kids age 5+).

Families that Cook Together…

It almost seems obvious but don’t forget to invite your child to “cook” with you. A tiny baby might simply observe you cooking, but even a very young toddler can participate! Invite your toddler to help mash the bananas, take a few turns stirring a pot, help wash potatoes, or shake the cinnamon on your coffee in the morning. When you invite and trust your child to be involved with food preparation, you are sending the message that they can be agents of their own food experiences.

If you are looking for someplace to start, we recommend this delicious yet easy-peasy vanilla Wacky Cake suggested by our good friend Jessie Sheehan. You can find loads of other amazing recipes on Jessie Sheehan Bakes.

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Our digital Activity Library is your hang out for easy-peasy play-based learning. Designed by teachers, all activities nurture holistic development while being ridiculously fun.