5 Easy Food Play Activities You Can Add to Your Weekly Routine

5 Easy Food Play Activities You Can Add to Your Weekly Routine

Navigating the realm of picky eating can be a challenging journey for parents, but introducing food play activities can turn those new and scary foods into exciting and thrilling adventures. Through means of creativity and exploration, you can encourage your picky eater to engage with a variety of foods in a fun and stress-free way. In this article, we'll explore five easy food play activities that are sure to captivate the taste buds and curiosity of even the most selective eaters, and most importantly, activities that seamlessly fit in your routine.


Build-Your-Own Food Creations

Transforming our dining table into a culinary construction site has become a favorite in our household. Whether it's tacos, sandwiches, or pizzas, provide an assortment of ingredients and let your little one assemble their own creations. For taco night, we set up a colorful array of ingredients – from seasoned meats to vibrant veggies and flavorful toppings. Each family member becomes the architect of their own taco masterpiece, layering ingredients and expressing their unique taste preferences. The joy and laughter that accompany this interactive experience have turned taco night into a cherished tradition. This not only empowers children to make choices about their meals, but also makes the dining experience interactive and enjoyable. 


  • Include a variety of colorful and appealing ingredients.
  • Offer different textures, such as crunchy veggies, smooth spreads, and savory proteins.
  • Turn it into a family activity, and share the joy of building unique food creations together.
  • Have each family member describe their own creation! 
  • Pre-cut and prepare the snacks in advance for added convenience.
  • Keep the snack station easily accessible for your child to encourage spontaneous participation.


Food Art Adventure

Turn your kitchen into an art studio by encouraging picky eaters to create edible masterpieces. Edible art has become our go-to activity for transforming simple ingredients into captivating creations. Provide a selection of fruits, vegetables, and other food items (i.e. crackers, cheese, nuts, etc) for them to arrange and design on their plates. From fruit animals to vegetable rainbows, the possibilities are endless. Food art is a great way to stimulate creativity, while also working on other skills such as communication, fine motor skills, social skills and more. 


  • Use food stamps to create fun shapes from fruits and vegetables.
  • Encourage storytelling by asking your child to explain their food art creation.
  • Use foods that will captivate your child’s interest. For instance, have some melted chocolate, sprinkles, candy, etc. that they can use for decorating their food art.
  • Make sure to have a source of fiber and a source of protein to make a balanced snack once your child is done with their creation. For example, you can have crackers and cheese, vegetables and hummus, fruits and nuts, etc. 

Sensory Exploration Tray

Our sensory exploration tray has become a weekly ritual, offering a tactile experience with various textures. From squishy avocado to crunchy crackers and silky yogurt, kids love to explore the diverse world of sensations. This hands-on activity allows picky eaters to touch, feel, and explore various food sensations. Include items like cooked pasta, crunchy nuts, smooth fruits, and even cold yogurt for a diverse sensory experience. Have no time to do a sensory exploration tray activity? Do it during homework or play time! While your child works or plays, they can engage with the different textures, making it a seamless and educational experience.


  • Use a muffin tin to organize different textures.
  • Incorporate familiar and unfamiliar foods to encourage exploration.
  • Choose items that are easy to clean up, minimizing post-activity mess.
  • Keep it age-appropriate by ensuring the foods are safe for your child's age and development.

Mini Chef Supper Prep

Turn supper preparation into a collaborative and educational activity by inviting your child to be a "Mini Chef in the Making." Allocate age-appropriate tasks that they can easily handle, such as chopping soft vegetables with a child-safe knife, sorting out toppings, or assembling ingredients. This not only makes them feel like an essential part of the meal preparation but also introduces them to new foods in a very natural way. It might amaze you to discover how many children, through this method, choose to touch, smell, or even sample foods they would have otherwise avoided.


  • Begin with simple tasks that match your child's skill level.
  • Use colorful and engaging kitchen tools designed for children to make the experience enjoyable.
  • Talk about the ingredients and their role in the meal, fostering a sense of connection to the food they are preparing.


Shape and Color Sorting

Our shape and color sorting activity has added an educational twist to snack time. Use a variety of colorful fruits, vegetables, and other foods, and encourage your child to sort them based on shape or color. This activity not only enhances their fine motor skills but also introduces them to a diverse range of foods.  We recently sorted a rainbow of fruits, arranging them by color. Not only did my child enjoy the visual appeal, but they also learned about different fruits and their nutritional benefits. It's a win-win situation that combines fun and learning at the dining table.


  • Discuss the different shapes and colors as they sort the foods.
  • Incorporate healthy options alongside snacks for a balanced sorting experience.
  • Share interesting facts about each food item to make it an educational experience.
  • Make it a game by setting a timer and turning it into a friendly competition.
  • Choose a storybook with food-related themes making it a dual-purpose activity that is both educational and entertaining

Incorporating food play into a busy schedule doesn't have to be time-consuming. These quick and easy activities seamlessly weave into your daily routine, adding a touch of creativity and exploration to your child's relationship with new foods. Whether it's building food creations, exploring different textures, creating edible art, embarking on a flavorful tasting journey, or sorting by shape and color, these activities encourage picky eaters to embrace new foods with curiosity and excitement. Try infusing your own personal touch into these activities and watch as your picky eater embraces a world of delightful dining experiences. By making these activities a part of your weekly routine, you not only create enjoyable moments for your child but also cultivate a positive and adventurous approach to eating.

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