We absolutely LOVE food and are passionate about all aspects of it. As parents we were really motivated to share that with our children, our family...and now you! Our philosophy is to get children genuinely interested in all aspects of food by capturing their interest and stimulating their imagination.
Food should not only be fun but it should also be about more than just eating. Think about food play, food preparation, growing food, cooking, the social aspects of food, food stories, food colours, textures and the learning potential around food. It’s about educating and empowering your children with healthy attitudes which they will carry through life.
Its all about sharing, creating, touching, feeling, tasting, laughing and….ultimately eating! Now here’s the fun stuff…below are some of our fun ideas to enhance your child's relationship with food and ultimately your relationship as a family.
A great way to involve the children in food preparation and teach them more about different types of food is activities and play with food. These could include growing seeds, playing games using food (holding a watermelon seed spitting contest), food art (collages or painting with food), food music (rice or beans in jars as shakers), playing with food toys and using the various senses to explore the different smells and tastes of different foods.
Remember, for a child, food is something to explore, enjoy and share with others. At mealtimes you can sing songs together. Share stories about your day. Play games like I Spy. Compare the smell, feel, look and taste of different foods. Children love to master new skills and take charge! Assign duties like setting and clearing the table, and helping to pass the food.
Farmer’s markets have grown in popularity and in size. They are great way for local farmers to sell directly to consumers. They’re also the perfect place to ask questions, learn what is in season and discover new recipes.
Whether it’s the local AMP show, a wine and food festival or a food fair - food shows offer an opportunity to taste many different types of foods and are a heap of family fun.
Whatever’s in season or available - apples, fejoias, strawberries, plums, figs, pumpkins or anything. This is an activity for the entire family and a great way to teach children about seasonal food/eating. Make a day of it, pack a picnic lunch and on the way home you can plan what you want to make out of your newly picked treasures (jam, crumble or soup)!
It does not have to be big or fancy. It can even be a lone tomato plant in a container. It is fun and educational to watch the plants grow, and it’s even more fun to harvest and eat them! For more information on gardening with your children see Gardening article.
Draw up a list together and go shopping together. It will take longer BUT it will definitely be more fun positive experience for all involved. Let your children have input, make decisions, smell, touch, taste different foods at the supermarket or green grocer. Make it interactive and let your child have a role in decision making…rather than just telling them what they will be eating. Why not play Shopping List together - this award winning memory game which will help your children learn about food.
In most households the kitchen is the hub…. where the action is. Sharing your kitchen with your children encourages an interest in food, in socialising as a family and is a fun way to encourage lifelong healthy eating habits. There is also a huge educational and learning benefit – kids can learn where the food comes from, how it helps us to grow and stay healthy, how it changes when it’s cooked, which ingredients taste delicious together and how to stay safe in the kitchen. For more great ideas and information on cooking with your children see the Cooking article.
Give children the right tools for the job! Little children have small clumsy hands and need kids cutlery and tools to help them learn how to properly use a knife, fork and spoon. We have a wonderful range of kids size cutlery and cooking accessories. As well as being an essential item for your own children, they make a great gift too.
Many farms are open for tours, and this is terrific way to introduce your children to agriculture. You can contact your towns’ information centre to find out about farms that are open to the public.
One of the joys of good weather is being able to eat outside with kids. Make the most of it - whatever you're cooking.., pack up a picnic and eat outdoors – it makes the food taste better, you don’t need to worry about the mess and most children will eat anything that’s inside a picnic basket!!!
One way to encourage variety, add interest and expand the range of nutrients in your child’s diet is for your family to try foods from different cultures and with different ingredients. This makes the food experience fun for the entire family.
Like a lot of things; food is much more fun if you share it with someone. Ongoing research shows that children who eat regular meals with their families are better off both physically and behaviourally. Its not only more fun but by sharing food and mealtimes with your children you can see what’s going into…and coming out of their mouths. It really can be quality family time.
Food can be a fabulous learning opportunity. Colours, textures, shapes, numbers… why is milk white, or meat red, what happens to food when its cooked or over ripe? You can use toys, games, motivational charts and books (food stories) to educate and to make food more exciting. Yum Yum Kids has a fabulous range of educational food products from food toys to educational food activities that will help stimulate learning and a passion for food.