Plan a snack or a meal that can be eaten with the fingers. Nuts, crackers,
fruits, and vegetables are easy. Be brave and experiment with peanut butter,
yogurt, and other foods that are normally eaten with a utensil. Be sure the children have clean hands before they start this activity. Use spoons in the serving bowls. As they eat, talk with the children about how foods feel.
Caution: Young children can easily choke on raw vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, peanut butter, hot dogs, etc. Do not give these foods to infants. Closely watch young children when they eat these foods.
Another way to point out texture and other sensory variations is to play
guessing games at the table.
Ask the children, “What do you have on your plate that is crunchy?” (a carrot)
What is red and slippery?” (jello) “Can you think of the only true blue food?”
Stir the following items into plain water. Give each child four spoons to dip
into the solutions to taste. Ask them which foods taste salty, sweet, etc.
Place sturdy foods, such as the ones listed below, inside clean socks or paper
Ask the children to reach into the sock or bag and identify the foods by touch
only. You may want to have pictures of the foods pasted onto a sheet of
paper. Ask the children to match what’s inside the bag to the pictures.
Ask them about how the foods feel.
Are they smooth? Bumpy? Fuzzy? Round?
Long? Large or small?
Place some of the items below in small containers.
Use plastic margarine tubs or empty 35 mm film canisters. (Ask parents to
save these for you.) Cut a slit in the lid. Glue small pictures from magazines or
drawings of each food onto a piece of paper. Have the children take turns
smelling the containers. Ask them to match the canister to the correct food
Ask the children to close their eyes or tie a bandanna over their eyes. Make
the following sounds and ask the children to identify the foods using only their
sense of hearing.
Talk with the children about grain-based foods, such as bread, rice, pasta, crackers, cereals, even cakes and cookies. Children need 6 servings of grain foods each day. Talk about why we need to make sure that we choose some grain foods more often than others.
Discuss with the children foods that can be made with grains.
Read the story The Little Red Hen. Grains, like the wheat in the story, are the seeds of grasses. We eat many kinds of grass seed.
The little red hen could have taken any of these to the miller: rice, corn, barley, rye, oats or wheat.
Taste test breads made from different grains so that the children can see and taste the difference.
Use nutrition posters for a large puzzle or have children choose magazine pictures or draw pictures of food and food related ideas, such as farms, plants, gardens or animals.