This article shares our favorites Valentine’s Day tools and food play activities for picky eaters.
Exposing extremely picky eaters to new foods is crucial when you’re working to end picky eating, but simply serving your child new foods at a meal is only one piece of the puzzle. Extremely picky eaters also need to get to know new foods.
“Getting to know” new foods can take many forms. One of my favorites and one of the most effective ways to bridge the gap between “new” and “familiar” is through hands-on experiences – basically exploring food using all of the senses.
Hands-on contact with food is so important for extremely picky eaters because it teaches them what to expect when they are finally ready to eat. Plus, engaging with food in a fun, low-pressure way creates positive experiences, which boost comfort and interest (which lead to eating).
The only problem with hands-on food experiences? It can be hard to think of fun and engaging activities, especially if you’re not a particularly creative or crafty mom.
When it comes to getting hands on with food, more complicated or creative does not equal better. Simple is GREAT.
For me, one of the easiest ways to think of simple yet irresistibly engaging ideas for the hands-on food play I do with clients is a theme and in February, Valentine’s Day is a no-brainer.
Read on for my favorite Valentine’s Day food play tools (and a few extra Valentine’s Day goodies that were too cute not to mention) as well as a link to our curated list of Valentine’s Day food play ideas.
Our Favorite Valentine’s Day Goodies for Food Play (and general celebration)
The Cutest Waffle Maker We Use Year Round – never not recommending this handy tool
Bamboo Heart-Shaped Spoon Set – irresistibly cute for any time of year
Festive Valentine’s Day PJs – I know I’m not the only one who has a weakness for holiday PJs
My Kids’ Favorite Book for Valentine’s Day – we’ve been reading it for 3 years straight
Heart Cookie Cutters & Uncrustables Maker – for festive cookies, sandwiches, fruits and veggies, you name it
Heart Food Picks – the cutest for snacks and lunch boxes; pro tip: offer these with less preferred foods as an extra incentive to eat!
Sprinkles – for yogurt, pancakes, ice cream, cookies
Silicone Heart Molds – sure, you can bake in these, but I’d serve all my February snacks in here (like an extra exciting muffin tin!)
Heart-Shaped Cooking Rings – prefect heart pancakes and eggs