Food exposure is an important element of a child’s healthy relationship with food. There are so many ways a child can be exposed to new foods. Speaking about or describing the food, seeing pictures, or playing with fake versions of the food, seeing that food in different forms (veggie chips as a form of exposure to vegetables), touching/smelling/seeing the food, and ultimately trying it.
In our offices, our team of Speech Language-Pathologists and Occupational Therapists at All About Speech and Language incorporate food exposures in sessions through various means of play. To mirror this type of food exposure, we have provided some specific examples of book-based activities that could be used at home. One of our favorite ways to target therapeutic goals is through reading companions!
Incorporating Food Exposure During Story Book Reading
Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
This beloved book tells the story of a town that rains down food! The sky doesn’t only rain down meatballs, but also hamburgers, orange juice, potatoes, and more! As your child follows along through this silly bedtime story, they are being exposed to a ton of different textures and types of foods.
Book Companion Activity – Create your own DIY sensory bins! Prepare a pot of cooked spaghetti noodles, put it into a large Tupperware container and then hide toys inside of the bin. Your child will then use their hands to search through the cooked noodles for the toys. This mess free activity is a silly way for children to get a hands-on, non-intimidating interaction with this type of food.
The Couch Potato by Jory John and Pete Oswald
The Couch Potato is a cute story about a potato who has everything he could ever want right from his couch! But one day when electricity goes out, Couch Potato goes beyond his comfy seat the explore the world. This book explores all the different types and variations of potatoes that children may not be so inclined to explore on their plate.
Book Companion Activity– Give your child a raw potato and allow them to decorate the potato however they want to make their own “Couch Potato”. They can draw silly eyes, glue on any accessories, etc. You can have your child take a picture of their couch-potato doing their favorite thing…hanging out on their couch! Bonus- the Wiggles have an awesome song you can sing together about potatoes (Hot Potato by the Wiggles)!