Please welcome Shannon from Oh Creative Day to the Play with Food blog – teacher, mumma, crafter and witty-instagram-comment-maker!
I get it. Art and craft activities with kids can be time-consuming and messy. Add food into this mix and it creates the potential for a whole new level of stress and chaos. Today I’m here to share some tips on how to make creative play with food more manageable, less stressful and fun for all the family.
Last year, Simone and I celebrated a month of getting creative with our kids and food over on Instagram. (Check out #creativeplaywithfood for some deliciously playful ideas.)
LET GO OF EXPECTATIONS
If I set up an invitation to creatively play with food, I have to suspend judgment and control the urge to jump in. There is no “right” way or “wrong” way to play with and explore food. Let your child lead the way.
In this activity, I set up paper and some mulberries we had picked. In my mind, I expected this activity to involve “painting” with the mulberry juice. My kids were more interested in rolling the mulberries around and squishing them. Rather than this being a “painting” session, it ended up being a sensory play experience with a lot of rich discussion about ripe vs unripe. I made several attempts to demonstrate to my kids how to “paint” with the mulberries until I realized that I had to let go of my expectations.
PROCESS NOT PRODUCT
A great way to let go of expectations when creatively playing with food with your kids, is to focus on process over product. Often as adults we focus on what we expect our child to produce from a creative activity. If we shift our focus to the process, it can make the whole experience a lot more enjoyable.
I set up this invitation to create and play for my 3 year old. I imagined that we would examine the fruit and vegetables with the magnifying glass and then draw them with the water colour pencils. Instead she wanted to squeeze the fruit and veg and to paint with the juices. Ihad to let go of my expectation of wanting to produce a brightly coloured drawing, and let her guide the process.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS
I am the Glitter Grinch. When we are crafting, I know that glitter is the material that will tip me over the edge. So we just don’t use it very often. The same applies with food and creative play with food. Know what makes you uncomfortable and work within your limits.
SET UP FOR SUCCESS
One activity we did together during #creativeplaywithfood month, was rolling blueberries and peas through homemade paint.
We had paper set into trays. Drop sheets were laid down, cleaning rags were on hand. By having materials set up and organized, it helped to minimize some of the stress and made the cleaning-up process much easier.
In any creative play situation, I recommend dressing for mess, drop sheets, having paper towels or cloths on stand-by and a bowl of water to easily clean hands.
I hope some of these ideas have been useful!
Thanks so much Shannon for appearing on the Play with Food blog. Exposures to food don’t always have to be during mealtimes and this theme continues through my books, blog posts and instagram account.
During the last week of April in 2017, the Get Creative Team and I are teaming up to get creative with food on Instagram – have a browse through #getcreativewith and join in the fun! What can you create? Feel free to leave a link below too!