In the wee hours of Thursday 2nd November, I absconded from the city with my 3 yo for a cruise up the highway to Newcastle to co-host a fun and information filled morning all about feeding fussy eaters. Mel Burgess from Love Parenting,  dietitian Stina Oftedal and I hosted the session for a wonderful group of pre-schoolers, toddlers and babies with their parents. Whilst Stina and Mel chatted to the mums. I was busy entertaining and observing the kids with a range of sensory activities, food play and eating at a Teddy Bear’s Picnic. 
I walked away with only a single photo of my little bear face creation which shows just how busy I must have been (sorry, it’s not the best picture)!
At the teddy bear’s picnic this is what we got up to:
1) Parachute game with all of the teddies the children brought with them to help “break the ice” and even out all of the children’s arousal levels. 
2) Reading a touch and feel book to chat about tactile sensory words.
3) An action nursery rhyme book, pat-a-cake, to continue to get our arousal levels ready for a more difficult upcoming task.
4) Sensory pass around of the following foods: Gold Nugget Mandarin (very bumpy), Navel Orange (smooth with little dot dimples), sweet potato (a bit dirty from growing in the ground), a kiwi fruit (hairy), pineapple (spikey with some green, brown and yellow), knobbly ginger (big smell)
5) We then had some creative play with food as we made bear faces. A rice cake was the base. Each child then used their own little knife to self-spread of about 1/2 tsp of allergy friendly choc spread (a great motor planning task). We then offered a rainbow of different foods for children to pick and choose including
  • Blueberries for eyes
  • Kiwi fruit or GF pretzels for ears
  • Curly carrot hair (I used a hand held spiraliser – about $15 (see picture at end of post)- they are good for making curly carrot, zucchini noodles etc.)
  • Fruit juice jubes for a nose
  • Cucumber or orange for a mouth
6) After the food fun was over we tried our hands at a gluing and scrunching teddy bear craft activity. This craft is good for developing muscles for pincer grip and subsequently cutlery holding & pre-writing activities. We also added some bumpy bubble wrap tummies to some of the bears.
I love observing children in a playful way to see how they interact with foods and what triggers some of their behaviours. Watching them tells me novels worth of information and I loved engaging with the kids in a pressure-free way to glean this information.
I am also a paying member of Mel’s parenting huddle group. It’s a monthly subscription to a group for parenting support that is guided by Mel. She delivers a range of parenting topics and evidence-based training in a user friendly format – so check her out at Love Parenting! #notsponsoredjustawesome
This is an amazon affiliate link to the sort of hand held spiralizer that I find handy in my house.

Or you may like to browse at:

Sensory Tools On Amazon

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