February is crazy for the team Emery residence.  We have a string of birthdays!  Mark has his birthday on 30 Jan (ok not in February …. but still), Verity turned 1 on 4th of Feb and I turned 21 (again :p) on the 24th of Feb. Plus some great family and friends also have birthdays this month too – why does such a busy month have to be soooo short??   Some other great things that happened this February included Childhood Heart Disease (CHD) awareness day on the 14th and Chinese New Year.  (BTW: This is a game I made for last year’s Chinese New Year – a bit dated but definitely an idea to get your creative juices flowing when it comes to vegie play away from scheduled mealtimes.)

Without further adieu, it’s time I introduced my February Pinterest Challenge….

This was at the top of my Pinterest feed on 1st Feb – It was pinned by Kristen Yarker – a Registered Dietitian out of the US that I follow on Pinterest, Twitter & Facebook (and recommend you have a look at her stuff via her website here) and the original food art appeared on Kitchen Fun with my 3 Sons:

Originally posted at: http://www.kitchenfunwithmy3sons.com/2014/04/sheep-fruit-snack.html

Initial impression: AWESOME!  Because 2015 is the year of the Sheep/Goat/Ram (depending on the Asian region) and I was hoping for pins that I thought were easy.

So, to make this happen for my young girls, I made a template for them to copy.  You will find your FREE copy at the bottom of this post.

I printed and laminated my template.  Then I prepared my VEGETABLES.  Wait!  Isn’t that banana and grapes in the picture? Ummm… yeah!  But – after reading this article in early February (that highlights kids are getting too much fruit as opposed to much needed vegetables) and seeing the behaviours of children in my classes, I opt for vegies.  In general, fruit is a much “easier” food group for kids to accept than vegetables.  So, vegetable play is going to be the main focus of my play activities with my girls and in my classes.

Play with Food: Vegetable Art: Sheep

Green circle vegetable ideas for the grass:

  • Sliced asparagus spears
  • Sliced broccoli stalks
  • Baby spinach leaves

White wool/circle vegetable ideas for the sheep:

  • Cauliflower florets or sliced stalk
  • Peeled zucchini
  • Peeled cucumber
  • Potato

Black items for face or feet:

  • Sultanas
  • Dates
  • Olives
  • Prunes

This is obviously not an exhaustive list.  If you have more ideas definitely leave them in the comments!

Play with Food : Vegetable Art : Sheep

The activity summary:

As with every pinterest recreation, the important thing for me is set-up.  Without setting up properly, the task is more stressful than it is worth.  So, I laminated the templates and prepared my vegetables during Verity’s nap time.  This is when Elizabeth could entertain herself with some play dough and I can get some other things done.  I stored the lightly steamed asparagus circles and cauliflower florets in the fridge until it was time to play.

Both girls enjoyed putting the vegetables onto the template.  Elizabeth then made some towers out of her asparagus circles.  And both girls chowed down on the asparagus once they were done.  The cauliflower is  a harder sell for my two girls.  We broke the florets down even more.  The smaller the floret is, the easier it is to go into their mouths.  I find that instructing them on how to motor plan the breaking of the florets is a great way to help them LEARN to motor plan, rather than just jumping in and cutting them up for them.  By this stage the activity had lasted 10mins – corresponding to their attention span for most activities.  Some cauliflower was eaten but not all of it.  That’s OK!

I hope you get to run this activity with your kids.  I’d love to hear what they thought!

Happy Eating,


Free Vegetable Art Template by Play with Food

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