written by Tati Vanegas and Jenny Limburg, Toddler 2s teachers
It may sound strange, in the Toddler Twos we encourage children to literally play with their food. Feeling, touching, cutting, tasting, preparing, and dealing with various foods grows their understanding and acceptance of them. Engaging in sensory play with different types of food expands the children’s pallets and makes them more comfortable with unfamiliar and new flavors.
Together we studied a picture of a rainbow and matched the different vegetables we had. Red tomatoes, orange carrots, yellow corn, green peppers, and purple cauliflower. The children enjoyed feeling, smelling and tasting the colorful veggies, as well as shredding the cheese and rolling pizza dough. We arranged the vegetables in the right order and the result was a delicious rainbow pizza we all enjoyed. In the sensory table, the toddlers explored different herbs. They snipped cilantro, basil, rosemary, sage and mint using scissors. By adding water we made an aromatic soup the children enjoyed scooping and pouring into little bowls. We tasted frozen grapes and made fruit kabobs. We also used grapes, kiwi, bananas and white chocolate to make funny faces on pancakes.
We will be planting seeds soon and hopefully we’ll have a healthy garden in a few months full of more yummy foods to explore. We’ll also dedicate some time every Friday to a cooking project. We hope that by inviting children to come in contact with their food in a deeper way, it will strengthen their connection between themselves and the natural world.