written by Krina Gobster, Toddler 1s teacher

“YUM!” Food is an incredible motivator, especially for toddlers. And at this age is when their pallets are developing and creating opinions while exploring new tastes, textures and temperatures. It is an easy opportunity to discuss likes and dislikes. And with food, our facial expressions tell all. Watching the kid’s responses to trying new things allows us to share vocabulary that will match their opinions. “Do you like it? Or, no thank you?” And we can use some very universal simple sign by showing a thumbs up, thumbs down or a neutral feeling expressed by a sideways thumb.

During the next month or so of exploration we will try many foods and explore them in unique ways. Especially those that relate the most to the world around us, like foods that Honey Bunny would eat. This learning experience is all about opportunities to explore; we use all five senses to learn and explore in the toddler rooms. We will see, taste, smell, listen to, touch and probably even end up wearing foods. We will explore foods by eating them, squishing them, freezing them, mixing them, baking them and painting with them. Most if not all of this exploration will take place around snack and lunch, times when we are already washed up and ready to eat. Sometimes this will mean finishing our scheduled snack and staying at the tables to explore with edible oatmeal playdough. Other times it will mean pouring our own pasta ingredients together to mix and stir into our meal. My favorite experiences are when we put ingredients together and bring them down to the kitchen’s oven to bake for later, and enjoy after nap. There is no shortage to the number of ways that food can be incorporated into our day.

For all those moments in our day when meal times are closed up and tables and hands are being kept clean, we look for alternatives to engage in food related activities. That’s where you come in, parents! We are looking to bring their familiar home kitchen tools to school. If your kitchen is anything like mine, you might have an extra spatula, big spoon or potato masher laying around that could be spared for the month of September. We would love to utilize these extra tools to scoop water, sand and washable paint with inside our room. All tools will remain labeled, inside the room and monitored. And while I’d like to promise they will all be returned in the condition they arrived, I also know from experience that is not a promise I can make. We will, however, do our best to practice gentle appreciation for things that we borrow. And we will have them back to you by the month’s end. So if you have any tools to spare, especially ones that your child sees you use or is familiar with, and nothing that is precious to you, there will be a collection basket on the countertop. The more tools, the more fun and exploration there is to be had! We look forward to mashing things up this month.