Should I Allow My Child to Play with Their Food?

You might feel anxious every time you see your child playing with their food. However, there's no need to worry. Playing with food is something positive. Discover the benefits in the following article.
Should I Allow My Child to Play with Their Food?

Last update: 09 June, 2018

Children are often told they shouldn’t play with their food. In fact, it’s a phrase that moms and dads around the world tend to repeat quite often. This is because kids have a natural tendency to play with the food we set before them.

Despite the fact that most parents scold their kids for playing with their food, specialists claim this is actually a good habit!

This type of interaction may be the best way to develop healthy eating habits from a young age.

5 benefits of allowing children to play with their food

Although this may seem hard to believe, allowing your children to play with their food offers many benefits. Take note of the following information:

1. Stimulates the senses

In today’s modern digital world, food represents the perfect opportunity to stimulate your child’s senses .

You can try all sorts of exercises. For example, make shapes out of food to stimulate your child’s sense of touch. You can also blindfold your child and have him guess what a food is based on its smell.

Stimulate the sense of taste by adding a new condiment to a dish to see if your little one can tell the difference. These are just a few ideas. Be creative!

Should I Allow My Child to Play with Their Food?

2. Makes children more prone to eating a wider variety of foods

Sometimes children have a hard time eating certain foods. In this sense, playing with food helps them overcome the fears that keep them from tasting and enjoying certain dishes.

For example, many children are quite opposed to eating vegetables and salads. How can you help your little one get the nutrition she needs?

Separate all of the ingredients you plan to include in a salad. Now, invite your little one to use her imagination to create a collage, a face, a flower, etc.

Of course, the goal is for your child to eat her creation. But even if she’s not ready, the pleasant experience is a step in the right direction.

“This type of interaction may be the best way to develop healthy eating habits from a young age.”

3. Gets your kids interested in cooking

Without a doubt, playing with food allows your child to become familiar with all types of foods. This may just spark an interest in cooking.

The simple fact that your child shows interest turns this time into a learning experience. And thanks to that, your child can understand the basic processes of preparing certain dishes.

4. Stimulates your child’s cognitive development

Contrary to what some parents may think, playing with food stimulates children’s cognitive developmentIn fact, babies that handle foods with their hands acquire a greater taste for exploration. They also learn their first words before other children.

In this sense, we recommend you encourage your child to explore at meal times. Certain foods like purees, juices and soups provide key information to stimulate your child’s brain development.

Should I Allow My Child to Play with Their Food?

5. Allows children to use the colors and textures for artistic expression

Keep in mind that the wide variety of color and textures available in foods allow children to discover opportunities to express themselves artistically.

For example, you can ask your child to create a rainbow using vegetables of different colors. You can also experiment with textures, with both hard and soft foods.

For example, prepare a pizza dough and invite your little one to press down with her hands to create shapes and letters.

So now that you know the benefits of allowing your children to play with their food, let them at it!

Resist the urge to interrupt this valuable activity. Rather, let them experience the numerous sensations and discover different foods, using their 5 senses.

Remember: don’t worry or get upset if your child plays with food. It’s completely normal for children to explore their food before tasting it. Without a doubt, this is a first step in trying something new.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.