A guest post by By Clare Mathieson from LadyDotDotDot
Kids are often told not to play with their food. I say let them play with their food. I say parents should also play with food.
As a mother of three children (7, 4 and 1), I want my kids to eat mostly healthy and tasty food but I want them to enjoy what they are eating. We do lots of baking and cooking at home but my newest hobby is playing with food. Making food art for my children started in an attempt to encourage a friend’s little boy to eat salad (I had success). I loved doing it, the children kept asking for more and I haven’t been able to stop!
My kids love guessing what picture I am making and then demolishing it almost immediately afterwards. I’m talking ingredients such as broccoli, quinoa, red cabbage, lentils – they eat it all. They critique the ‘art’ side of it, telling me when I create a plate that really isn’t one of my best. They often make their own food art now too – for themselves but also for me. It is cute to see what they come up with but it is a bonus that their kitchen skills are improving – lots of chopping and making their own snacks and lunches. I have only one rule: no food is to be wasted. Everything used in our food art creations must be eaten.
I am a primary school teacher and I especially enjoy teaching art. At home I do heaps of art and craft with my own kids – preparing food art is a way for me to get a little art fix. I love that it makes people smile and it makes even the most simple food fun. My middle child Arthur is a teeny bit fussy on the vegetable front and food art has certainly helped me to get all sorts of greenery into him. He is only four years old and is a super star at chopping fruit and vegetables now from making his own food art.
The food art is sometimes based on what ingredients I have on hand, but other times I get an idea from a book or a picture I’ve seen and try to create it. They don’t have to be fancy or complex – a smiley face made out of salad would do the trick. Depending on their age and skill level, kids can definitely get involved and help out with picking ingredients, chopping (younger kids can use a butter knife on softer foods such as bananas) and creating their own picture to admire and then eat.
Here is Arthur, aged four, chopping ingredients for lunch. He decided he wanted to make a chicken so used salad ingredients and some dried fruit and seeds.
With similar ingredients, I made a picture of The Owl and The Pussycat as we had recently listened to the song. Arthur ate both plates of food in a flash.
Have a try at home – a fun activity and a meal taken care of at the same time.
I first discovered Clare on Instagram – her amazing creations are so cute! Find more of her amazing food art for ideas and inspiration at http://ladydotdotdot.wordpress.com