Making food sculptures may help younger, pickier eaters branch out into tasting new fruits and veggies...or at least into playing with them; a possible first step to healthier eating! Play with your food with this art activity that encourages kids to get creative at snacktime.
What You Need:
- Apples, pears, oranges
- Various squash
- Large marshmallows
- Googly eyes or eye-shaped stickers
- Liquid glue
- Permanent markers
- Food décor pens (available in bakery aisle)
- Optional: Yarn for hair, drink umbrellas, feathers, beads, buttons or other decorative ideas
What You Do:
- Provide your child with some of the foods and supplies listed above for her food sculptures. Go for a variety — the more exotic, the better!
- If you’d like, you can make your own food sculpture first to give your child a model. Attach googly eyes or sticker eyes to an apple or orange, and use permanent markers or food décor pens to draw a mouth, ears, hair, teeth, and nose on it. This will give your child an example of the kinds of things she can do with her food.
- Encourage your child to come up with her own ideas for decorating her food sculpture. Refer also to the above list of “optional” supplies for more decorating ideas. She can sketch out some designs on
- If you’re using large marshmallows, help your child insert toothpicks for arms and legs. Then let your child use permanent marker or food color pens to draw faces on the marshmallows.
- Remind your child that she should not eat the food sculptures that have permanent marker pen designs or glue on them, but she may taste an undecorated piece of fruit, or one that was only decorated with edible food décor pens. This could be the start of healthy eating for pickier eaters!
- She can display her collection of food sculptures or play with them (for a few days…remember, fruit and vegetables go bad!). If she wishes, take photographs to preserve the memory of her creative creatures and fantastical fruits.
Beth Levin has an M.A. in Curriculum and Education from Columbia University Teachers College. She has written educational activities for Macmillan/McGraw-Hill and Renaissance Learning publishers. She has a substitute teaching credential for grades K-12 in Oregon, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.