Experiencing foods in lots of fun + different ways can help little ones feel more comfortable trying them and over time, can help them learn to love them!

This can be super handy for children who are a little fussy or picky with foods or a bit sensitive to anything new.

Sensory food play

Sensory play can help little people learn about different textures, shapes, colours, sounds, tastes and smells in a calm, happy + fun environment.

It’s a great way for little ones to learn about the wonderful world of food and studies show that babies + toddlers who engage with food using all their senses, in + outside of mealtimes, are more willing to try those foods as they become more familiar with them.

Take a peek at nutritionist Claire's top tips for how to engage the senses at mealtimes...

Time for texture

Let little hands feel the different textures of foods as you prepare a scrummy meal, like a bumpy avocado skin. Then explore the squishy, creeeamy, silky smoooth texture inside too.

No foodie faves!

Try to treat all foods as equal at mealtimes or during sensory play and avoid singling out any disliked foods, like veg, as being super yummy, healthy or fun. Little ones are clever and will get suspicious!

Finger food fun

Encourage your little one to explore their finger foods using the senses and ask them lots of questions…Is it yummy? Squidgy? Hard? Soft? Bumpy?

offer a variety

Allow your little one to touch, squeeze, sniff + play, without pressuring them to eat, especially if it’s a disliked food. If they don’t want to try it, encourage them to pop it on a side plate... they’ve still engaged with it without being told to eat it.

Looks yummy

Keep going with the visual adventure at mealtimes! Even if little ones are eating pureed or mashed food, they can still explore whole fruits and veggies with all their senses to get familiar with the colours and shapes.

Show your little one the ingredients you’re using when prepping a meal and talk about the different colours + shapes. This way, they can also see the journey to their bowl or high chair!

Top sensory tips claire
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Claire Baseley

Infant nutritionist / Makes Ella's Good