Snack time is an occasion to stimulate a child’s development and encourage them to try new foods. However, snack time is not a time for your kiddos to fill up their bellies. They have to eat three meals with the rest of the family after all! To help you find balance between meals and snack time, here are some snack hacks. These hacks will inspire your kids to try food art, learn new skills and improve self-feeding, too!
- Imagination: Have your child use their imagination to make their own smile face design using a new food as the nose.
- Replicate: Make a snack using fresh vegetables and then invite your children to replicate your mealtime creation.
- Familiar: Change up familiar foods by making them into a smile face (food art). This makes kids feel like they are experiencing a whole new food.
- Novel: Food art also encourages kids to touch, manipulate and play with a novel food, which may inspire them to take their first bite of that food. Score!
- Inspiration: If you have a Happy Mat but need some inspiration on fun and nutritious meals, we have you covered. Try using our book, Making Mealtime ezpz: Fun Ways to Fill the Happy Mat for creative ideas. It is a simple, easy-to-flip-through guide on how to make 5-minute food art meals.
Snacks and Skills: Snack time is perfect for encouraging new skills to develop. Here are a few fun skills to try at snack time.
- Fine Motor Finger Skills: Thread cereal on a string to make an edible necklace / bracelet. Alternatively, cut a variety of fruit into pieces and have your kiddos slide them on to child-safe skewers.
- Fine Motor Swallow Skills: Set out different puree textures to try practicing swallowing (thin vs. thick purees). You can also offer two solid textures (e.g., crunchy and gummy) for chewing and swallowing practice.
Snacks and Self-Feeding: The suction technology of ezpz plates + bowls helps kids be successful self-feeders (since the plate + bowl stays put).
- Self-Feeding: Snack time is a wonderful opportunity to work on the fine motor skills needed for eating. The suction feature of ezpz products makes it easier for parents to teach their infants, toddlers and school age kiddos to use utensils appropriately and master finger foods.
- Midline: ezpz products also help children stay at midline. Midline is an imaginary line down the center of the child’s body when eating. We want a child to ‘stay at midline’ and ‘cross midline’ (reaching across the middle of the body with their arms to get food off a plate) during mealtime.
- Three Sections: The compartments of the ezpz Mini Mat remind parents to serve three different textures for a nutritious snack. These three textures help children practice more challenging self-feeding skills (e.g., the pincer grasp with crunchy foods, slippery foods and soft foods).
Giving children the freedom to have fun during snack time will help them develop their full eating potential. We hope these hacks help make snack time less stressful and more fun with your kids. What are some of your go-to snack hacks? #ezpzfun #ezpz #toddler
Dawn Winkelmann (M.S, CCC-SLP) is ezpz’s Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Feeding Specialist. She has 26 years of experience teaching parents and medical professionals how to start babies on solids safely and encourage toddlers to overcome picky eating. In addition, “Ms. Dawn” is the designer of our award-winning Tiny Cup & Tiny Spoon (for infants) and the Mini Cup + Straw Training System & Mini Utensils (for toddlers).