Children learn with their senses so exploring veg by tasting, touching, smelling, seeing and listening helps them to understand food and can help them to become more confident eaters. Here are some ideas for 5 fun veg activities you can try at home to get your child loving veg:
Make vegetable animals or people
Let your child use their imagination to create a vegetable animal or person from whatever veg you have available to use. They could make a friend or family member, their favourite animal, famous person or a monster or dinosaur. Older children can use a non-sharp knife for cutting under close supervision. You can use all parts of the vegetable – roots make particularly good hair. You can stick the veg together using cocktail sticks or tie them together using leaves or roots. For more ideas, take a look at my blog.
Grow your own veg
Growing your own veg is a fun activity which children love to do and they are more likely to eat veg that they have grown themselves. You don’t need a garden or much space and the joy of growing their own veg is an experience that they will always remember. Many vegetables that have shallow roots such as radishes, beetroot, lettuce and some varieties of carrots grow well in pots indoors. Other veg to try include courgettes, tomatoes, peas, runner beans and potatoes. You can also try growing herbs or microgreens. For ideas of how to get started, take a look at my Grow Your Own Fruit and Veg With Children blog for Nutrition Scotland.
Teach your child to cook
Learning to cook is a basic life skill so it is very important that we teach children to cook. You can teach children basic cooking skills from the age of about 18 months. Start off with easy skills such as washing salad vegetables for a salad like Tom’s Tuna Cobb Salad Bowl and then build up skills until they can make a recipe for themselves such as this recipe for Jason’s Rainbow Veg Kebabs. Research shows that children are much more likely to eat food that they have prepared themselves.
Explore the veg in your kitchen
Open up your cupboards and fridge and let your child explore the vegetables you have at home or take them shopping with you to buy new ones. Your child could use a non-sharp knife to cut some of the veg to explore further. Talk to your child whilst looking at or cutting into the veg about what they expect to find inside. Encourage them to use their senses to explore and don’t forget to discuss what they have found.
Learn about veg
Teaching children about veg by reading or learning is an effective way to get them to eat more veg. Reading story books with pictures of veg in them and talking about them is a great way to learn about veg. See & Eat have designed a range of free e-books to get little ones to love their veg and include each vegetable’s journey from farm to fork.
Try these activities and your child will be well on their way to becoming a more confident veg eater.