Veggie "Gummy Bears"
Do you like gummy bears? DUH! Right, I know that would be my answer if someone asked me that question. I mean, who doesn't enjoy those cute, little, sugar-filled bites of deliciousness? However, we all know that too much sugar and candy isn't good for our health. What if I told you it might be possible to "trick" your kiddo into thinking that veggies were "gummy bears"? We used food ingredients that you might have in your freezer/fridge already.
Using these great silicone molds that I ordered on Amazon, we made "gummy bears" with two different veggies - peas and carrots. The thought of real sugary gummy bears tasting like peas and carrots sounds gross, but what if you didn't use sugar? Just peas and carrots, that is all it takes!
We used both, steamed and slightly frozen peas and carrots so some were softer and some were harder. I remember as a kid, sometimes frozen peas were just what we wanted (strange, I know)! My mom let us have them frozen because if that's what it took for us to actually eat them, she was totally okay with it. Each different child might like the temperature of their veggies differently, and that is just fine!
Adding different fun tools rather than just your hands can add extra interest and involvement into the activity. We used ones that were either around the house, found at the dollar store, and Amazon. These tools included: a straw, toothpicks, a spoon, kid tongs (dollar store), and gummy bear molds (Amazon). If you have other silicone molds, those will work also. I like the gummy bear ones because kiddos tend to be familiar with them and have positive associations of a yummy sweet candy.
Using the straw- Poke the straw into the peas and carrots, this can either make a veggie sword or a wand depending on what your child is into (which is so fun!) If you came up with something else, I would love to hear what you called it! We ended up tasting it off of this item.
Using toothpicks- Make sure that you are supervising for this section. I find that many of the kiddos that I work with weekly, love stabbing things when we are playing with food. When it comes to therapy, I am totally okay with that because it can work on many different skills (hand-eye coordination and fine motor). I do like that the peas and carrots are small enough where some kids might have a hard time stabbing them on the first try, so they will most likely resort to their hands for further assistance.
Using tongs- kid friendly tongs are so fun (we will be using these A LOT!). I like using these as a competition. When you have two (or more) different ones, you can race to see who can transfer so my peas or carrots into another dish. You can see who can put one up to their mouth to kiss it first. You can race to see who can put it in their mouth first. I like using a point system for the racing. If you kiss it, you get X amount of points. If you lick it, you get X amount of points and so on. This gives the child the opportunity to do what is comfortable for them at the time and still earn points so you have a winner and a not-winner (I don't love using the word loser).
Using gummy bear molds- As I said before mine were ordered on Amazon, but I think you would be able to use any shape of silicone molds. I like the gummy bear shape because it is so familiar to most kids. We took the peas and carrots and pushed them into the molds to make "gummy bears". It is great if your child will do this because many don't love the feeling or mess of the mashed veggies. Once the peas and carrots are pushed firmly into the mold, you should be able to flip it over and push the "gummy bears" out (do this slowly so they don't break). So cool that they look like candy!
Peas and carrots are so simple and most of us probably already have some in our freezer (I know I do). This is your chance to help give your child the skills that they need to overcome this food aversion. YOU CAN DO IT! No matter which tool your child is drawn towards, they will be interacting with a new food item. If they end up tasting the peas or carrots, that is just a little bonus. Whether you take some of my ideas or come up with some new and exciting ones of your own, I would love to hear how they went!