Using stories for vegetable consumption
Have you tried celeriac? If you haven’t, would you try celeriac if I read you a story and let you play with it first?
Researchers set out to answer the question if stories and sensory play would increase the intake of an unfamiliar vegetable in preschool children between the ages of two and five years old. Low and behold, it does! Congruency of the story and sensory play being both related to the unfamiliar vegetable helped with the vegetable recognition. Interestingly enough, sensory play alone had a positive effect on the likelihood of trying the unfamiliar vegetable, too. The preschool staff noticed how enthusiastic the children were over the sensory play of unfamiliar vegetables. Staff would slice, grate, and spiralize the vegetables for the children to experience, along with conducting smell and sound tests for the children to become familiar. And why wouldn’t kids be enthusiastic, playing and experiencing new food through the senses is all a part of experiential learning!
We know that eating habits start to develop at a young age. These eating habits tend to translate into adulthood, so it is encouraged to introduce a variety of new foods at a young age as much as possible. Repeated exposure is also key, as in it isn’t unheard of to have ten exposures of a single food in order for your little one (or big kid) to even try it. Stay with it and don’t be afraid to get messy with the sensory play.
Looking for ways to bring sensory play into your home? Monsters in the Kitchen is a great way to get kids to try new foods while experimenting with the different textures of fruits and vegetables. Or tell a riveting tale of Annie & Arthur Asparagus and how they save the day in the garden, the possibilities are endless!
Published Sept 2020