We’ve all been told as children not to play with our food. But what a clever and creative way to get kids involved by using the veggies they just picked from the garden to make vegetable animals! This activity will stimulate their creativity, get kids excited about their veggies and eating healthy, and encourage them to in their creative play all at the same time. All children need to be creative. Creative activities help children express and think, and feel free, and nurture children’s emotional health.
Being creative is more than paper and crayons and making crafts. Children are constantly exploring, and new sensory input helps them learn about the world around them. They will be taking in the smells and textures and shapes and colors of the vegetables and learning to think three-dimensionally as they form them into something new. As you play together making your whimsical vegetable animals, have them say the colors and shapes they see. Help them notice different textures. Together, smell and taste the different veggies and herbs. They will be amazed to see ordinary fruits and vegetables transform into animals.
You may want to give younger children ideas or even a picture to follow. The adult in charge will have to do the cutting, but make sure to let the children arrange and put together the little creatures. For pre-school age children, keep it simple, like making happy faces or creating easy insects like spiders or ladybugs. Creating a dinosaur can be fun. Use lettuce leaves as the body, cucumbers sliced in half as the dino’s humps on his back, and sliced carrots or red peppers for the legs and tail. Chives and scallions make use for good grass and radishes for flowers. Red peppers for tongues and oranges or cucumbers slices for ears. Peanut butter and toothpicks can be used to help keep things together. Mini chocolate chips make the perfect eyes.
Let the child’s imagination run wild, allowing them to be as creative as possible. No food goes to waste. When you’re done playing, eat what you can, and what you don’t eat, throw in a pan for some homemade soup – yet another fun and healthy project to do with your grandkids.