Creating amusing food art with healthy food eposes children to nutritious food and may enhance children’s attention skills while having fun.
It’s easy for kids to focus their attention when they are absorbed in a pleasurable hands-on activity. In the process they may learn to delay their desire of instant gratification and not grab the food in the midst of the work. Kids who can’t control their impulses benefit from working with an adult who can help them plan the food plate and delay the urge to eat the ingredients. If they can’t wait- it’s good to know they are snacking on nourishing food.
Many children by age 4 can delay eating the food if they are having fun making it.
While children are busy making their creations, they don’t even realize they are learning to plan, focus, and preview what they might make and they are learning to sustain their attention on the task.
Young children need to acquire attention skills in order to have friends, complete their work and continue to learn. Kids who can’t control their impulses benefit from working with an adult who can help them plan the food play and delay the instant urge to grab the food- another very important aspect of attention.
While we are encouraging the children to develop good attention skills, remember to pay attention to the children’s emotions. If they are getting overwhelmed break down the task into small steps. It reduces the amount of information they have to remember at one time. Or, give one instruction at a time.
After working hard and using lots of mental energy (another function of attention) enjoy their finished product and maybe take a photo before gobbling it up.
When children make funny food images with an engaged adult it can have a powerful impact on the child’s emotions and learning.