Holiday Food Exploration

by FS&TS

By Jessica Naiberg, OTR/L

Holidays and changing seasons are natural times to explore new foods due to the changing seasonal produce and meals.


For our children, this change can be exciting AND scary. Playing with food is one way we can encourage our kids to explore new or non preferred food items.  

Activities to encourage Food Exploration

  • Flying food like an airplane

  • Playing peek-a-boo with food placed under a napkin

  • Making art with food.

  • “Painting” with applesauce using a pretzel stick or creating “food art” by making pictures on a plate is a great way to increase exposure through sight, touch and maybe even taste.

Encouraging Flexibility by Changing Shapes

To enhance flexibility around food and encourage adventurous eating, one of the first steps is to alter the appearance of already preferred food items. This strategy can be as basic as cutting a sandwich diagonally, instead of vertically, or as complex as creating food art with familiar food.

Thanksgiving and other holidays are great times to borrow food art ideas from Pinterest or blog posts.