Autumn is such a fun time to experiment with food. If you’re anything like us, you’re probably starting to crave staying inside and eating some good food!
Letting the kids help you make a few dishes not only incorporates a “craft” into your schedule but also encourages them to explore and try new foods. In fact, it’s great for picky eaters for that reason!
We think kids can (and should) help with many meals per week, but as a home daycare provider, that's not always possible. So, below are some foods that are so easy the kids can help or are just a joy to have kids get their little hands dirty.
This is a really fun thing for kids to do since they can each have their own serving. Simply choose one acorn squash or small pumpkin to split between every two kids. Cut off the top, roast it while you make your filling (filling can be anything from sausage stuffing to a soup), then fill. Kids can choose their own squash, help remove the seeds (great sensory activity), then fill their pumpkins! Here is a recipe with instructions for stuffed acorn squash.
Eyeball Meatballs are a great non-sweet option for Halloween. Not only are there lots of meatballs for kids to help with, but assembly helps with their fine motor skills. Kids can help place the cheese and olives on each meatball. Remember, having kids help make the foods makes them more willing to try and like it! Here is a recipe from Little Sprouts Learning for Creepy Meatball Eyeballs.
This is a super simple, 5 ingredient pumpkin bread that comes together in 5 minutes. Kids can help measure, add and mix the ingredients then spoon the batter which helps with math skills and hand-eye coordination. This recipe could also be made as muffins or cupcakes.
Kids try to eat playdough anyway, right? This pumpkin pie play dough is completely safe to eat. Kids might enjoy making the play dough. Once it’s made, give kids small bowls, cups, measuring cups, and other small kitchen dishes to make their own playdough pie. Here is also a more healthy peanut butter version. Find the pumpkin pie playdough recipe here.
The wonderful thing about snack boards is that 1) they're already a bit haphazard, so there's nothing that little hands could "mess up," and 2) you can completely customize them to your kids' tastes and what you have on hand. For example, rather than using pumpkin in a snack board, you could use the ingredients you do have on hand to make a pumpkin face. Check out the link here for instructions and have fun with it!
If you've been talking at all about the changing colors of the leaves, then this food craft may be perfect. It simply takes leaves (grapes or other fruit pieces) and a trunk (pretzels, cheese sticks, or other line-shaped snacks.) For the grape variation, try using both green and red grapes to mimic the changing colors outside.