5 Tips For Using Food For Sensory Play That Aren’t Wasteful

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Today I want to welcome Aradhana Pandey with some great suggestions for using food for sensory play that aren't wasteful.

5 fun ways to use food for sensory play that aren't wasteful.


Kids love to get messy and throw things around. When they have your permission, it’s a whole new level of unbridled fun. Sensory play can prove to be extremely beneficial to your kids, besides allowing them to get messy. You will be satiating your kid’s natural curiosity by giving him a free reign. Also, you don’t have to worry if he puts it in his mouth because it is edible and non-toxic.

Here are some sensory play activities that you can enjoy with your kids:

1. Jello Discovery: Have you noticed how much kids love wiggly jelly? It is squidgy and turns into mush when you squish it. You can encourage your kid to have fun with jello by making him a jello discovery bowl. Just freeze a large bowl of jello and hide tiny playthings inside it. Make sure that these playthings are edible or at the least non-toxic, so that it can in no way harm your little one. Once the jello is set, ask your kid to identify the object and then help him fish it out. Notice the excitement on his face as he tries to get to the object.

2. Slithering Cornflour: Do you remember playing with dough? Or cornflour? Neither is the most delicious thing to eat, but they sure can be delightful playthings. Cornflour can amazingly transition between solid and liquid states, depending on how it is treated. All you have to do is pour ½ cup of water in 1 cup of cornflour and mix it together in a bowl. Let your little one mix it with a spoon or his hands. Notice how it becomes hard while mixing it, but becomes liquid-like when you allow it to settle.

3. Get Baking: Baking is a great opportunity for parents and their kids to bond. It is both delicious and fun. It is also an opportunity to let your creation take shape. Allow your kid to have the freedom to bake anything he wants. You could also bake a cake together, complete with the icing and decoration. Trust your kid to conjure colorful ideas like his favorite cartoon in their coloring book. You can do all the heavy lifting while you let your little one do the easier things and watch his excitement peak.

4. Hot Cocoa In Marshmallow Tub: Marshmallows can be fascinating objects for toddlers since they feel differently on the outside than they do when you pull it apart. Dip it in hot chocolate and it is heavenly. What you can do is first ask your kid to investigate marshmallows with the help of his senses. He can check if marshmallows have any odor, as well as its other physical properties. Once he is satisfied, ask your little one to pour the hot cocoa mixture you prepared into the tub of marshmallows. Let you toddler play with the marshmallows some more before he decides to eat it.

5. Cereal Creativity: Every morning when you set your toddler down with his bowl of milk and cereal, have you noticed him pick up pieces of the cereal and twirl it as if it were a gem? Kids are fascinated by all things colorful, and the vibrant colors of cereals are attractive. You can help your little one make a necklace out of the cereal. Pour out some cheerios into a large bowl and ask your little one to sort them according to colors. Then you can help him string them together to make a necklace. While he is playing with Cheerios, he might come up with different craft ideas that you could indulge him in.

Children are inquisitive little beings and as parents, we can only indulge them. It is obviously scary because we are always worried about our little ones’ safety and health. However, with edible things, safety and health are not a concern. Also, your toddler will become a more adventurous eater that will also contribute to their good health.


Heather Greutman, COTA

Heather Greutman is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant with experience in school-based OT services for preschool through high school. She uses her background to share child development tips, tools, and strategies for parents, educators, and therapists. She is the author of many ebooks including The Basics of Fine Motor Skills, and Basics of Pre-Writing Skills, and co-author of Sensory Processing Explained: A Handbook for Parents and Educators.

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CONTENT DISCLAIMER: Heather Greutman is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant.
All information on the Website is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for medical advice from a physician or your pediatrician. Please consult with a medical professional if you suspect any medical or developmental issues with your child. The information on the Websites does not replace the relationship between therapist and client in a one-on-one treatment session with an individualized treatment plan based on their professional evaluation. The information provided on the Website is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied.

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All activities outlined on the Website are designed for completion with adult supervision. Please use your own judgment with your child and do not provide objects that could pose a choking hazard to young children. Never leave a child unattended during these activities. Please be aware of and follow all age recommendations on all products used in these activities. Growing Hands-On Kids is not liable for any injury when replicating any of the activities found on this blog.

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