Engaging The Senses
I couldn’t think of a better time to do this than on this sunny Easter weekend here in the UK and hopefully fewer of us working and more time on our hands.
Who remembers making mini gardens when they were a kid?! I have very fond memories.
The more I engage my kids’ senses with any activity (not just food-related), the more relaxed they seem to be around food (stands to reason really) and are more willing to try new things (not always of course!). It was good to see my two getting muddy and a bit messy and not caring about that. In our mini garden, we added in some herbs and I gently encouraged them to smell them and roll them in their hands to get the smell. All this sensory play (smelling, feeling, seeing, tasting) did not have the intention of them eating anything from it, but it was a bonus when they did have a little go!
Letting Them Lead The Way With Play
And these activities become easier to think of when I let them lead the way with play.
I sometimes feel I don’t know what activity to do with my kids and when I do play with them, it needs to be something planned and perfect and generally with that, I never get round to doing anything! I resisted Pinterest and let them do whatever they wanted as kids don’t want perfectionism – they just want play! With this idea of letting the kids be in charge with play, you just go with it. I suggested we make a mini garden and they then literally took over and that was it. It makes coming up with activities easier and less strenuous. Maybe it is just me who feels like this but given the author Claire Potter of Getting The Little Blighters To Behave, has a whole chapter on it, I hope this will be useful for others!
As Claire says in her book, ‘’the natural, instinctive thing as a parent is to guide and instruct your child’’. ‘We need to straighten up this wall’, you might say or ‘doesn’t it need some windows?’ (I am sooo guilty of controlling these situations more than I ever realised!) She says to resist. Maybe they don’t want any windows and maybe they don’t mind the wonky wall. Follow their lead entirely. Be at your child’s whim.
PS if you don’t have herbs, what about getting some veg out of the fridge/freezer and making a mini vegetable patch and bury it all under the soil??