Most often, toddlers are eager to try new activities. Typically, they are “all in” when invited to participate. With boundless enthusiasm for learning, the young child tends to explore with all their developing senses and abilities. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for a toddler to want to explore an activity by tasting and “mouthing” new materials.
Innately, toddlers rely on sensory input for optimal learning. To meet this need, I created a tasty green activity. It consisted of fresh green vegetables to sort, peel and taste. With fingers crossed, I hoped it would be appealing! Meanwhile, it would also be a purposeful skill building activity. It would engage multiple senses, offer hands-on learning and support cognitive functions. Most of all, it would be taste-friendly too.
Prepare for Tasty Learning:
In preparation for the vegetable peeling activity, place six identical ceramic cups on a wooden tray. Wisely designed, recessed areas for each cup offers greater stability while carrying the tray.
After rinsing each vegetable, add three different green (organic) options to the top row of cups. Shown here, left to right: celery, Brussels sprout and sugar snap peas.
Next, place three empty cups on the bottom row for discarded strings, leaves and sugar snap pods.
Before inviting the child to take a turn, demonstrate how to work with each:
Model the Activity:
1. Beginning with celery, locate and gently removed tough strings and leaves by pulling straight down the celery’s stalk. Next, place the discarded string and/or leaves in its corresponding empty cup. Continue until all are removed.
2. Select a Brussels sprout and gently peel off outer leaves, one at a time. Place the leaves in their corresponding discard cup.
3. Finally, pull the string along center and pry open the sugar snap pea pods. Using care, remove peas one at a time. Place them in one cup and pod shells in the other.
Enjoy the Greens!
Naturally, the edible raw vegetables can also be cooked and enjoyed, or shared with pets and/or outdoor animals. Be creative! Also, this activity can easily be expanded. As examples, include tasting other vegetables, fruits, grains and seeds, dairy products, spices and more. After all, foods and spices offer wonderful sensory experiences! Because the many options, the child’s palate and interests can grow with the exposure. It’s a great way to introduce new foods and flavors. To keep the activity “green”, please sure to buy local and/or organic when possible.
Note: Foods used should be chosen based on the individual child’s abilities and with safety in mind (allergies and choking potential considered).