So your kiddo just refused to try lettuce at dinner time again. You’ve tried bribing, cajoling, and even threatening, but nothing seems to work. Maybe it’s time to try a different tactic and consider using sensory activities to help them grow more comfortable with it.
Sensory activities are a great way to help kids interact with new foods and learn about different textures, smells, and tastes. They can also help kids develop important fine motor skills.
My daughter, Elior, really struggles with lettuce. She’s tried it a few times and just doesn’t seem to like the taste or the texture. I was getting desperate to find a way to help her try it again, so I decided to try sensory activities.
I started by washing the lettuce and letting her feel the water flowing over the leaves. Then I had her help me strip the leaves from the stem. She loved feeling the leaves crumble in her hands. Finally, we made a salad together. She loved mixing all the different colors and textures together.
After doing this activity, she was much more interested in trying lettuce again. She even ate some of the salad!
What are sensory activities?
Sensory activities are a great way to help kids approach new foods in low-pressure ways and gradually increase their comfort level with them. By engaging kids in fun and interactive hands-on activities, they’re encouraged to try new foods on their own terms. Sensory activities can help develop other skills as well, such as hand-eye coordination and problem solving skills. They’re also super easy to incorporate into your daily routine at home.
You could try one (or all) of these sensory activities to help introduce kids to lettuce.
Give your child a piece of lettuce and a bowl of water. Show them how to hold the lettuce under the water and move it around to get it wet. Then help them scrub the lettuce all over to get it clean. Drain the water and repeat as necessary.
Take a head of lettuce and lay it on a cutting board. Help your child peel off one layer of lettuce at a time. As they strip the lettuce, talk about how it feels. Is it slimy? Smooth? Crisp? Remember, don’t worry about getting your kids to sample the lettuce during the activity. That’s not the goal. The goal is just to expose them to it. And if they happen to try a bite? That’s great!
Making a Salad
Wash and strip enough lettuce for a salad. Chop up some other veggies like carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Add some fruit like grapes or berries. Top it all off with a dressing of your choice. Let your child help you mix everything together. As you’re mixing, talk about the different textures and flavors that your salad masterpiece is going to have!
Getting kids involved in the kitchen is a great way to get them interested in trying new foods, and the extra set of hands can be added bonus! These sensory activities can also help kids develop fine motor skills, problem solving skills, and give them a sense of accomplishment, all while exposing them to lettuce in a pressure-free, low-stress way.
So go ahead and give it a try! With a little patience and some creativity, you might just find that your picky eater is suddenly excited about eating lettuce. What are your family’s favorite ingredients to add to a salad? Let us know in the comments!