If a plain plate of veggies brings tears to your kid’s eyes or afternoon snacks consistently end up thrown on the floor, it’s time for a change. Dressing up food on a plate as your toddler’s favorite cartoon character or animal adds a bit of whimsy to your meal and is sure to induce giggles. Let your toddler or preschooler help you in the kitchen to prepare these silly recipes.
“Don’t play with your food” is an outdated saying. For breakfast, give your child some chunks of fruit and let him make silly faces on his plate; ask him to show off his creation before digging in. Dress up some old-fashioned hard boiled eggs by making them into snowmen. Use peppercorns for eyes and buttons, and use carrot pieces for a nose and hat. Make Mickey Mouse-shaped pancakes.
Turning a plate of snacks into the shape of a favorite character will ensure it won’t end up on the floor. Arrange a plate of cherry tomatoes into Elmo; add two egg slices with a black olive slice on each for eyes. Cut off the top of bell peppers and stuff with other vegetable slices; fasten olives or extra bits of the bell pepper with cream cheese to make a silly face. Don’t settle for square rice treats. Arrange the rice cereal treats into balls and use candy pieces to decorate them like Angry Birds. Get your kid to drink more water by making fruity cubes. Let your toddler put pieces of fruit into an ice cube tray. Fill the tray with water and freeze; place the cubes in a glass of water for a juicy treat.
Lunch and Dinner
Spaghetti is a major food group for your toddler, so instead of just dumping on some meat sauce, arrange the spaghetti like a bird’s nest and add two meatballs as baby birds; you can even add black olives for eyes and a carrot piece for a beak. Let your preschooler help you mash some potatoes, which you’ll turn into a crab. Put a circular lump on a plate and add olives for eyes and radish slices on the back; arrange carrot sticks around it for legs, and let your preschooler draw the crab’s mouth. Cut square slices of French bread and cover with marinara sauce. Cut thin strips of cheese slices and let your toddler put these slices on the bread to make pizza mummies; add two olives for eyes and bake until the cheese melts.
Wrap a couple mint ice cream balls in a tortilla or crepe, but leave a small opening. Decorate faces on the ice cream balls with chocolate syrup and you have two peas in a pod. Set out icing and sprinkles and let your toddler or preschooler decorate her own cookie or cupcake. Dress up strawberries as miniature mice by cutting off the tops of the strawberries. Place a chocolate chip in the tip of the strawberry as the mouse’s nose. Draw two dots with chocolate syrup for eyes. Stick two almond slices in the top for ears, and put a piece of licorice in the back end for the mouse’s tail.
- Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images