Food is an instant game piece. Whether you are bored in the kitchen or are hearing the whines of under entertained children, open the pantry and the refrigerator and discover a roomful of entertainment. Food can be the source or theme of a host of games that will entertain you and your kids for hours. They will also teach your kids about the idiosyncrasies and nutrition of food.
Food is vibrant and tactile. It is full of opportunities to reinforce other concepts such as numbers and colors. If your kids are young and just learning these topics, help the children explore the topics through food. Set out a variety of foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Give each child a grocery bag, and ask him to go shopping for red, green or other categories of items.
You can play grocery store with children as they get older, too. Use this game as a chance to teach them about food groups and nutritional concepts. Send kids on a shopping spree of the kitchen to find dairy items, followed by grains, proteins, fruits, vegetables and fats. Have them line up their items by sugar content or other nutritional amounts.
You can use food in the place of game pieces in a number of games. Let your kids play tick-tack-toe with different pasta pieces or different dried fruits or small vegetables. They can munch on their foods after they play with them.
Play a tasting game with your children as you make dinner, Chop herbs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, breads, cheeses and other items as you cook, and place them in individual bowls. Line up the bowls, and let the kids taste each one. Let them guess the name and type of each food. This works with little kids and older ones. Young children can tell you whether it is a fruit or vegetable. Older kids can tell you the exact type or species.
Sniff It Out
Save your old plastic containers with their lids. Poke some small holes in each lid. Dust some spices and dried herbs into each container, and close it with a lid. Mark each container with a number, using a permanent marker. When your children are bored in the kitchen, give them their sniffing game. Let them smell each container. Ask them what each smell reminds them off. Let them explain which dishes they think they have tasted these spices and herbs in. Let little kids draw pictures about the smells, and have older kids write recipes using the smells.
- Food image by Yvonne Bogdanski from Fotolia.com