Picture of Ella's kitchen new sensory play pack

LETTUCE PLAY! Experts reveals why little ones SHOULD play with their food

Lizz Banks
Authored by Lizz Banks
Posted: Wednesday, September 15, 2021 - 13:10

Little ones should play with their food after new research reveals that two thirds of parents (62%) still tell their little ones not to.

According to new research by baby food brand Ella’s Kitchen released today, a third of parents (27%) think playing with food isn’t good behaviour despite studies* showing that babies and toddlers that engage with food using all their senses, in and outside of mealtimes, can increase willingness to try a new food.

The research also found a huge 86% of parents believe mealtimes should be a fun and enjoyable experience and over three quarters (77%) see it as a chance to bond with their baby. However 41% of parents find getting their children to try or eat certain foods more stressful than a trip to the dentist (19%), being stuck in traffic (29%), or even moving house (29%).

Two thirds (63%) of parents said they felt ongoing lockdowns and a lack of interaction and fun experiences outside the home also contributed to a negative impact on their child’s relationship with food, due to a lack of interaction with other children (41%), a lack of different eating scenarios (38%) and a lack of experience with a variety of new foods (33%).

How can I get my child to eat more?

Studies show that little ones who engage and have fun with food using all their senses, in and outside of mealtimes, are much more willing to try those foods, and over time, learn to love them. ​​To provide inspiration and bring the fun into food and mealtimes, Ella’s Kitchen is offering parents the chance to get their hands on a free expert-designed tasty, touchy, squishy Sensory Play Pack, created to help little ones from six months to three years fall in love with good food through fun, multi-sensorial games.

Created in partnership with childhood eating behaviour expert Dr Helen Coulthard from De Montfort University and nutritionist Claire Baseley, the packs are bursting full of sensory elements, designed to help the 3 in 4 (72%) that admit they still struggle to get their little one to try new foods at mealtimes. Each Sensory Play Pack includes touchy, feely, textured stickers, a sensory play activity booklet packed with recipe and game ideas, fruit + veg rainbow snap cards, a sensory play wall chart, The Purple One pouch, and some little Ella’s Kitchen socks to play a great herby smelly socks game with.

Nutritionist Claire Baseley says: “Parents often find it hard to get their children to eat new foods, with vegetables often topping the list of most challenging foods to introduce - but did you know, it can take up to 8-12 experiences of a food before your little one accepts it? The first few experiences with a new food might result in a few funny faces, but patient perseverance is key and a fun and enjoyable experience with food now can help build confidence and curiosity as they grow and make them more willing to try new things, including a variety of yummy tastes and textures. At Ella’s, we want little ones to fall in love with good food and enjoy their earliest mealtime experiences which is why our Sensory Play Packs are designed with this in mind – to help you let your little one enjoy mealtimes by exploring new foods in fun and exciting ways.”

Alongside the Sensory Play Pack, Ella’s Kitchen has created a new Sensory Play website hub, housing lots of fun foodie activity ideas for little ones, yummy recipes, handy tips and videos from our experts + more to get littles ones exploring new and deeelicious foods in fun and exciting ways. Whether parents are just starting to wean or encouraging their toddler to join in at the big table, there's something fun and exciting for all little people from 6 months to 3 years to enjoy: www.ellaskitchen.co.uk/sensory-play

To get your little one's free Sensory Play Pack, spend £25 on Ella's online shop and enter the code SENSORY25 at checkout… but be super duper quick, once they're gone, they're gone!

 

 

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