Fun With Food – Sensory Toddler Activities 

Over past few weeks Ollie and I have been doing all sorts of sensory and messy play with different types of food. 

He’s been having a really rough time teething and has really gone off food. Getting him to eat anything at all has become a real battle and we all dread mealtimes. I really don’t want this to start becoming a big issue for him and I don’t want him to start associating food with being unhappy. So, I thought I’d take the pressure off a bit and make food more fun for him. 

All these activities can be done using things you have at home. And if you don’t have the ingredients, they’re all super cheap to buy. I’m a firm believer that entertaining your children doesn’t need to cost the earth, and playing with food and household items is a great way to learn about everyday life. 

Jelly Messy Play 
Jelly is great for messy play, because it’s an unusual texture, and the bright colours will interest most toddlers. I got a few plastic toys and set them in some jelly overnight. I tipped it all out in his sandpit and gave him a few plastic forks and spoons to dig the toys out. I was originally intending for him to get in the sandpit to play but it turns out he HATES the texture of jelly! But that’s fine -the whole point of sensory play is to give him the chance to discover new things and find out for himself what he does and doesn’t like. 

He had great fun squishing and scooping the jelly, and digging the toys out with spoons – just as long as he didn’t have to touch it with his hands! 

Cracker Smash 
We used our new tuff tray for this one, but if you don’t have one, you could use a sandpit or a big baking tray. I think it works best outside because the birds will help with the cleanup! 

I used cream crackers and crisps because I thought they’d make the best noise, but you could also use biscuits or dried pasta. 

Just tip them out in the tray and let your little one smash them up! Ollie used a wooden spoon to bash them and loved it! When we’d finished we tipped it out on the grass for the birds and Ollie stomped all over it in his wellies. 

Spaghetti Messy Play 
This was so easy to prepare and Ollie really enjoyed it. I just boiled some spaghetti and then coloured it with food colouring and left it to dry slightly. He loved scooping it, transferring it between containers and trying to thread it through the holes in the colander. He even nibbled on some which was great as he has refused to eat pasta for weeks! I cooked him spaghetti for tea the next day and he ate more than half the bowl which was a massive achievement! 

Rainbow Rice
This is really cheap and easy to make, and it can be stored to use again. You can use it in all sorts of ways – I’ve just made my nephew a sensory bottle using some of our leftover rice!

Pasta Threading
This is a very simple but effective activity for entertaining a toddler – or even older kids. Great for developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. 


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