One way to have fun while stimulating a child’s interest for food is to present challenges that introduce fruits and vegetables that we know a little, a lot or not at all.
Challenge No. 1
This challenge consists in guessing the number of fruits or vegetables in a container. This activity is simple. An adult puts fresh vegetables or fruits (e.g. corn kernels, peas, blueberries, etc.) in a plastic container or clear glass. Individually, each child has to feel, without counting, the number of items and then write it down on a piece of paper. Younger children can write the color of fruit or count the pieces to make it easier and more fun. You must keep the secret until you have all the results! The winner is the one who managed to guess the exact number of foods or the closest. Out of curiosity, ask the children if they have ever eaten this food, what other food was served with it, etc. To avoid waste and to discover new tastes, it would be interesting to put that food on the daily menu.
Challenge No. 2
An updated classic! The first child plunges his face into a large container of water and bites the largest pieces of fruits or vegetables out of the water. Then without wiping his face, he must plunge his face into another container of sugar instead of the traditional flour. Younger children could find that plunging their face into the water is unpleasant or scary so they can use their fingers. The winner is the one who has collected all the large pieces of food from water and sugar. This game is a great opportunity to discover an acid fruit because the sugar sweetens the flavour. Lemon wedges, grapefruit and star fruit chunks are good fruits to use.
Challenge No. 3
For older children, this “extreme” challenge is very interesting. You place a mystery food on a plate in front of each child. The child must taste the fruit without commenting. Using exotic fruits with special textures and stunning colors can make this game very dramatic and fun. Here are some suggestions that are far from trivial: passion fruit and its gelatinous pulp and black seeds, lychee and its oval shape and whitish color and the surprising bright seeds and flesh of the cactus pear. The winner is the one who dares to try everything! After each tasting, it is important to show the entire fruit and to give its name. This tasting game should finish on a positive note!
Challenge No. 4
On a table, place fruit and vegetables. In 30 seconds, children must remember all the food because when the time is up, they must name as many ingredients as they can. To make it easier for younger children and to avoid naming fruits and vegetables that they don’t know, you can show images and they can simply tell if the food was on the table or not. For older children, you can use exotic fruits and vegetables. If you do, label your food so they can name it afterwards. The winner is the one who succeeded in memorizing and naming the most items.