Here are some frugal and fun things for babies and young children to do with food. Go ahead, play with your food!
Ice-cube Watercolor Paint
Make ice cubes with food coloring in a variety of colors. Let your child ‘paint’ with them on a piece of paper or an old, light colored dishtowel. Just don’t let your husband serve iced drinks to the neighbors!
If you don’t have food coloring, you can always use powdered artificially colored drink mix, although that might not be quite the sort of thing you want your baby ingesting (there’s plenty of time for her to sneak it behind your back.)
Mr Potato/Banana/Apple Head
You need toothpicks, small pieces of fruit in a variety of colors and shapes such as yellow pineapple triangles, orange half slices, red plum squares as well as some smaller dried fruits like raisins or dried mango. Stick the smaller pieces onto the big piece of fruit, like a Mr Potato head, but if you want your creation to be edible, don’t use a potato!
Gingerbread or Graham Cracker Decoration
Kids can decorate graham crackers or gingerbread cookies with a variety of frostings and candy. The most fun, is, of course, in the eating of the materials!
Mashed Potato Play Dough
Babies love to squish their food between their fingers, so why not indulge them? Cook and then mash some potatoes, but don’t add any butter, milk etc. You can make it thicker using rice cereal, and color it with food coloring. As a side note, for babies that no longer like to eat food with a spoon, thickening it with rice cereal and rolling it into little balls allows them the independence they crave and the nutrition they need.
Rice and Beans Rainsticks
Use a Pringles’ can (I know that you’re going to have to go out and buy one, but it’s just for this project. I understand) or a coffee container. Place a handful of dried beans or rice in it. Then seal the lid using glue or a really strong tape like duct tape. You can experiment with different sized containers and beans: film canisters will make a different noise than a coffee can for example.
What are your kids’ favorite toys using food?