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Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Check out the video tutorial for step by step instructions.

VIDEO TUTORIAL

Tired of making ho-hum sandwiches for lunch? Looking for an easy kid lunch for summer?

Kids will love having “dessert” for lunch with these adorable, ice cream shaped sandwiches made with the usual sandwich ingredients. Grilled cheese becomes a waffle cone and a bagel with cream cheese transforms into a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  What a cool suprise!

These easy to make Ice Cream Sandwiches may include all of the same ingredients that your child typically likes, but notice how you’ll be changing  the typical shape and expectation for how a regular sandwich looks.

Pro Tip: Modifying how a preferred food looks is one way to start introducing the concept of  variety.  Since your child already likes the taste, texture and temperature, the only element that changes is the shape.  This is an easier first step to help picky eaters become more accepting of trying something “different” when it is presented in a fun, play based way.

You may be thinking, “Why would I want to complicate my lunch making process?  It’s already a time consuming process”

Well, I’ve got good news.  You don’t have too!  The ingredients can stay the same, you just change up the shape and presentation.

These ice cream sandwiches can easily incorporate your child’s favorite deli meats, cheeses, condiments, peanut butter/jelly  etc… but instead of cutting the sandwich it in half, cut it into triangles for a cone shape.

For the scoop of ice cream, turn a drinking glass or a small bowl upside down and use it like a cookie cutter to make a circle shape.  Use the glass or bowl as a template and cut around it with a knife to achieve a round sandwich shape.  Spread on the cream cheese or jam on a mini bagel or round sandwich bread. And of course you can’t forget to put a “cherry” on top by adding a grape or tiny tomato secured with a toothpick.

For the Grilled Cheese Ice Cream Sandwich, I used my waffle iron.  Here are the steps:  First, butter your bread, layer your cheese, then place the bread at a diagonal angle on the waffle iron to make it look like a waffle cone.

What does making a sandwich have to do with sensory processing?

When it comes to dealing with every day picky eating, include your kids in the lunch making assembling line.   This activity is great practice for kids to experience a variety of tastes, smells and textures.  If you are making multiple sandwiches, perhaps enlist their help in making a sandwich for someone else in the family who likes different toppings on their sandwiches, for example pickles.  Exposure to the various textures of deli meat, cheese and wet condiments like mustard and mayo may be a new sensory experience with a particular focus on the tactile system.

You can also pretend to be a “Food Critic” and talk about the different way the ingredients look, smell, feel and taste.  Give an ingredient a thumbs up or a thumbs down.

Here’s a stack of my tips for efficient, lunch making:

  • If your mornings are hectic, consider assembling lunch boxes the night before to buy some extra time in the morning.
  • Have a large labeled container or bowl for each child.  I call it a “lunch bucket”. Over the weekend, have your kids pre-pack the non-perishable items.  Create an assembly line of bags and choices of chips, crackers, juice boxes, utensils, granola bars etc.
  • Have each child prefill their bags, select enough of each item for the week and put into their designed lunch bucket.
  • If you have multiple children with different tastes, they can choose what goes into their lunch, which is good for giving them some sense of control.
  • Join the Green Team:  I love these reusable sandwich bags and containers.  They’re economical over the long run and better for the environment too! Reusable Sandwich bags or silicone reusable bags

I know you’re gonna love making these with your kids!  These Ice Cream Sandwiches make for the coolest lunches this summer.

And if your child is wondering, where’s the “REAL” dessert? 

You’ll love this pint-sized Ice Cream Cone Cookie Craft.

Rainbow Veggie Snack

Rainbow Veggie Snack

How’s your luck with getting your kids to eat vegetables?

Our feeding therapists love this colorful Rainbow Snack because it gets kids interacting with veggies in a novel way.   You can make these veggie topped crackers at home too.  Talk about the colors, the textures and most importantly, have fun making these bite sized rainbows and lucky horseshoes!  This snack will add a pop of color to your St. Patrick’s Day nibbles  Who knew eating vegetables could be so fun?!

 Here’s what you’ll need

  • Crackers
  • Cream cheese or your favorite cracker spread
  • A variety of vegetables: mini bell peppers, celery, purple sweet potato. chives, cilantro
  • Other suggestions include small cucumbers, baby rainbow carrots, radishes etc
  • Tools:  Dull knife or spreader, kid sized scissors

  Make it!

STEP 1:  Cut the peppers width wise.
STEP 2:  Spread the cream cheese on top of the cracker.
STEP 3.  Cut the pepper rings in half and trim.. Arrange your veggies in a rainbow shape.
STEP 4.  Place veggies upright or laying flat on the cracker.

STEP 5.  Sprinkle herbs.  Add cream cheese clouds to the sides of the rainbow.

Pro Tips

  • Kids can practice using scissors to snip and trim their veggies.
  • Use “pincher” fingers to sprinkle herbs on top.
  • For the creamy clouds: Use a sandwich bag and fill with a few tablespoons of cream cheese. Push the cream cheese into the corner, twist and secure with a clip.  Snip the corner and pipe creamy clouds onto your cracker.

What does your rainbow taste like?

Skills Addressed

Fine Motor

  • 2 hand use:  This craft requires bilateral hand coordination, such as holding scissors to cut with one hand while stabilizing the herb (e.g. chive) with the other hand.
  • Grasp strength: Squeezing the bag of cream cheese is good for strengthening the hands and practicing how to grade the amount of force used.  Squeeze the cream cheese bag too hard and too much comes out, too little and your clouds will look deflated.
  • Utensil use:  Spreading the frosting is great practice and will come in handy when it’s time to pack sandwiches for lunch!

To increase the challenge

  • Have the child mix their own cracker spread by adding herbs or cheese sprinkles into the cream cheese.
  • Make multiple cookies for repetition and skills practice

Other modifications

  • Consider subbing ingredients to make it dairy and gluten free.
  • Make your own homemade cracker spread.
  • Use a rocker knife or adapted scissors to cut up the veggies.  Pre-slice the veggies in advance.
  • Use this as feeding therapy game, experimenting with different textures to improve sensory processing, particularly tactile tolerance for wet textures vs dry textures, soft vs crunchy.
Ready for dessert?  Check out our leprechaun sized Pot O’Gold Cookie Craft.
Turkey Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Turkey Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Kids will enjoy making this twist on a classic grilled cheese sandwich!  It’s a Turkey Sandwich without the turkey…  but how can that be?!  Using a knife to make 3 simple cuts transforms your plain sandwich into a silly turkey that will be gobbled up in no time!

Plus, it’s a clever way to get in a balanced meal of grains, dairy and veggies. I made a ham and grilled cheese in this example.  You can always sub out the ingredients if your child has food allergies or make a completely different type of sandwich.  Make it your own!  This is an easy lunch prep idea that older children can help with.

Feeding Therapy Ideas

When it comes to feeding therapy, one of the first concepts of helping kids break out of restrictive food choices is to change the shape of the preferred food.  By enlisting kids help to assemble the turkey they will also be interacting with each of the ingredients.  Take a more scientific approach and talk with your child about the different shapes, colors, smells and textures of the ingredients.

Do the different colored peppers taste different or the same?  What do you like better, the crunchy cracker texture or the soft sandwich texture?  Do you like hot sandwiches or cold sandwiches?  Talking about preferences and learning about the different characteristics of food gives kids a sense of control and also exposes them to interact with different or non-preferred foods in a fun way.

Positive associations around meal times, snacks and eating are all part of helping kids with feeding problems and strategies to use with your typical picky eater too!

Ingredients

  • Whole wheat bread
  • Butter
  • Cheddar cheese slices
  • Mini bell peppers or baby carrots
  • 1 round wheat cracker
  • 2 sliced olives
  • Optional:  lunch meat

Directions:

  1.  Make your sandwich.
  2. Cut into a triangle shape.
  3. Cut the 2 smaller triangles in half for the wings.
  4. Make the face:  Use 2 black olives for the eyes, a triangle slice of cheese for the beak and a small piece of red pepper for the gobbler.
  5. Cut the bell peppers and arrange into a feather pattern.

Enjoy!

STEP 1:  Cut the sandwich.

STEP 2:  Build your turkey.

STEP 3: Gobble it up!

For more lunch ideas, you may also like Ghost Quesadillas

Butterfly Cookie

Butterfly Cookie

Add this delicious Butterfly Cookie activity to your next science lesson and your kids will be sure to remember all of the stages in the Life Cycle of a Butterfly!

The focus when creating this butterfly themed cookie craft is on fine motor skills, writing and executive functioning skills such as attention, sequencing and following directions.

Over the past few weeks, our kids at our clinic, Stepping Stones Therapy Network, have made over 200 butterfly cookies!

Even kids who are reluctant to write have been more than eager to write out this Butterfly Cookie recipe.

Check out the video tutorial below for step by step instructions to make the entire life cycle on a paper plate.

For a simpler cookie craft, just make the butterfly by itself.

Want to eat healthy first?

Well, you’re in luck!  Learn how to build Butterfly Sandwiches with the season’s most colorful veggies.

Scroll down to the end of the post for a peek at another veggie snack idea.

 

 

VIDEO TUTORIAL

 Here’s what you’ll need

  • Large paper plate 
  • Frosting
  • Graham crackers
  • Mini pretzels
  • Gummy worms (sour or regular)
  • Red licorice that can be pulled apart
  • Mini M&Ms
  • Fruit by the Foot
  • Chowmein noodles or pretzel sticks
  • Vanilla yogurt covered raisins

  Make it!

Other modifications

  • Consider subbing ingredients to make it dairy and gluten free.
  • Use fruit instead of candy

For a veggie version, check out Butterfly Sandwiches for a healthy option!

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