snacks Archives | Play It Forward Therapy
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.
Hanukkah Cookies

Hanukkah Cookies

HANUKKAH TREATS

These miniature Menorah Cookies are a sure way to brighten your next Hanukkah celebration.  These edible Dreidels are a tasty spin-off from the traditional Hanukkah game and a fun way to improve fine motor skills.

If you’re looking for more savory than sweet, use your pincher fingers and fine motor skills to make a cheese and pretzel menorah.  Add a side of apple slices and oranges, and you’ll have a balanced snack to keep you fueled through the festivities!

Pro-Tip:  Use these activities to practice some handwriting over the holidays.  Write out the steps.  Have kids copy the recipe before assembling the snacks.  It’s excellent practice for sequencing and following multi-step directions.

For older children, have them make the snacks first, then write each step in sequential detail for how they made it. Encourage self-checking their work to make sure that others can read and understand what they wrote.  Either way it’s a novel way to get in some handwriting practice during the winter break.

 

בתיאבון!

Dreidel Treat

Ingredients:

  • 1 large marshmallow
  • 1 pretzel stick
  • 1 Hershey chocolate kiss
  • White frosting
  • Sprinkles

Directions:  Watch the video below!

Menorah Cookie

Ingredients

1 sandwich cookie (Double Stuff Oreos work well)

  • Pretzel sticks
  • Candy melts
  • Orange food coloring
  • Vanilla frosting

 Cheese & Pretzel Stick Menorah

Ingredients

  • Babybel Cheese
  • Mini pretzel sticks
  • Cheddar cheese dip

Serve apple or orange slices on the side for a healthy snack

 

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

Teddy Berry Parfait

Teddy Berry Parfait

Hooray for Parfaits!  Try this scrumptious, parfait made with your favorite yogurt and fresh fruit mix ins.  Add crunchy granola and a teddy graham topping to create this nutritious snack.  Or make it ahead of time for a healthy, no prep breakfast.  Your kids will love making and eating these adorable Teddy Berry Parfaits.

TEDDY BERRY PARFAITS

Ingredients:

  • Yogurt
  • Fresh berries
  • Dried apricot or mango
  • Granola (or crush up a granola bar or graham crackers)
  • Teddy Grahams
  • Optional:  Decorative tooth picks or drink umbrellas

You will need:  Spoons, scissors, strainer, strawberry or egg slicer, small bowls or mason jars with lids

Directions:

  1. Wash the berries.
  2. Alternate adding fruit and yogurt until you reach the top of your container
  3. Use your pincher fingers to sprinkle the granola on top.
  4. Cut out a rectangle shape from a dried apricot or other fruit for the bear beach towel.
  5. Place the teddy graham on top.
  6. Snip or poke a hole through the center of an apricot to make a swim ring.
  7. Poke the teddy graham’s legs through the hole.

You may also like the Teddy Bear Beach Cookie

Pencil Cookie

Pencil Cookie

Go ahead, chew on this pencil eraser!  As a matter of fact, feel free to eat the entire pencil…. cookie pencil that is!  This graham cracker pencil cookie is sure to inspire your young writer.  “Pick up your pencil” will have a whole new meaning after you’ve tried these cute and crunchy pencil cookies.

Incorporate writing into this activity by having your child write out the recipe prior to making the pencil cookie.  Read below on how to sharpen your child’s writing skills in a fun and motivating way.

For early writers… encourage copying single words onto paper for each step.  For example, 1.  Graham Cracker  2. Frosting  3. Gum  4. Chocolate Chip.   Or write out the recipe in simple phrases and have your child copy it.

For older children….  Practice note taking by reading the recipe aloud to them and have them take notes.  You can even have your student make the pencil cookie first, then write out the steps they followed to to make it. 

All of these variations are fun ways to sharpen your child’s writing skills by addressing fine motor skills, sequencing and following directions.

Pencil Cookie

Ingredients:

  • Graham crackers
  • Pink bubble gum tape
  • White frosting
  • Mini chocolate chip

Note: Quarter of a graham cracker for a short pencil.  Half of a graham cracker cut vertically for a long pencil.

You will need: Scissors, Serrated knife for cutting graham crackers, butter knife for spreading frosting

Directions:

  1. Cut one end of the graham cracker into a triangle shape.
  2. Cut the bubble gum for the eraser.  Spread a small amount of frosting at the top of the graham cracker and stick the eraser on top.
  3. Spread the frosting on the pointy end of the triangle.
  4. Add a chocolate chip pointing down for the pencil tip.

You may also like Pumpkin Bash

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