snacks Archives | Play It Forward Therapy
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.
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

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