Support for PBS Parents provided by:

  • Arthur
  • Cat in the Hat
  • Curious George
  • Daniel Tiger
  • Dinosaur Train
  • Let's Go Luna
  • Nature Cat
  • Odd Squad
  • Peg + Cat
  • Pinkalicous and Peterriffic
  • Ready Jet Go
  • Splash and Bubbles
  • Super Why!
  • Wild Kratts
  • Sesame Street
  • Ruff Ruffman Show
  • Mister Rogers
  • Cyberchase
  • SciGirls
  • Sid the Science Kid
  • Martha Speaks
  • The Electric Company
  • WordGirl
  • Caillou
  • Oh Noah
  • Fizzy's Lunch Lab
  • Maya & Miguel
  • Postcards from Buster
  • Clifford
  • WordWorld
  • DragonFly TV
  • ZOOM

Food & Fitness

Fun with Food

Boy with tomatoYour mom probably told you not to play with your food. But play is the very thing that may get your own kids involved in healthy eating. Here are a few ways to make fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods fun.

  1. Play games

    Even a trip to the grocery store can be an opportunity for play. Ask young children to help find fruits and vegetables that start with the first letter of their name. You may find that Abigail starts liking apples and that Ben suddenly starts eating bananas. Once you get home from the store, let children sort the foods by color or texture.

  2. Make it a costume party

    Dress up familiar food with fancy packaging. Make a Dino Dessert by transforming a slice of watermelon into a stegosaurus with the help of some spike-shaped strawberry halves. Use vegetables cut in different shapes to make a Funny Face Pizza with lots of personality. Even ordinary sandwiches can become robots, trains, hearts, or other favorite shapes when you shape them with cookie cutters.

  3. Rename it

    A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but the same can’t be said about kids’ foods. Give each thing you serve a funny name and watch it disappear. Kids who turn up their noses at melons may be won over by fruit skewers if you call them Rainbow Ribbons. Some children like funny names, others prefer gross names. Use your child’s own interests as your guide in naming your concoctions. Serve wagon wheel pasta to little ones who love transportation, and princess pillows (a.k.a. ravioli) to those who love to play with dolls.

  4. Decorate the table

    Atmosphere is everything, but your kids probably aren’t looking for candlelit tables and fine china. Instead make their food more attractive by using colored plates, crazy straws, funny placemats, and party favors.

  5. Try snack art

    Why not turn an art project into a snack project? Start with clean hands and suggest to your budding chefs that they create cars, people, monsters, or sea creatures. Offer some of these materials and let kids get creative:

    • Foundation: celery or carrot sticks, crackers, banana slices, pineapple slices, orange sections, grapes, tortillas, cheese cubes
    • Glue: peanut butter, jam, cream cheese, ranch dressing, yogurt
    • Decorations: raisins, seeds, nuts, cherry tomatoes, shredded coconut, berries
  6. Eat your words

    Look to your child’s favorite books to inspire new menus. Otherwise picky fans of Dr. Seuss may devour a meal of green eggs (scrambled eggs mixed with spinach) and ham. Seek out other titles, such as How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World , Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, or Growing Vegetable Soup, that inspire great recipes.

  7. Sing for your supper

    If your child loves music, listen to some Sesame Street healthy snack songs, like the “Mango Tango” and “I Love Fruit.” You can make up your own lyrics to celebrate the silly joys of whatever is on the menu that night.

What's this?

Sign up for free newsletters.

Connect with Us

PBS Parents Picks

  1. Wild Kratts image

    Wild Kratts App Teaches Young Children How to Care for Animals

    In this app, kids are charge of feeding, washing, and playing with baby animals.

  2. Curious Kids image

    How (And Why) To Encourage Curiosity

    "...when people are curious about something, they learn more, and better."

  3. Gardening Benefits image

    The Benefits of Gardening With Kids

    Don’t let the idea overwhelm you. A few containers and soil in a sunny spot will do.