My son is a reluctant eater. Vegetables are certainly low down on the list of things he will eat. As a result, we are making a conscious effort to get him used to vegetables away from meal times. One of the way to expose him to different vegetables is by letting him touch and work with them through vegetable sensory bin.
Caution: this activity is meant for preschoolers and older kids. If you’re planning to do it with toddlers, I would suggest using cooked vegetables and plastic knife. Either way, parental supervision is necessary!
What is needed to set up a vegetable sensory bin?
You will need to prepare:
- sensory bin
- variety of vegetables
- cutting and peeling tools
I placed a variety of vegetables into our green sensory bin. Some of the vegetables, such as the potatoes, were beyond their best and I knew we wouldn’t be able to cook them. Other vegetables, such as the bean sprouts, were fresh incase my son was willing to eat them. I added broccoli, brussel sprouts, diced carrot, diced swede, Desiree potatoes, bean sprouts and chestnut mushrooms.
In another container, I placed a small selection of cutting tools – a serrated peeler, scissors, a potato peeler and a small knife. I also added a few vegetables so that my son would be able to try out the cutting tools with. Finally, I placed a chopping board next to the sensory bin.
After discussing what vegetables we could see, what each item looked like and what they smelt like, my son immediately went for a diced carrot and the knife. Typically he tried to cut the smallest item available in the sensory bin.
I was clear about my expectations on how to safely use the knife and supervised the activity throughout. For this reason, I demonstrated where he would place his fingers and how to hold the knife. I was impressed with his ability to slice the carrot.
He moved on to slicing the mushroom and then tried cutting the broccoli. He struggled to get a good grip on the broccoli despite it being much bigger.
To cut the bean sprouts we used scissors. This was a great way of developing his scissor skills as the bean sprouts were easy to snip. He liked seeing how many sections he could make from each bean sprout.
My son was keen to use the two vegetable peelers and was interested to see if they made the same type of cut into the potatoes. The long handle peeler took the skin off of the potato in a single strip. However, my son discovered that the serrated peeler created big indentations in the potato. He described these as tractor tracks. He was so enthralled by the tracks that he peeled three potatoes himself.
During play my son explored all the different vegetables. He tried to stack the diced carrot and swede, used the scissors to trim the broccoli head as if he was giving it a hair cut and removed the individual brussel sprout leaves. Not bad for a first sensory experience with vegetables.
Expand the play with a book about vegetables
The Vegetables We Eat lays out the basics of veggies with colorful watercolors and straightforward text. Learn how they grow, how they get to stores, and how many kinds there are—and learn some weird trivia, too!
Mrs. Peanuckle’s Vegetable Alphabet introduces babies and toddlers to a colorful variety of vegetables, from asparagus to zucchini. Perfect to read aloud, this vegetable buffet will delight children and parents alike with its yummy vegetable facts and vibrant illustrations. L
While teaching upper- and lowercase letters to preschoolers, Ehlert introduces fruits and vegetables from around the world. A glossary at the end provides interesting facts about each food.
What else can you play?
- try few of the gardening play ideas
- grab some kitchen toys for fun independant play
- turn your kitchen into child safe area