Edible Sensory Play Ideas
Katy puts EVERYTHING in her mouth! I have tried teaching her “not for the mouth”. I try to
keep things out of her reach, but with each passing day, that task gets harder and harder.
As a parent I have realised that I have, mostly, limited her sensory play to non-edible items.
Except the one time I gave her a bin full of flour, that is when I realized that she was going to put anything I give her straight in her mouth.
Playing with food is a good way to provide opportunities to your child to touch, smell, see and taste. However, food play is not done during mealtime, but at another time of the day when the intention is to play and explore their taste buds.
Here are a few activities that can help satiate your child's taste buds during playtime
Making the Cloud Dough
This time I wanted to try it out. That’s when I realized I had 2 ingredients that were both safe and healthy for her to taste and explore…
Pour 1 Cup Rice Cereal into a container, add 3 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil to the rice cereal.
Mix and let the mixture cool. The rice cereal is an amazing texture. It shimmers. Its soft and
fluffy. It is powdery and flaky at the same time. Once the coconut oil is added it clumps into
fantastic balls to be molded, shaped and explored.
You can encourage language development by talking with your child about the textures and the smells.
Dolphins and starfish for Breakfast
Here are a few variations with the ingredients you can use to go forward with this activity
Regular or gluten free, dairy free bread, egg, apple. For decoration: peanut butter, nut butter; jam berries. Fish shaped cookie cutters or a knife and fish patterns.
- Dolphin scrambled egg
Beat an egg in a bowl and gently cook it in a pan. Turn it over when it is no longer
runny. Cook gently on the other side and remove before it is brown, Use shape cutters to
cut shapes of the egg or use a knife and a pattern to cut 2 dolphin shapes or any shape that interests your child. Encourage your child and involve them as much as possible to create different designs.
- Fish toast
Toast a slice of bread, cut the toast in the shape of a toast. Decorate it with peanut butter
jam and berries or anything of your choice
- Have fun with an apple
Peel an apple and cut horizontal slices, use a star shape or create one by cutting it out in
a form of the star. Carrots can be used as well- they are great, crunchy and sweet.
Food drawings and painting
- Use fresh or frozen vegetables to draw pictures of flowers, houses, robots
- Use tomato ketchup or french dressings for finger paintings. Mashed berries, carrots,
peas, broccoli can provide additional colours. Add colourful juice (carrot, grape or
mango...) to yogurt or salad dressing to make pastel colors
- Cooked spaghetti/ vermicelli or rice noodles can be used to make lines of objects like
animals and houses
- Look through your kitchen cabinet for soy sauce, jams, honey, tomato paste and other
food items that can be used during playtime
Birds Nest Cookies
Here is a delicious way to get your child actively touching something gooey. These are no bake cookies that are formed to look like bird nests. Put a few grapes in them when they are chilled.
● Microwave oven
● Bowl and spoon
● Measuring cups (optional)
● baking sheet or cupcake liner
1) Melt the chocolate chips in a glass or ceramic bowl in the microwave using moderate
power for about a minute.
2) Place the cereal or shredded coconut into a cup or bowl
3) Add the chocolate and peanut butter and mix gently
4) Have the child take a heaping tablespoon of the mixture and shape it into a nest.
5) Place the nest on waxed paper or in a cupcake liner.
Food sensitivities and allergies are common in children with autism. Avoid introducing a child to a particular food that is a known allergen. Proceed slowly and keep an eye out for rashes, behaviours and bowel changes .
Hands- On Activities for Children with Autism and Sensory Disorders, Teesa Garland, MOT,