“Don’t play with your food” only applies at the in-laws’ house and when you’re at a restaurant, right? Food is delicious. Food is nourishing. But, can’t food also be fun? We’re not just referring to sticking pasta into a hot dog and calling it an “octo-dog.” But have you tried to get your kids to play games with food and use it for art? Get voted “Best Mom Ever” by surprising your kids with these incredibly fun eating and food games, an activity every kids will love.
1. Marshmallow and Spaghetti Towers
Who can build the tallest tower or the coolest building using only uncooked spaghetti and various sized marshmallows? Set a timer and find out.
2. Pancake Faces
If you’ve ever been to iHop, your kids probably already know the ins and outs of pancake faces, but have you ever encouraged them to make their own at home? Set out some pancakes (or waffles!) and various fruits (and maybe even candies?), syrups and whipped cream to see just what kind of crazy faces they can come up with on their own. Give out prizes for the most creative, the most realistic or the best use of ingredients. Whatever gets them going.
3. Sundae Relay
Thinking of doing a sundae bar at your next party? Why not make a game of it? Put all the various sundae topping options on a table and have the kids stand several yards back. Give them a list of “must-haves” like: Ice cream, syrup (any kind), sprinkles, whipped cream and fruit. Have them run back and forth between the toppings table and the starting line each time they add a “must-have.” Whoever is done first… gets to eat their sundae first. It’s a great way to expend some energy before sugaring them up, again.
4. String A Cereal or Pasta Necklace
Everyone has strung cereal or pasta onto a yarn before and called it a necklace. While it’s still fun for your kids if you turn them loose and let them make their own creations, it’s also a great time to teach them about creating patterns. Fruit Loop, Fruit Loop, Cheerio is a pretty cute pattern, if they continue to repeat it. Who can make the longest perfect pattern? Who can make the most complicated?
5. Food Stacking
This is a great game to teach hand-eye coordination. Give your sweeties a bowl of fat marshmallows or stale Cheerios. Set a timer and see who can make the tallest stack before the timer goes off.
6. Whipped Cream Dash
Fill a paper plate with whipped cream (or icing!) and hide 5 treats (Skittles, chocolates, anything) inside. See who can retrieve all five hidden snacks the fastest… without using their hands.
7. Chopstick Challenge
Chopsticks are hard to learn! For this game, have your kids practice using them by seeing who can use their chopsticks to pick up 5-10 food-somethings the fastest. If your kids are already chopstick pros, have them use their non-dominant hand.
8. Make Edible Finger Paint
Cream cheese, vanilla yogurt, and icing are all foods you can easily dye with food coloring. Let them pick and mix their colors, then use their new “edible paint” to create a masterpiece.
9. Gingerbread House Competition
A lot of places now sell pre-built gingerbread houses. All you have to do is decorate. They also make boxed gingerbread “villages” with multiple smaller houses in the box, though you’ll have to build those on your own. You can also do the cheap and easy cheat of just building your houses with graham cracker squares and rectangles. The fun (and competition) comes when it’s time to decorate. Make sure you buy extra supplies — those kits never come with enough.
10. Make Peanut Butter Playdough
Ever make peanut butter playdough? It’s another great source of edible fun!
11. Donut Challenge
Of all the minute-to-win-it games, the donut challenge seems to be the most popular with kids. The game is simple: Tie some donuts to a string and see who can eat theirs the fastest. No hands!
12. Smoothie Challenge
Want something a little healthier? Set out the blender and let your kiddos create their own breakfast (or snack) smoothies. Warning: You’re going to have to taste all of them. Give awards for the best tasting or even the most colorful or healthiest ingredients.