International Literacy Day is celebrated each year on September 8th in the hopes of highlighting global literacy needs. Planning reading (and feeding) activities with your kids on this special day can help increase literacy around the world…starting in your home!
If you have a child that struggles with trying new foods at mealtime, reading activities can be a fun way to learn about these foods. Below I will share a few of the books and activities I use most often in my feeding therapy sessions.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar (by Eric Carle): This classic book was read to me when I was little and was also one of the first books I was able to read on my own. Even now, I continue to read it to the kids I work with, and it helps them explore different fruits, veggies, meats and desserts!
- Literacy Activity: Read the book with your kids and talk about the different foods you both enjoy eating. You can also talk about the colors of food, the different food groups and hunger cues.
- Sensory Activity: The book has holes in it and kids love to put their fingers in them for additional sensory exploration. It’s such a fun food adventure!
- Feeding Activity: As a family, choose one of the foods from the book and try eating it together during snack time.
Little Pea (by Amy Krouse Rosenthal): This book is an adorable story about a little pea that has to eat all of his candy before he can have something special…vegetables!
- Literacy Activity: The kids I read this book to always want to make sure I’ve read it correctly, “Wait Ms. Dawn, did you say he had to eat all his CANDY?!” What better literacy activity can you hope for than one they want to listen to, participate in and actually read!
- Sensory Activity: Take canned peas, fresh peas and frozen peas and explore the textures of each of them.
- Feeding Activity: As a family, decide on a meal to add peas into. Will it be chicken nuggets + peas? Mac & Cheese with peas? Or one of my client’s favorites after reading this book…pizza with peas (surprisingly, it’s not bad!).
Making Mealtime ezpz: Fun Ways to Fill the Happy Mat (by team ezpz): This book was created for reading in the kitchen. It folds out to lie flat on the counter so that it’s easy for your child to read too. Plus, the pages are practically spill resistant (perfect for cooking with toddlers) and the pictures are colorful and easy to recreate. Get reading and create some fun characters (and meals) together as a family!
- Literacy Activity: Reading with your toddler is a special time to grow closer and nurture their love of words. So why not add reading during mealtime? Using cookie cutters to create words in food art can be a fun way to bring something novel to the dinner table. Some foods that are easy for “cookie cutting” include cheese slices, fruit, veggies and bread.
- Sensory Activity: The Happy Mat (all-in-one plate + placemat) is made out of food safe silicone and has a wonderful sensory texture kids love to touch, explore and eat out of. The placemat is also a great canvas for writing with dry-erase markers. Have your child practice writing and then reading their name on the mat.
- Feeding Activity: Have your child choose a mat creation from the book. Together, read all of the ingredients and then go shopping for those items. At the store, you can also have your child read the food items + labels (e.g., pears, eggs, etc.). Once home, have fun recreating the mat from the book!
What are some of your favorite literacy activities? Share some of them with us using the hashtags #ezpzfun #ezpzbook.
Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz