Play It Forward Therapy

Butterfly Sandwich

Butterfly Sandwich

These pretty Butterfly Sandwiches show off the beautiful colors of spring produce… emerald green lettuce, crimson peppers and deep purple leaves!  Imagine the fun while shopping to find the most colorful veggies for these butterfly sandwiches.  It’s never too early to introduce your child to the rainbow of colors found in the fruit and vegetable section.

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Often times, children are often more likely to try something if they have a choice in picking it out.

In feeding therapy, any type of exposure, positive interaction and tolerance to a new or non-preferred food is considered a win!

One last OT tip, before lunch or dinner, if your kids are getting hungry, set out a plate of colorful veggies and dip, hummus, guacamole or favorite salad dressing.  I typically just set it out on the table and don’t say anything (No pressure!) and sooner or later, a little person may get hungry enough to come by and try a carrot stick 🙂

The assortment of colorful, vitamin packed veggies options are endless, so you really can’t go wrong.  Or, if you’re short on time, use whatever you can find in your produce and deli drawer and get creative! For a miniature version, assemble ingredients on a cracker for a colorful, spring time snack.

If your child tends to shy away from veggies, another tip for this kitchen activity is to make sure that you always have some preferred foods out while making your veggie butterflies.  For example, perhaps your child likes to eat cheese.  Start by building a butterfly with cheese triangle wings and use new or non-preferred foods such as a carrot for the body and sweet mini pepper antennas.

While making these with your kids, talk about the “sensory” aspects of the vegetables, cheese or meats.  What shape is it?  How does it feel?  What does it smell like? What does it taste like?  Listen to the sound of a crunchy carrot or crisp stick of celery when you break it or bite it.  Taking the time to talk about what to expect makes some new foods seem less scary.

Keep a mental note of the sensory characteristics of foods that your child prefers. Does your child prefer crunchy foods or softer textures?  Is there a preference for bold and spicy or bland and mellow flavors?

Other learning activities include talking about which animals eat the same types of veggies.  Perhaps pretend to be a bunny munching on a carrot or a koala eating leaves!

Keep in mind that when it comes to kids, it’s not uncommon for many children to reject anything green!  But that doesn’t mean they never will try it.  This is why it’s important to keep exposing them to healthy, nutritious choices.   Keep offering and providing exposure to fruits and veggies even if your kids are not at the point of taking a bite.  Exploring the sensory aspects of food textures, tastes and smells is all part of the eating continuum.

Here’s what you’ll need

  • Slices of bread or large round crackers
  • Cream cheese or your favorite cracker spread
  • A variety of vegetables: baby carrots, mini bell peppers, celery, baby spring mix greens
  • Favorite lunch meat, cheese slices and sticks
  • Tools:  Knife or spreader, kid sized scissors for cutting produce, lunch meat or cheese slices

Make it!


Other modifications

  • Consider subbing ingredients to make it dairy and gluten free.
  • Use fruit instead of veggies.
  • Make your own homemade cracker spread
  • Use this as feeding therapy game, experimenting with different textures to improve sensory processing, particularly tactile tolerance for wet textures vs dry textures, soft vs crunchy.

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