Do you have a toddler who loves food? My toddler loves to taste all sorts of food, and I believe our baby-led weaning approach has greatly helped in that.
But of course, while we do allow him to eat sweets and treats, he cannot have that everyday. So, when I learned of this boardgame called Picnic from my sister, I thought I would make our own version at home since I already have a lot of food miniatures.
It pretty much has the same concept as Picnic, except that we use a die instead of a spinner, and there is no winner. I really encourage non-competitive games to help children appreciate the game itself rather than the concept of winning.
This food game has been such a hit from the day I first introduced it to our toddler. He really loves playing this so we play this almost everyday! In this game, he can eat as many popsicles and cakes as he wants!:P
WHAT YOU NEED:
-A die (with a photo of food groups glued on each side)
-Toy food in different food categories. I divide mine to the ff: fruits, vegetables/grains, main course, dessert, drinks
–Plates (you can use real plates, or in our case, I printed a plate template I made then laminated it so it’s easier to bring when we go out)
HOW TO PLAY:
-Set up your food. Hand out plates to all the players then organize the food in their respective categories.
-Each player gets his/her own plate and takes turns rolling the die.
-Whichever food is rolled (example: fruits), the player must get (1) item from that category and put it in his/her plate.
-When all the players plates are complete with all the groups already, we get to (pretend) eat. Yum!
No winners. Just pure fun!
-If you don’t have a plain die, you can you can use a large cube from your child’s blocks set. If you don’t have one, you can make your own spinner wheel. Or, you can print photos of each food group, fold it, then put them in a jar. Each time a player takes a turn, s/he picks one paper from the jar.
-In my case, for the image of my food categories, I made it specific – each food category photo has a photo of the play food. Example, I have banana, orange, apple, and pear miniature food. So, the photo I made for fruits also has those fruits instead of just fruits in general. This is my control of error here – it easily helps children see the connection between the play food and the play food you have. They can definitely play this on their own, too, since they can check if they’re picking from the right category.
-You can make your own categories. You can do go-glow-grow, or protein/carbohydrates/fats/ etc. It really depends on your diet, and your child’s level, too. Right now, we just do fruits/vegetables/main course/dessert/drinks. We are vegetarians, so everything here we have is vegetarian-friendly, only. No meat in our play food. Or if it looks “meaty”, we say that’s vegan meat or tofu. 😛
-We use three kinds of miniatures:
* Erasers (yes, those erasers designed to look like food you see in different stores!) – this is the cheapest, BUT, you will not get to use everything. Because many can really be a choke hazard. We had to glue together a lot of pieces. You need to watch your toddler when erasers are used for play.
* Toobs (aff link)- this is such a great product for this game. Durable, not too small to be a choke hazard, and realistic. Well made. Highly recommended. But not enough for this game. You need other food groups.
* Polymer Clay Food Miniature – I had some of my son’s favorite foods customized. Very nice and you can really customize your preferences, BUT, costly. 4 orders = more than the cost of this actual Picnic game.
-You definitely don’t have to use miniatures for this game. You can use your huge toy food, if that’s what you have. You can make your own felt food, or play food made from hardened salt dough. You can also just print food and laminate them. It really depends on what you have – but before spending, please check your existing items.
-In the game Picnic (aff link), there are ants included in the spinner. If you happen to roll/spin on the ants, you have to remove food from your plate because the ants ate them. It depends on you if you want to include this in your game.
Lastly, bon appetit! Have fun!:)