The good talking to would be miraculously erased from my brain the moment my eyes lifted from looking at my shoes and saw the palette of colors on my plate.
Kids seem to have a natural need to play with their food. I often watch in amazement during lunch as dramatic scenarios between a carrot , a potato chip, and a lonely water bottle that are fit for prime time unfold before me.
After years of working with children, many of them as a behavior specialist, I have learned (sometimes the hard way) that if their instincts tell them to do something, they are going to find a way to do it, so you may as well help them do it right. Though there are other reasons to encourage food play at school.
Incorporating snack time into the learning day gives me another way to present the lesson. Snack isn't something that is prepared by me or another adult, it's often another learning station they can choose from. Sometimes I include visual recipes, like we did in Banana Ghosts, other times supplies are put out and their creativity goes wild like we did in the first installment of How to Play with Your Food. I often make surprise play food for them to go along with a Theme like I did in Monster Toes or I incorporate our snack into whole day's lesson as we did when we ground corn we grew here into flour and made Blue Corn Mush as a snack.
Today our snack table had containers with sunflower seed butter (like peanut butter),rice cakes, raisins, blackberries, and shredded coconut. We've been short on snow this year, so I think some of them have been missing that part of the winter. J. made a snowperson by lathering the rice cake with sun butter, sprinkling on some coconut, and using raisins as the eyes and nose. He got some fine motor work in by spreading the sun butter with a knife and placing the raisins and had a pretty tasty snack to boot.