Mini Blog Post
Quick, Mini, Blog Day:
This blog post is, indeed, tiny and actually put together rather quickly before I have time to forget the idea! My son has been sick for three weeks. He keeps getting something, having low resistance, and getting the next virus, etc easier. So, this past weekend, he had the flu, and despite getting the vaccine, his appetite has not been stellar. So, I decided to resort to something that always works in my house with two boys: a challenge. It isn't just any challenge, but a mini-lunch challenge game.
I should also say in advance that we don't do this normally - maybe two or three times a year? Its pretty special because of that and the boys enjoy it so so much when we do.
Read on to hear what we do to turn a lunchtime battle into a game.
Mini pizza (made from a leftover slice of pizza in the refrigerator, makes a whole mini pie x2!)
You're not going to eat a whole pizza?!?
I pretend to be a waitress. This boy knew in advance that he should start with pizza because I whispered it to him first. I say, "Hello, sir! What can I get you for lunch." He says, "I'd like a whole pizza, please." I say, "What? There is no way a little boy like you can eat a WHOLE pizza! Our restaurant makes the biggest pizzas around. No one can finish them. Are you sure?" Yes, he says, "I'm sure!" I return from the kitchen within his sight with a mini pizza cut from a tiny triangle cookie cutter and arranged in 6 or so slices in a circle to resemble a whole pie. Of course, he can eat this up in a few bites. The fun begins when he wants a second whole pie and I, as the waitress, can't believe how much this customer can eat. The giggles and proving mommy wrong begin!
Matchstick carrots with a teaspoon side of ranch make this child hungry for seconds!
Sometimes I'll keep a running total of what they eat because they love to tell their dad the number. If I count how many carrots (Sometimes I use the pre-cut matchsticks like I did here and sometimes I'll cut baby carrots into 4 carrot sticks each.) I'll let them know, so they can say that they ate "8 slices of pizza, 20 carrots, 14 apples (which can be grapes), etc. Have fun with this!
A towering sandwich platter. You can't really eat all that, can you?
Why is a tower of tiny sandwiches easier to eat than a regular sandwich of the same volume?
I'm sure part of the reason is just the fact that this occasion is special and unusual. But I think the other reason that the children eat so wonderfully when I do this is the reason of "play." We as adults often don't really play with our kids while we do so many things to care for them. This is a way for both activities (care for them and play) to cross over. Their imaginations come to life and they desire to be part of the play - especially with adults that care about them.
Tiny cubes of fruit with a very tiny fork make eating so much fun!
My children at home and the children that I teach all love tiny things. These appetizer forks can be found at the grocery store or a dollar store. They are just a few inches and are supposed to be a substitute for toothpicks in appetizers. But they are also adorable. :) The joy of using it can make a child eat up the very fruit he usually avoids! (In my son's case, he isn't a fan of honeydew. Today, he was fine with it!)
Though we don't usually have dessert for lunch, this tiny finish was a hit!
If your kids love sweets, this is a great way to get them the idea of the thing, without giving them much sugar or the resulting craziness that might follow. After this adorable 1" piece of cake was devoured, he was ready for a nap!
Even though the portions and bites are small, I find that my children end up eating the same amount that I would expect them to, or sometimes more. I also don't have to sit beside them asking them to keep taking bites (so we can finally move on to nap time!) because they gladly take bites on their own.
This lunch was made possible by these tiny cookie cutters. Thank you!
One of the top important things to me as a mom is to encourage creativity and critical thinking in my children. This is also important in my teaching. Though mini-lunch is my creation and not the child's, it still encourages their mind to consider how an everyday something can become unique and special and encourages their own creative thinking. Anything can be our art media!
So, for some reason, my children don't like burgers. My seven-year old does but they aren't his favorite. I think sometimes its because they get so tall that its really hard to get them in a child's mouth in a bite that is also a good ratio and not all bread or all patty. These mini sliders are fun for me to eat too! We made them for the Superbowl this year and they were adorable! Here is the recipe if you're into it!