Pretend food offers many therapeutic opportunities. For example, children who have experienced hunger or difficulty accessing resources can use pretend play with plastic food as a way to heal and re-nurture themselves. Recently I have discovered that plastic food is also wonderful because it can be used with a dry erase markers for endless therapeutic activities and games!
1) FOOD FEELINGS
Take turns with the child drawing or writing feelings on the food and hiding them throughout the room. The other person goes “shopping” for the food and gets to share a time they experienced each of the feelings they find.
2) FILL ME UP WITH SOMETHING POSITIVE
First, talk about healthy eating. Ask the child how someone would feel if they ate only candy each morning before starting their day and continued to fill themselves up with unhelpful things when they were hungry. Emphasize that they would not be feeling very good! Talk about the importance of filling ourselves up with positive reminders and these influences can affect us in the same way. Have the child write down positive supports (mom, teachers, foster parents, etc), positive affirmations (I can handle this, I am strong, etc), and positive memories on each piece of food. Pretend to be packing their lunch and or breakfast. What all do you need to have a positive and successful day? Talk about tangible ways the child can remind himself or herself of these things in the morning and throughout the day.