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More Links For Playing With Your Food

Feeding links
Here is a list of websites and / or catalogs that provide some more opportunities and ideas for working with your child and feeding issues at home. This list covers topics from feeding clinics to toys that encourage learning about food. Keep in mind that these sites may talk about ‘picky eaters’ and your child may go above and beyond what the rest of the world just considers ‘picky’. Always consult with professionals who work with your child on feeding issues to determine what your little one can handle! This list is by no means exhaustive, and we hope to add new links all the time! Don’t forget to check the links in the I know this child is smart section to tie it all together!
Crayola—Yes, these are the crayon people but they also have printables for parents to print out and color, themes, and craft activities. Some of the printables are about food or picnics and can be used in conjunction with a ‘pretend’ picnic.
Creative Brains—this Toy company offers an online catalog that includes lots of kitchen and pretend play food toys. This company sells many Melissa and Doug toys. The Melissa and Doug brand have pretend kitchen sets and toy food sets. The food sets are nice because they are wood (practically indestructible) and are hooked together with Velcro allowing children to practice ‘cutting’ their food. GREAT fine motor play for kids who need it. The Melissa and Doug birthday cake set is WONDERFUL for practicing for a birthday party (your child’s own or someone else’s). You can ‘practice’ singing songs, opening pretend presents, appropriate phrases to use at a birthday party and so on. You can also sign up for the ‘toy deal of the day’ e-mail alert that alerts you to what’s being discounted that day.
Hearthsong—this mail order catalog and website has some truly wonderful and sometimes ‘classic’ toys for children. They have a very nice ‘in the kitchen’ section where you can find ‘chef’ items for your young child, holiday food kits, and great ways to bring your child closer to food and eating. Tons of other great educational and fun toys as well.—cute website that may be geared for older kids but if your young child has an older sibling it’s a wonderful way to get them to do a food activity together. LOTS of holiday kits so teaching about food is connected to the holidays and doing the prep work for food and the holiday is combined into one fun activity. The food kits they offer are also a nice way to tie in themes for kids such as under the sea, zoo animals, artic stuff, and don’t forget the train kit. Has a nice monthly club for kids too (probably for your older child).
King Arthur Flour—this is a site that might through you off at first because it is so for the professional baker but they have some neat kids stuff if you go to the shop online section. There are kits for kids, utensils for kids—the pinch cups are amazing—and more cookie painting kits. You will definitely learn a lot about baking!
Magic Cabin—this mail order catalog and website offer some GREAT toys for young children, including some play food, kitchen items. They have wooden food toys, kitchen sets, cookie ‘paints’, junior bake sets, pretend grocery stuff, cookery for kids sets, even some wooden ‘eggs’. GREAT sensory stuff and educational toys.
Nick Jr.—this website goes great with some of the shows your child may watch but the site also has a Food and Nutrition section. It is not actually geared toward special needs situations BUT, they have great CHARTS that show you portion sizes and recipes as well. The chart for portion sizes is on my fridge because we just never realize how much kids do and don’t need—what parents have in their head as to how much a child needs to eat is usually much bigger than what is actually needed. I know this was true for myself! That certainly helps take some of the high expectations and pressure about eating.
PBS—The Meaning of Food. It’s a great site that is up right now that talks about the food experience in other cultures and what the meaning of food is to human beings. It’s very interesting to see the distinctions between various cultures and what role food plays in everyone’s life. It also has recipes, materials for educators and parents, and neat information. GREAT for explaining to kids that what is yucky to you is yummy to others.
Preemietalk— Last but certainly not least, this organization is a consulting and educational one that helps children and their families deal with feeding and swallowing disorders. The organization consists of Cheri Fraker, Laura Walbert, and Sibyl Cox. Cheri and Laura are both CCC/SLP, CLC are pediatric speech pathologists and certified lactation consultants specializing in treatment of pediatric feeding disorders. These co-owners of Preemietalk are also are employed at St John’s Children’s Hospital in Springfield, Illinois. Cheri and Laura are members of the SIU/St John’s Hospital Pediatric Feeding Team. They are co-authors of the book Evaluation and Treatment of Pediatric Feeding Disorders form NICU to Childhood. Laura and Cheri have published and presented on feeding disorders internationally. Sibyl Cox is a registered dietitian and certified lactation consultant with the Department of Pediatrics at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, IL. Her experience includes the Level III NICU population, outpatient follow-up with premature infants, as well as children with aversive feeding disorders and developmental disabilities. Sibyl is a member of the SIU/St John’s Pediatric Feeding Team. Sibyl has published and presented on feeding disorders internationally. These folks are brilliant and do a phenomenal job in helping parents and children deal with feeding issues.