Sunday, 17 November 2013

Using Food in Preschool

 "Oh dear, I was very excited to see your blog and follow in my RSS reader. Unfortunately, after stumbling across this post I can't say I will be following anymore. I know that many people in several countries would find the fact that you use edible food for an art experiment completely offensive. I do. I don't understand with so many natural resources readily available (and in this case string?), with a number of people struggling to feed their families that this would be considered an appropriate activity for children. We should be teaching them about the value of food and resources. Each to their own, but I do hope you consider the next time you try these experiments in your classroom the number of starving families there are in this world, who would do anything for a bowl of spaghetti."

"I totally understand where you are coming from... and have had this discussion several times over the years... if the food is out of date and not fit for consumption then instead of just throwing it away it can be used for art... yes string can be used, but it does not have the same sensory exploration. The spaghetti used was spaghetti that was going to be thrown away after lunch as it was not consumed and with all the coughs and sneezes was not something we are ALLOWED to save and instead of throwing it directly in the bin it got used for some fun first... There are also MANY MANY people around the world that do not have access to clean water - many thousands, millions that die from lack of water or lack of clean water... does this mean we cannot have water play? Does this mean we should not use water in our art? By using food occasionally as part of art and sensory play we can naturally take up the fact that not all children around the world have access to enough food." Suzanne

Food  is always going to be one of those areas that can trigger a discussion as the reality is that many people around the world are in situations where they are not getting enough food. For some reason there is always more controversy about the use of food than there is the use of water - despite the lack of clean water having more devasting effects around the world.

Erin at Royal Baloo suggests (in a group discussion we were having about this) that  you can buy a 50 cent bag of rice and donate $5 to some relief fund. They could get 10 bags of rice for the one bag and could still use rice with kids. It's not a food shortage that causes people to go hungry!

I DO buy food to be used as a sensory exploration or as a part of art etc I feel that if we can make playdough from salt and flour etc then the idea of using food should not be a big problem.

 Over the years I have never seen children start to play with their lunch food anymore than they did BEFORE we used food in art or exploration.

Filosofiska Preschool, where I work, supports a school in Nepal Southwestern State School Filosofiska School where children who would be on the street are funded so that they can attend school and also have a meal when they are there. If you are wanting to support the school then drop by Filosofiska Facebook Page as there are requests for financial support so that more children can be provided with an education, food and the chance of a better life... the page is mostly in Swedish, as we are a Swedish preschool (and one day a school too). By supporting children in Nepal this could be a way to compensate, in the eyes of food-frowners, for the use of food in play when there are so many around the world starving.

I feel I have a clear conscience when it comes to playing with food. Not only my connections through work with Nepal, but as a family we also support another family in Indonesia. BUT I will always use ALL resources with care. Food resources or other resources. When thinking of sensory ideas for Nepal I try to think of using what is around them - stones, gravel, mud and sand.  When thinking of sensory ideas for the children I work with in Sweden I think about allergies and how to make everything inclusive.
coloured sand - making tests for sensory explorations for the children in Nepal

mudplay - using coloured rice and lentils

piainting with spices and couscous

a wonderful experience

coloured salt

coloured rice

cloud dough - flour and baby oil

painting WITH fruit and vegetables

painting with fruit and veg - and themselves

melting candy and sugar to create a candy volcano

experimenting with flour and water to make a volcano base

using baking soda and vinegar to create a volcanic explosion!

using eucalyptus scented playdough (oild, flour, salt, citric acid water) and coloured rice amongst other things to create an Australian landscape

playing with tapioca

printing with ornages - and exploring them too

inventing sensory stuff - "slopcorn" cornstarch, water and popcorn

adding water to an oats filled sock

coloured rice

rolling boilded eggs - and then experimenting with the crashed eggs afterwards

coffee grinds - saving the used coffee for sensory play
semolina flour


herb bashing

spaghetti sensory play and painting

spaghetti painting (from the the offending post)

coffee grinds in paint

sugar paitning
sensory play with left over breakfast porridge
getting creative with milk

We live and share a planet - that we want to hand down to our children - and to their children... we need to live sustainably and respect nature and to make our own footsteps as small as possible...

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