I also make “food bottles” ... I have found at Kmart for $2 for a set of 3 small screw top jars. They are made from BPA-free plastic and they are affordable and small enough for little hands. AND you can glue them closed! I used to make them out of different sorts of bottles from the $2/Discount stores, but they are not the safest plastics to use. I much prefer the Kmart ones now!
Basically, fill your containers with different sorts of dried food products: pasta, lentils, rice, beans, oats, flour, etc and then glue the lid on tightly. The end! You could add labels to the front if you wanted to add a literacy component to it, but I haven’t done this as yet. It’s on the list for later!
red lentils in action!
One might argue that it’s irresponsible and disrespectful to use food as a “toy” ... I say that you can justify in any number of ways:
a) Firstly, you can use products that are out of date and would otherwise be discarded.
b) You can explain that we are using the food, in small amounts, to educate children to the importance of healthy eating.
c) We are showing the children respect by providing something “real” that they can relate to and to hopefully dispel any apprehension they might have about eating different sorts of foods.
d) It is something that will last years rather than moments, so the food is not being wasted, it is simply just not being eaten - and you are only using a small amount.
1. It’s important that you are aware of any allergies in your learning space. For example, you wouldn’t use peanuts or a product that contains peanuts inside the jars.
2. Make sure that you use low-allergy foods and make sure they are closed tightly and I suggest using a hot glue gun, or possibly a very strong construction adhesive. Just be wary of fumes, the hot glue etc and do not do this part with the children. You can fill the containers with them, and talk about the contents and what types of foods are healthy.
3. Also please label the containers on the bottom with permanent marker with the date.
4. You might also want to freeze the contents for a couple of weeks to make sure you kill any possible insect eggs so that you don’t have to throw away the jars post filling due to infestation! It happens to the cleanest of kitchens!
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