Developing Feeding Skills


Picnics can be a wonderful sensory experience for children. They practice many skills; from self feeding, to exploring with novel foods and sharing. Children with feeding difficulties and babies developing feeding skills need exposure, encouragement, sensory tolerance and oral motor skills.

When you do a picnic, the usual restrictions of eating get minimized and children can be allowed to experience different ways of feeding themselves (by hand, utensils, even chopsticks are fun at picnics), mixing up and dipping foods, and sharing other people’s preferred items. Picnics can be messy so, don’t worry if your child is making a jumble.  This encourages sensory tolerance, and exploration of new textures of foods. Treat picnics as fun sensory experiences…. And outside, the big mess doesn’t matter!

You can get creative and add natural food coloring to your child’s preferred foods to change them a bit. They can learn that the way food items “look” doesn’t correlate to how they “taste”. Get vanilla pudding and let them add blue or green coloring! Try green chicken nuggets or blue French fries……

Picnics are perfect for helping children:

  • learn about new foods
  • explore the senses as they eat
  • learn how to share and to eat together with other children and adults
  • learn important self feeding skills
  • increase their tolerance for various food items, and
  • picnics are also great for social skills.

Picnics are an opportunity to relax, unwind and make the most of being outside in the great outdoors!

If your child is very resistant to many of these suggestions, a “very picky eater”, or has increased anxiety or meltdowns at dinner times, we can help by providing advice on how to improve your child’s eating habits.

At InterPlay, we offer therapeutic feeding groups. The groups emphasize on oral sensory, oral motor and multisensory processing skills around meal times. These groups will be run by a certified occupational therapist and a certified speech language pathologist with extensive feeding experience to combine forces and target all the areas of feeding difficulties. Many issues will be addressed from mild to severe feeding difficulties, including “your picky eater”. The social nature of these groups will also encourage mealtime participation and role modeling, which are essential in the development of new eating habits.

If you are interested in learning more please contact Pilar at (954)296-3861, Michelle (561)450-5080 or email us via our contact form.