I hope that whoever said children shouldn’t play with their food, is OK with children experimenting with their food. Many people would agree that food can be an art form. This snack makes that statement quite literal.
Start with cream cheese (I used Neufchatel here), softened, and some blue, red, and yellow coloring. I find that the Wilton coloring paste gives the truest colors, but regular food coloring works well too.
Divide it into three containers and add coloring to create one of each of the primary colors.
Place a dollop of each color on each child’s plate along with some stick pretzels. Tell the children to imagine that the cheesy dip is paint and the sticks are their paint brushes. Encourage them to experiment with mixing the different colors on their plates as a palette. What would happen if they mixed yellow and blue? Does anyone know how to make purple? One of my favorite things to do is to ask if the different colors taste any different, which ironically they usually say they do!
The pretzel/cream cheese combination is a bit like the Handi-Snacks you can buy in the store (but made with actual food). Some children really like it, but others don’t. Sometimes I think the bright colors make them think it will be sweet and then the savory flavor takes them by surprise.
You could use this same color-mixing idea in a variety of ways. You could use ranch dressing , humus, or any other white dip like this pizza dip. If you’re not too leery of sugar, you could use frosting as your “paint” base. For your “brush”, you might use pretzel sticks, the thicker pretzel rods, bread sticks, or graham sticks (for the frosting). Any way you choose to do it, it’s a snack time masterpiece!
Involving children in the creation of their food fills many developmental objectives you can read about here. This unique food activity also fosters creativity, sensory skills, visual perception, as well as knowledge about and experience with primary and secondary colors.