Often when I browse women's magazines that have fun foods for kids, I find myself charmed with the clever and artistic little food creations but totally lacking in follow-through for making them myself. Most of the time they are just TOO MUCH HASSLE relative to the kids' enjoyment. Here are eleven fun lunch ideas that have a very favorable "preparation to fun ratio."
1. Have a taste test lunch. Buy several different kinds of apples (for example); cut them into slices and let everyone sample. Talk about the similarities and differences and which ones were the favorites and least favorites.
2. Pack bagged lunches, write a name on each lunch and hide them around the back yard. Let the kids hunt for their lunches and have a picnic with them afterward.
3. Eat under the table.
4. Freeze juice in novelty ice cube trays. Put one or two fun shaped ice cubes into each child's glass of water.
5. Play blindfolded fruit salad. Make a fruit salad with lots of different kinds of fruit for dessert. Let each child take turns being blindfolded. Allow the other children feed a piece of fruit to the blinded child who gets to guess what he or she just ate!
6. Use crazy serving dishes. Hunt around the playroom for toys that could serve as dishes or cups. For example, use a frisbee for a plate; serve veggie straws from the holes in a duplo block; drink from your toddler's stacking cups, etc.
7. Have an animal food luncheon.
8. For older children, have a foreign language restaurant lunch. Using a foreign language dictionary, look up the names of all of the foods, drinks, serving utensils- EVERYTHING you are planning to use for lunch. Write those words on a menu, and let the kids consult together and order three things at a time. For each course, only bring out the three items they order, and at the end of each course take those things away. Now they might end up ordering soup, a knife, and a some ketchup for the first course, but wouldn't that be fun? They would have so many giggles trying to figure out how to eat the soup and what to do with the ketchup!
9. Play the sliced banana trick on your kids.
10. Cut their sandwiches or apples into little puzzles, and let them put them together before they eat.
11. Make glow in the dark juice drinks. (All it requires is some tonic water and a black light!)
12. Let the kids use cookie cutters to cut shapes out of sliced cheese, watermelon, or finger jello, etc.