Lots of little and not so little ones with sensory differences struggle with new textures.
What does the research say about why gentle exposure to new tactile experiences through messy play helps to expand their eating choices?
Evaluation of a pilot sensory play intervention to increase fruit acceptance in preschool children, by Coulthard, Williamson, Palfreyman and Lyttle (2018).
This interesting study of 100 children from the UK found that when combined with food exposure, tactile sensory play with both food and non-food substances increased children’s acceptance of fruit at a later date.
“Taste the feeling or feel the tasting: Tactile exposure to food texture promotes food acceptance.” Nederkoorn, Theiβen, Tummers and Roefs 2018.
In this study, 68 Children were randomised into 2 groups. The group of children given tactile (hands only) exposure to food, were found to be more likely to accept and eat foods with the same texture.
In June 2017 the study – Play with your food! Sensory play is associated with tasting of fruits and vegetables in preschool children, by Coulthard and Sealy found that “sensory play activities using fruits and vegetables may encourage fruit and vegetable tasting in preschool children more than non-food play or visual exposure alone”.
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Check out the link below for some messy food and tactile play ideas.