How to use Munchy Play Plates for Toddlers?
Congratulations on purchasing a Munchy Play plate! Whether your child is a typical toddler, fussy eater, train or car fanatic, our kids' tableware invites little ones to the table, and helps to keep them there.
Made in the UK by a Mum of a fussy eater, Munchy Play plates are designed for infants. There's high-sides for scooping food, a non-slip base and of course... a built-in track, compatible with toy car and trains.
When using our product, it’s just as important to set your child up for success. Below are a few tips to help you get the best out of your fun plates.
Step 1: Demonstrate the product
Parents tell us that their children are SO excited when they receive their Munchy Play plate. But it’s helpful to explain how it works to your child first. Show them the kids' plate and demonstrate what it’s for. Tell them they can play and eat at the same time. Importantly – explain that it’s their very own tableware, not to be used by anyone else. This will make them feel special and make them excited about mealtimes.
Step 2: Involve your child at mealtimes
Involving your child in the dining experience is a good way to get them interested.
Here’s a few ways you can do this:
- Give them a choice about what they have to eat (this also helps to make them feel in control)
- Invite them to help prepare their meal. It could be as simple as washing a cucumber, to cutting it up – always with adult supervision.
- With our kids’ plates you can go one-step further, inviting them to choose their toy train or car they'd like to bring with them to the table each day (ensuring they are suitable/clean/safe to do so).
Step 3: Keep it exclusive
To keep the excitement going for as long as possible, especially if you have a fussy eater, try and keep your Munchy Play plate exclusively for mealtimes, or as a pick plate for snacks. But always for eating, rather than a toy in itself. It’s best used as a tool to excite kids about dining and helping to create positive associations with mealtimes.
Step 4: Respect the way they play
Children all have their own way of playing. Some will want to stuff as many vehicles on the track as possible, others prefer one at a time! There’s no wrong or right way to play, as long as it’s safe (eg, food and toys are not mixed). After all, children develop practical life skills through play.
Step 5: Don’t forget, they’re just kids!
In the early days of weaning we make eating fun. We play games with our child like 'here comes the plane’ and peek a boo. Then in just a few months once weaning is over, we tend to forget this. But children still love to play, and mealtimes provide the perfect opportunity to have fun together.
So get involved. Play games with your child using our fun plates, and take the opportunity to talk about food choices in a fun way.
Here’s some games you can play;
- Having a tea party with trains and cars
- Pretending to be on a train or car journey to a friends’ house for lunch
- Getting a ‘reward’ when the train or car goes once around the track, or ‘stopping to refuel’
- See how many cars you can put around the track (perhaps you get a new car to put on the track after each mouthful)
- Offering a new car or train to put on the plate every time they try a new food
In a recent survey, 93% of parents told us that their Munchy Play plate helped to “improve toddler mealtimes”.
Here's some further hints and tips that might help, based on popular questions we're often asked:
Help - my child is a fussy eater!
If you’ve got a picky eater child, you’re not alone. A study by Science Direct found that up to half of mums reported at least one child being a ‘poorly or picky eater'.
Even if your child was a cherub during weaning, it’s entirely possible that they can show less interest in food as they enter toddlerhood. This is because sometime around 18 months and four year’s old, children discover their independence. With this comes a desire to explore the world around them, as well as exerting their independence.
This is a time when children are developing their fine motor skills and thinking skills, and everything is exciting… except sitting still! Understandably, this can make mealtimes somewhat challenging.
The good news is that there are a number of strategies to help overcome or prevent fussy eating behaviours. These include making dining fun, repeat exposure and involving your child at mealtimes. We’ve produced a comprehensive guide to fussy eating in toddlers, worth checking out for more details.
My child loves trains and cars, can I harness this?
Our toddler plates aren’t just for fussy eaters. They are loved by train and car fans too!
We know that play is essential for children, and forms an important part of development. Playing with cars and trains can help fine motor skills. This is the development of movements in our hands and wrists, essential for writing, art, sport and more.
There are also benefits in creative play, helping children to evolve their communication skills, as well as social skills and problem solving. So, when children are playing with toys, even at mealtimes, they are also benefitting at the same time.
"Some parents are worried that play at mealtimes can be a distraction. However, mealtimes for children is much more than just about food - it’s about the whole social occasion and sensory experience too."
We worked with a child nutritionist during product development, who advised that making the dining table an enjoyable place to be, is the best way to get kids to the table and keep them there. In the same way that kids are given crayons and colouring in when visiting a restaurant.