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Introducing International Foods to Kids!

2015-04-13 by Dr. Melissa Liguori, Ed. D.

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These tips for introducing international foods to kids is brought to you by our guest writer and special needs consultant Dr. Melissa Liguori, Ed. D.

It is sometimes hard to admit, but very often our children eat foods WE like. If a parent models healthy eating and often has a wide variety of fruits and veggies around, their kids are more likely to eat them. A parent who despises peas for example, often has a child who dislikes them as well. However, it is fun and easy to expose children to a wide variety of foods from various cultures. These fabulous pretend food play sets are the perfect tool to introduce young ones to new and exciting types of food.

Introducing International Foods

Start off with Sushi and Stir Fry! These beautifully crafted wooden sets are ideal toys to explore when getting your kids to try Japanese foods. First have them look at and explore with the sushi slicing play set and the stir fry slicing set. They can be the chef or the customer and pretend to try some new dishes before actually going to the restaurant. Once they are familiar with the names of some of the foods and what some of the foods may look like kids will be ready to dig in. New foods such as ginger, salmon roe, and California Rolls are all a part of the fun.

Introducing international foods to kids and picky eaters can be fun with Melissa & Doug pretend play food sets, like stir-fry, sushi, pizza, tacos and burritos!

When playing with the Melissa & Doug Taco & Burrito felt food set children can fill up their dish with as many or as few veggies as they like. Play a game and allow children to add in 3 veggies at first, then 4, then 5! While children are playing with the felt food taco set, have real tacos cooking at the same time! Children are often more inclined to eat foods they help prepare. Have them help put out the fixings for tacos such as shredded cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, and beans. First they can make their pretend taco – then the real one!

Introducing international foods to kids and picky eaters can be fun with Melissa & Doug pretend play food sets, like stir-fry, sushi, pizza, tacos and burritos!

Add to the fun of introducing international foods by having children create their own international foods passport. Download and print our free two-page printable Passport of International Foods! It includes a colorful folding cover, personal information page (with space for the child’s photo and name), plus plenty of interior pages where kids can draw and rate meals with up to 5 stars, and record their favorite thing about the meal. Each time they try a new food from a different country kids can even “stamp” their “passport” to acknowledge their progress. This is a great visual for kids and can help keep them motivated to continue their adventure!

Other play food sets include pancakes and waffles, grill sets with hot dogs and kabobs, pizza, ice cream and sandwiches – just to name a few!

~Bon appétit!


Dr. Melissa Liguori, Ed. D.

After studying early childhood education at the American University in Washington, D.C., Dr. Liguori began her career as a classroom teacher in one of the nation’s top school districts, Montgomery County, Maryland. There she fostered an environment where play and learning were synonymous, and her reputation for thinking outside the box when it comes to toys began. Dr. Liguori completed her doctorate in Developmental and Learning Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University, and worked at prestigious private schools in New York, New Jersey, and the surrounding suburbs before settling her family and practice in Westport, CT. →You can follow Dr. Liguori on Facebook and Twitter!

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