Fun Child Utensils to Encourage Eating
When you run into a picky eating phase with your child, fun utensils can help spark an interest in trying new foods. Here’s our go-to guide on how fun child utensils can encourage eating, our favorite products, and tips to get started!
Medically reviewed and co-written by Lauren Braaten, Pediatric Occupational Therapist (OT).
Encouraging Adventurous Eating
All kids seem to go through a bit of a picky eating phase at one time or another. And although there are many strategies you should consider to help your child pass through this phase, adding a fun eating utensil into your rotation is one idea to try. We’ve seen kids eat foods we would have never imagined, simply due to a new spoon or fork.
Breaking out of the ordinary and getting a little creative during mealtimes often encourages eating, especially when new foods are on the plate. Studies have shown that the less pressure a kid feels while eating, the more likely they are to try new foods. Using fun utensils can take the pressure off eating and make it fun.
We’ve chosen a variety of our favorite utensils to encourage adventurous eating from babies and toddlers, to preschoolers and school-aged kids. (And we promise we won’t judge if you want to try them on your picky spouse.)
Tips for Using Fun Utensils
- As with any eating opportunities, always supervise – especially depending on your child’s age with small food forks and food picks
- Fun utensils can be used to dip into a new sauce or puree and taste a very small amount
- Tongs can also be used as serving utensils during meals
- Utensils can be used outside of meal times for building fine motor skills – use them to scoop up rice in a sensory bin or poke and cut play-doh pieces
- For older kids, use food picks in their lunch box to encourage bites at school
- Straws can be used to as a utensil for sipping new soups, yogurt or other purees
A fun utensil to stimulate the tongue, gums, lips and mouth palate with textured spoon ends. Made of BPA-Free, flexible food-grade silicone.
- For 6+ months
- One end provides “speed bumps” for a gentle wake-up as the upper lip moves across the spoon. The other end provides sensory bumps for texture acceptance.
Dipping a spoon is a fun way to capture purees. A unique non-directional design makes it easy for beginners to self-feed.
- Ideal for 6 months to about 2 years
- Best for slightly thicker purees, like greek yogurt, mashed potatoes, oatmeal or blended thick soups
Inspire some creative bites with these stainless steel and food-grade silicone utensils. The fork has rounded tines for safety.
- For 3+ years
- The round aircraft body makes these utensils easier for small hands to grasp.
Fun eating tools for the construction-loving kiddo! These utensils are great for developing fine motor skills.
- For 2+ years
- The bulldozer can be used to push food onto the fork or spoon.
These mini tongs are great for picking up a variety of foods, like melon cubes, grapes, tomatoes, olives, or cheese.
- Best for ages 3+ years due to fine motor skills needed to use
- We love the bright and fun colors that add novelty to mealtimes!
One of the coolest utensils sets out there! Interlocking handles fit together for easy storage.
- For ages 3+ years
- Ideal for lunch boxes, picnics, your desk drawer, or glove box.
These training chopsticks are designed to help kids (and adults!) learn how to use chopsticks and master the technique easily and quickly.
- Ideal for ages 5+ years
- We love that the animal topper comes off for easy cleaning.
These cute forks are perfect for picking up fruit, desserts, snacks, and bite-sized foods.
- Recommended for ages 3+ years, with close supervision
- Perfect for taking on-the-go and dining out while traveling.
These adorable food picks are a great way to bring attention back to the table and encourage small bites.
- Recommended for ages 3+ years with close supervision
- Fun way to add a little color and variety to older kid’s lunchboxes
These bright reusable silicone straws are firm, yet flexible, making them a great fit for both toddlers and older kids.
- For ages 1+ years
- Use straws to dip into new sauces and taste some off of the end, sip on a new smoothie, yogurt, or soups!