Hey everyone! OT/feeding therapist Foodie Judy here with more techniques to help your child’s eating habits improve through play!


Your child’s sensory system helps determine which kinds of food they eat. The inputs food gives us via our sensory system can be either positive or negative, and when children struggle to process these inputs correctly, food can seem really scary or off-putting. One common issue is a strong dislike for touching wet or sticky foods like pasta with sauce, hummus, “juicy” fruit or peanut butter on toast. Does your kid dislike these foods too?

My job as a feeding therapist is to help kids struggling with sensory, developmental, oral motor, or behavioral issues around food become more competent, successful eaters. When children have sensory challenges with food, we introduce those textures in a less threatening way – through play!

In this post, we are continuing our sensory play strategies using these wet textures. In our last post about this we started with dry mixed textures, so if your tot is struggling or you want to help develop and challenge their sensory system, check out that post too!

Here are my tips for successful sensory play with a wet/sticky bin:


  • Present the bin with the toys inside and just play with the toys. Start with comfortable hard toys, then move to sticky toys like stretchy spider webs from the Dollar Store. Don’t be afraid to get into it yourself!
  • Bury the toys and bring the toys to life using voices, noises and actions. Go dig for buried treasures! 
  • If this is going well, consider adding water to wet the pasta and change its texture.
  • Never force your child’s hand into the bin. Go slowly and let your child guide the way. Let your child wipe their hands or stop the activity if needed {although tolerance of the liquid on their hands is a good sign}!
  • Avoid doing this near the table or at mealtimes – we want it to be seen as a very positive, low-pressure activity.
  • Keep practicing – remember, the more your child can tolerate touching something, the more likely they are to eventually eat that texture.

Keep in mind the following end goals:


  • Tolerate wet or sticky textures on hands, which leads to tolerance in mouth
  • Play with familiar hard/smooth toys in the wet/sticky medium, and then play with sticky toys in the gooey medium
  • Tolerate the appearance of wet, sticky toys – and eventually food




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