Children appear to be more likely/willing to try a new vegetable if they are read a storybook on the vegetable with or without the addition of sensory play

In December 2019 researchers from the UK published the results of their study to assess whether learning about an unfamiliar vegetable (celeriac) through storybooks and sensory play increased its consumption in children. A total of 267 children, aged 2 to 5 years, were divided into four groups, namely two groups who were read a vegetable storybook featuring either celeriac or carrot, and two groups who combined storybook telling with sensory play with either a carrot or celeriac. The study lasted for 4 weeks and the child’s intake of the unfamiliar vegetable (celeriac) was assessed both at the start and end of the study period. A total of 85 children ate no celeriac at the start of the study and were classed as non-eaters. Results showed that those children who were read the celariac storybook were more likely to eat celeriac than those who were read the carrot storybook. Sensory play with celariac was seen to increase the odds of eating celeriac in the non-eaters even further when compared to those who were only read the storybook.

Nekitsing C et al. Increasing Intake of an Unfamiliar Vegetable in Preschool Children Through Learning Using Storybooks and Sensory Play: A Cluster Randomized Trial. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2019 Dec;119(12):2014-2027.

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