Katie was always a picky eater. There are only a few foods that she will eat consistently. However, there are a number of others that one can get into her with some amount of effort: distractions, convincing arguments, trickery, etc.

Things became a little easier when Katie first learned about patterns. She liked them so much that she tried finding and making patterns everywhere. Eating was no exception. One could put three or four types of food on her plate and as long as she liked at least one of them, and didn’t absolutely hate the others, you could get her to eat them in a simple pattern.

This method of varying Katie’s diet worked quite reasonably for some time, however recently she has become more cunning. She will still use patterns while eating, but now she will often take breaks; she’ll either doze off or start a conversation. And somehow the breaks always happen right before her least favorite food! When she is ready to get back to eating, she ‘forgets’ where she left off and will start again with a favorite. When one of the foods finishes, she generally loses interest in making patterns and declares that she’s done.

Please suggest remedies! Bonus point for ones that involve fun mathematical concepts.

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About aofradkin

I enjoy thinking about presenting mathematical concepts to young children in exciting and engaging ways.

Shopping and cooking together is a great pathway to eating together. I would only shop in healthy places, like a farmers’ market, but let the kid make all the decisions. Designing your own soup with reverse timelines is a math activity that’s about right for the age. You pick ANY ingredients and arrange them by cooking time on a single stacked timeline. Which tells you when to add what if you read it backwards. The Japanese art of arranging bento boxes is pattern-based and mathematical in an artistic way. Bento has some rules to it, for example, about including at least five colors. If you stay with natural foods, it will mean a balance of different types. Search for images of bento together – it’s amazing.

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Thanks for the great ideas! I must confess that I haven’t been doing too much cooking recently, but I keep meaning to do more of it with Katie. I imagine that there are a lot of cool math topics that one can introduce through cooking.

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A couple of weeks ago, I started a Pinterest board “Eat your math.” I am looking forward to adding your food adventures to the collection! http://www.pinterest.com/naturalmath/eat-your-math/

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