8 Ways to Make Mealtime More Fun & Engaging for Your Kids


Food is fuel, but it’s also so much more.

Food is for pleasure.
Food is a social activity.
Food is a creative outlet.
Food is a way to connect.
Food is fun!

We want to teach our kids to love food from as early an age as possible—because there’s just so much to love! Below, eight O’Farm team members share how they’re instilling a love of food in their kids by making mealtime a memorable experience for all.

1. Describe the benefits of the food they’re eating.

“Sometimes we tell Gabe what things are good for, like, ‘chicken helps make you strong so you can hit home runs like Aaron Judge.’”

Kim Pia, Senior Digital Marketing Manager

Psst: Megan Roosevelt, RDN shares some great tips in this blog for talking to your kids about food.

2. Enlist their help with choosing, prepping, and cooking.

“Hayes helps cook, which I like to think makes him want to eat the food more. He does things like pour ingredients into the pot, cuts veggies (we each put on our apron, he gets his cutting board, I get mine, I give him a few things to cut and then try to cut the rest as fast as I can). It's chaotic, but now he almost expects to do something with dinner prep each night and asks what we're cooking, the names of ingredients, etc.”

Kristin O’Connell, Senior Director of Sales

“My guys LOVE to crack eggs, clean up messes made while cooking, knowing the stove is hot, seeing the steam, etc. It's a great interaction.”

Gina Marie Hatcher, Materials Analyst

“Bergen loves standing at her kitchen tower to be at the same level and see what's going on, then be able to help add (or remove lol) ingredients. We talk a lot about what's happening and names of things. I am also realizing how much I make sounds for things because she's starting to echo (hear the eggs??! Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle...).”
Amy Dreger, Director of Sales

3. Keep kids entertained and active before dinnertime.

“With varying levels of success, we try to keep the kids busy and active in that tough time window between when they come home from school and when dinner starts. When one of us is cooking, the other will take the kids outside on a walk or next door to play with their neighborhood friends. During the winter, it's usually soccer or basketball or t-ball in the basement. Helps them work up an appetite, keeps the endorphins flowing, and avoids them filling up on snacks beforehand (which naturally happens when they're just sitting around watching a movie, etc)”

Jeff Schafer, Senior Director of Sales

4. Host “taste tests” with your kids.

“We'll cut up a bunch of different colored peppers and tell Gabe to close his eyes and we'll give him a pepper to bite and he'll have to guess the color. Then he does the same for us.”

Kim Pia, Senior Digital Marketing Manager

5. Talk/ask about your days and what you’re looking forward to.

“There's a pretty standard conversation game of High/Low/What are you looking forward to? Going around the table to ask everyone's highlight, lowlight, and what they're looking forward to always prompts good dialogue and a peek into your kids’ lives.”

Ryan Johnson, Sr. Manager of DTC Operations

6. Prioritize eating together as a family.

“I find my son does best when we sit as a family at the table. It’s hard to do with two parents working full time but if you can prioritize a meal or two it really has made a huge difference in our household. Seeing that his parents are enjoying food brings him joy. He also makes sure we eat as well (which is so adorable). He holds a fork but doesn’t use it but loves that he can access the forks and get what he needs.”

Charlotte Simms, Transportation & Supply Chain Specialist

“Dining as a family is also a priority and we all sit down together for both breakfast and dinner, and more often than not, have music playing (sometimes along with the type of food— like Vietnamese!) and dance along!”

Amy Dreger, Director of Sales

7. Turn dinner into a picnic!

“Especially on weekends, if it's just been a long day and we need a break, we'll have a ‘dinner picnic.’ We'll put a blanket on the floor and just sit and eat on the floor for a change of scenery.”

Kim Pia, Senior Digital Marketing Manager

8. Let things get silly (playing with food encouraged).

“For mealtime away from home (lunch at school or on the go), food picks are such a fun addition that entices little hands to pick-up and try it. From leaves/stems on their fruit or veg, to eyes/antennae for butterfly sandwiches, or just super fun animals. My kids also come to expect silly lunchbox notes with jokes or fun facts on them and a corresponding doodle:

  • Did you know the blue whale's tongue weighs as much as an elephant!?
  • Knock, knock. Who's there? Owl says. Owl says who? Yes, they do!”

Kaitlyn Zuber, Office Manager

“If you want a FULL ON DAD perspective, I'm going to say something controversial: Adopt a pro-flatulence policy at the dinner table. The full belly laugh moments are worth it. And the friendlier a place your kids perceive the dinner table to be, the more inclined they're going to be to be adventurous eaters. Note: This policy is NOT condoned by the wife. But she tends to turn a blind eye to it, understanding the rewards far outweigh whatever unpleasantness comes with it. Have fun with your family!”

Ryan Johnson, Sr. Manager of DTC Operations