NEW PALESTINE — Every parent has said it during dinnertime: “Don’t play with your food.”
At the Sugar Creek branch of the Hancock County Public Library, parents were singing a different tune.
On a recent afternoon at the library, children were being encouraged to create works of edible art with basic food from the fridge.
“We are going to play with all kinds of food,” children’s library coordinator Deborah Reynolds said with a smile.
The idea was to provide the participants with mostly healthy foods (an exception was made for whipped cream). They then gave them a way to be creative with it.
“We’ve provided food before when we were teaching them about fun recipes, but this is a little bit different in that they are creating real art,” Reynolds said.
The “Play with your Food” event is one of many programs designed this month by staff members at the Hancock County Public Library.
For youngsters ages 9 to 12 who missed the fun at the Sugar Creek branch, the same event will run from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday at the main library branch in Greenfield.
The program gives some of the library’s youngest patrons a chance to let loose.
“It’s one of those fun things we like to do because, most of the time, kids are told they can’t play with their food at home,” Reynolds said.
She had the children take foods such as bananas, strawberries, blueberries and fruit loops and create pictures, such as a fish in water or a penguin.
“It’s kind of taking food and art and combining them into one thing,” Reynolds said.
New Palestine sisters Ashley and Brooke Pipkin, students at New Palestine Elementary School, said they’re not really allowed to play with food at home.
“I’m always sitting around my table, wishing I could just sort of mess around with my food, but my mom won’t let me,” Brooke said.
It’s why they were both excited to dig in and create art using their hands and spoons.
“Everybody always says, ‘Don’t play with your food,’ but we’re going to a program that says, ‘Play with your food,’” Brooke said. “That’s cool.”
The girls and other children taking part in the hourlong workshop said it was an awesome experience turning a banana into a penguin and more.
“You can do anything with food,” Ashley said. “But the best part is you can eat it at the end, and I am going to eat it.”
For one of the projects, the children smoothed some Cool Whip on a plate to act as water. They then used freshly cut fruit and other foods to make a fish.
“Don’t forget to use the blueberries to look like bubbles all around it,” Reynolds reminded them.
She said this type of program gives children ideas they can then take home and do with their parents’ permission.
“Instead of always doing crafts at home, the kids can now say, ‘Let’s do crafts with Cool Whip,’” Reynolds said.
What: Play with your Food
When: 4-5 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Youth program room, Hancock County Public Library, 900 W. McKenzie Road, Greenfield
Who: Youngsters 9-12
What’s involved: Create works of edible art with foods from the refrigerator. All supplies are provided in this nut-free program.