As a busy Mom, getting food on the table is a big part of daily life. Even though we eat simple meals (with lots of leftovers), a substantial chunk of time is devoted to making sure food gets into bellies (and then cleaning up the crumbs that didn’t make it into bellies – when does the messy eating stage end?!).
Our routine follows a predictable rhythm. We gather – virtually every evening – around the supper table. We eat together and talk and then work as a team to clean up dishes and set the kitchen back to rights. It’s nice to have a routine; it’s comforting and a big part of our family “culture”.
That said, it’s also fun to shake things up. We’ve spread out a picnic blanket on the living room floor and had our food in front of the fire. We’ve gathered in the family room and munched on tacos in front of the TV. But want to know the kids’ favourite experience (which I’ve only done twice, but they still reference regularly) – a Pirate Supper.
The basic idea is this: I cover up the table with brown paper (newspaper or flyers work would work too) and serve a meal without any plates/bowls or cutlery.
Obviously, calling it a Pirate Supper (or Pirate Breakfast/Lunch) is critical to its success.
I think we had pizza with veggies and dip one night and the other might have involved grilled-cheese sandwiches and fruit? Whatever I served, the food was decidedly low-key and forgettable. It is the delivery method that takes center stage in this show, and the kids absolutely loved the experience!
Bonus: clean-up was a cinch as I simply gathered any food mess up in the paper and tossed it directly into the compost bin.
It’s been over a year since I’ve channeled my inner Jack Sparrow and I think I’m officially overdue for pulling this trick out of my parenting repertoire!
Your turn: any great ideas for bringing some creativity – and whimsy – into mealtimes with kids?