Raising Curious Kids

February 2021

As a mum, the expectations and pressure to be everything and do all of the things, all of the time never fades. To raise kids who will one day be mountain moving adults with a good head on their shoulders, a bounce in their step and an open-mindedness to new and different.

Read to them, clothe them, make sure they're clean, that they eat well and don't forget to spend quality time with them. They must be resilient but risk takers, cautious but inquisitive, polite but determined. Expose them to diversity and encourage them to expand their interests and skills. But, while you're drowning in soccer training schedules and weekend cultural festivals, also hold down a job, keep a social life and run a household. It's as time demanding as it is mentally taxing, SO when you find something that ticks many of those mum boxes, you snavvel that magic unicorn up.

Enter Curious Gastronaut - an interactive game for kids that helps me to be a better mum in 20mins than I may have been all dang day.

As the website states, Curious Gastronaut is a whimsical, award-winning family game about exploring the edible world using the imagination, weird and wonderful bite-size experiments to tickle all of your senses! In laymen's terms for us sleep-deprived, time-poor mothers - it is a box of entertainment for your kiddos that requires as little (or as much) of your time as you feel up to. You can simply draw 3 cards and go on a food hunt or you can up the ante with some fun food mixing, giving your kidlets little bites of interesting flavours and textures.

This nifty little game crosses off so many of our mum checklist that I actually feel a bit smug like maybe I should have paid more for this little box of cards that disguises important life lessons as fun and excitement. Let me outline the mum-wins nice and clear for you below.

Win #1 - This game comes with 3 game suggestions, levelling up from the most basic ' I can't be bothered getting any real food out but need 5 minutes of peace' option all the way up to the dedicated 'I caught more than 4 hours sleep last night so am pumped to sneakily get you to try some food you won't touch when I put it on your plate' level. So, you can determine your commitment from the get-go!

Win #2 - There are no extra parts or game pieces needed, no dice, counters or excessive pieces of plastic. The sturdy, neat little box comes with a drawstring bag of cards perfect for little hands and durable for food spillages and the occasional dirty fingers. It also has a mini book that your kiddos can fill out with their favourite experimental bites.

Win #3 - The colourful, engaging pictures absolutely lull the kids into a false sense of security - prettily suggesting your 'no green eating child' to go and find something that grows on trees for their mouthful, or conning your 'pasta only eating kid' to find something with seeds. The smart pitching to kids' visual senses absolutely wins over their innate 'no' reflex to anything outside their comfort zone. Level up your proactivity with the fussy kid while tickling the tastebuds of your more adventurous eater.

Win #4 - Every time you play, you are encouraging some super important life skills without even really doing much more than following the rules of the game. Each time they read a card, they're exploring diverse food options, which can include deeper concepts such as culture appreciation and religious limitations if you're feeling dedicated. When they venture into the kitchen to source their morsels, you're supporting independence, choice empowerment and positivity around food. With every bite by you or your wee one, there is a elevation of safe risk taking, some resilience if the concoction doesn't taste as planned and plenty of chances to up their food knowledge, vocab and exposure. Chuck in some healthy competition, being a graceful loser and opportunities to work on tactile and texture sensory fears, and that my fellow mum WINS the game cupboard for me. So. Many. Underlying. Lessons.

Win #5 - Even though this is the last on my list, it may just be my favourite thing about this game. Nalisha, the incredible creator and designer of Curious Gastronaut, has partnered with Oz Harvest - Australia's leading food rescue organisation. For every game purchased, Nalisha will give $1 towards feeding two vulnerable children at school. That’s right! 1 game = 2 meals. So, while you're sitting in the comfort of your home with your healthy kiddos and a fridge full of nourishing, wholesome food, you can feel pride in knowing that you have helped out some children who are less fortunate. You could also use this awesome initiative as a segue to educate and empower your littles to the importance of being grateful for your blessings and for paying it forward when you can.

Curious Gastronaut is so unique and really engaging, unlike anything else we have in the games cupboard. If you’ve got a kid who loves to bake, enjoys experiments or is a bit picky with their meal choices - I reckon this game is for you! Would also make a cracking gift for your spaghetti-eating-only nephew or nothing-but-white-food goddaughter

You can have more of a squiz about it or purchase a copy of your own here.

Happy experimenting

J x