FAACT's Family Activities Provide Food Allergy Education and Growth


by Caroline Moassessi, FAACT’s Vice President of Community Relations

Birthday party invitations have returned to inboxes as new restaurants are popping up, and our lives are waking up to a new normal. Yet for some, this may feel unfamiliar, possibly awkward. Although children are resilient, giving them extra tools to push through uncomfortable feelings or situations might ease stress and fears.

Dust off those food allergy management skills with FAACT's Family Activities at Home Program! Designed to teach food allergy management while inspiring imaginative play and role-playing, this tool will help children, teens, and adults get primed and ready for the days ahead. 

FAACT has carefully crafted an ever-growing series of age-appropriate food allergy management activities for you to bring right into your living room. Children are masters of imagination and play, and these activities target the young mind eager for new experiences. Parents will delight in the detailed guidance provided to lead activities. Family members, older siblings, or babysitters can lead or join them in this fun educational opportunity – everyone is welcome!

Each activity outlines suggested dialog and a meaningful learning opportunity. Fun and silly hats, scarves, and dress up attire are encouraged!

FAACT's Family Activities at Home

COVID-19 Pandemic Highlights:

Let’s Rehearse Lunchtime at School

Due to the pandemic and back-to-school concerns, FAACT created a special activity to help your student prepare for lunch while executing proper mask wearing and allergen-safe handwashing while following food allergen management protocols. We advise all families of students returning to in-person school to take a few brief moments to review this activity to help ensure students’ comfort and knowledge levels during snack or lunch time. This activity includes how to teach your child to manage lunch time in small steps, tips for practicing new routines, tips for parents and caregivers, and important links to handwashing and mask wearing techniques.

Role Play for the Classroom

While no one can predict fully what the next school year will look like, this is the perfect time to role play self-advocacy in the classroom setting. Once your family has a clearer understanding of the upcoming school year, you might consider revisiting this activity to help prepare your child for whatever the new school protocol for managing students with food allergies might be. 

Other Activities:

Let’s Play Sports

You can hear the crowd’s roar as the final goal is scored! While everyone jumps for joy, a suspicious tray of cupcakes magically appears. You and your child freeze. You do not want to cause a fuss, but you need to know who made the sweets, what is in them, and whether they are safe. Role-playing these types of situations is one of the best ways to prepare for those familiar, uncomfortable moments when snacks or food are part of special activity. Wear your favorite jersey or don your best tutu as you and your little ones work through tough situations.

Get the Sillies Out! Learn to say, “No thank you!”

Have you ever had a relative or family friend at a party insist you taste or try their special treat? Usually the food looks delicious, making it even more tempting. “Just try it!”, says your relative/friend. “There’s no {insert allergen} in it. Go on and take one!” Our relative wants everyone at the party to indulge and enjoy themselves. It feels rude saying no. But for someone with food allergies, taking chances could lead to a serious allergic reaction. This activity is designed to have you and your child laughing while practicing these three empowering words, “No thank you!”

Restaurant Play at the Allergy Café

Slip into dress-up mode to create a fun, casual café or fancy restaurant as children explore communication and navigating ordering allergen-safe foods. Scenarios explore food ordering, speaking to a waitperson, and communicating when things don’t go well.

It’s Play Date Time

Grab your child’s favorite stuffed animal or toy, an epinephrine auto-injector trainer, wipes, and a few snacks to role play each step needed to manage a play date with food allergies. From a pretend conversation with the other parent or caregiver to carrying rescue medications, both adult and child will have fun while getting comfortable with self-advocacy. 

Using play to teach is fun, exciting, and non-threatening. Children of all ages can let their imaginations run wild as they gently learn how to feel comfortable with self-advocacy and food allergy management.

Transitioning Allergy Healthcare Responsibility, A Roadmap for Teens and Parents

Preparing our teenagers to take over the responsibility of managing their healthcare needs takes time. It is an important life skill to learn before young adulthood. Once a person turns 18, the Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act, most often referred to as HIPAA, prevents health care providers from speaking about medical information with anyone but the patient. Unless permission is granted, our 18-year-old child’s medical privacy is protected by law. Knowing this, there will come a time when we hand over the healthcare reins to our kids. It is never too early to start teaching them how to take good care of themselves, including how to manage their allergy appointments and medication refills. 

Visit FAACT’s Family Activities Section to start role playing and have fun.