Nibble with Willow

Our evidence-based program, Nibble with Willow, supports parents and children to establish a successful dynamic around healthy eating through skill-building and utilizing meal time as a learning and discovery process.  Children are introduced to Willow, the lovable bunny puppet who shares her love for the seasonal foods she grows in her ‘garden’. Parents and children prepare a simple recipe with Willow that can be easily replicated at home. The process of exploring, touching, smelling and tasting together, encourages the children to ‘nibble like Willow.’ Children happily eat their veggies and parents discover that mealtime can be a fun learning experience.  By shifting the focus from the fear of ‘picky eaters’ to the joy of discovering the new and delicious, the barriers to children’s healthy food acceptance is mitigated.

Willow’s Unique Teaching Tools:

  • Willow the bunny hand puppet
  • Magical garden apron
  • Felt pieces depicting seasonal references and foods that pop out of the apron
  • Exquisite fruit and veggie posters depicting how foods grow
  • Colorful recipe cards for parents available in Spanish & English
  • Magnifying glasses to explore raw fruits and vegetables

A very tactile program, children also use large magnifying glasses to explore raw fruits and vegetables before preparing their recipe. In this way, they connect to the colorful produce with deeper familiarity, making each food both appealing and appetizing!

Available in virtual and in-person versions for WIC Centers, or Preschools and SNAP-Ed programs. 

WATCH Willow in action!

Exciting Willow Update January 2023!

FamilyCook Productions has been selected for Phase 2 of Robin Hood Foundation’s FUELfor50 Initiative. We’re excited to work with Robin Hood and our partner BronxWorks throughout 2023 to support young children in New York City!

All 10 Phase 2 awardees will receive $250K  to advance programs focused on parents and caregivers of children ages 0-3. Read more about this exciting initiative!

Willow is structured to support all five pre-school learning domains:

  • Cognitive
  • Language
  • Motor skills
  • Social/emotional
  • Adaptive

Willow has been operating in WIC Centers since 2010 and preschool since 2012. Currently, 25 sites in 12 states operate Willow in WIC or preschool.

Our program evaluation in WIC centers to date has demonstrated the following:

A significant difference between Willow participating families and non-Willow participants in purchasing more fruits and vegetables

Children participating in our hands-on program increase the variety of fruits and vegetables purchased by the family

Higher redemption of farmers market WIC vouches

To learn more about how to bring WILLOW to your early childhood or WIC program, download a brochure or contact us!

Available in versions for WIC Centers or Preschools.

The program is structured to support all five pre-school learning domains: cognitive, language, motor skills, social/emotional, and adaptive.

Key Components:

  1. Willow introduction of the season and the fruits and vegetables to be explored
  2. Story and/or rhyme about the food in context of the season
  3. Stunning posters depicting the foods of the day’s focus
  4. Quick and easy snack recipe strategies utilizing 2 or more colored fresh fruits and vegetables assembled and tracked at home using wipe-off refrigerator magnet
  5. Recipes on laminated cards in English & Spanish to send home to parents, complete with steps appropriate for children to help
Note for CACFP program participants: A joint project with Share Our Strength resulted in our developing 30 delicious meal strategies for this age group using fresh ingredients that are all credited for CACFP breakfast, lunch/supper and snack!  Contact us to learn more!