“But I didn’t even know I could tell that story?” was my daughter’s bemused response, while watching back the 40-second animation we have created to launch The Super Yummies, a lovely new range of snacks from the Cow & Gate family, for toddlers from aged 12+ months, containing only naturally occurring salt and sugar.

Celebrating the wonder of storytelling, the brief of the project was to make a film demonstrating how play and meaningful family-time can inform learning outside of more formal, prescribed learning systems – while experiencing how new flavours can be incorporated into even the fussiest of eaters’ daily routine, out and about.

“When chameleons change their appearance, do they still like the same breakfast?”

So it was that my five-year-old daughter, Rosa, and I set out on a special day, just the two of us, which would form the basis of ‘If a Parsnip Was an Animal’: a series of drawings and conversations inspired by what we saw, tasted and heard.

After umm-ing and ahh-ing, and establishing that a day out with Spiderman was not on the menu (harsh life-lessons), we settled on London Zoo. Having managed to sneak out unnoticed by my two-year-old who at this point was busy insisting his father “GET IN!” to a 5cm-long toy plane in the living room, while the 5-month-old baby squawked on the mat, my daughter and I headed out.

It was a busy morning eyeing up kangaroos, lizards, buffalo and butterflies – stopping briefly to refuel, while considering pressing questions such as “when chameleons change their appearance do they still like the same breakfast?” – before heading home to mull it all over. Taking our cue from some of the flavours in a packet of The Super Yummies ‘slices’, I asked Rosa: “If a parsnip was an animal, what animal would it be?”

This film is a lovely reminder of the power of a child’s imagination – and the unerring fact that a five-year-old always has the last word

So began a 30-minute journey from our dining table through the brilliantly bonkers mind of an excited five-year-old… Through an enchanted forest populated by unicorns, flying tigers, and superhero treasure (naturally). As we talked, Rosa drew elements of what she described in a series of pictures, which formed the basis of an animation later brought to life by The Super Yummies team. The result, we hope, is a lovely reminder of the power of a child’s imagination (and the unerring fact that a five-year-old always has the last word). 

Follow on Facebook:

More in Features

Writers Bloc #1 Val McDermid

By , 25th September 2018
Features, Regulars
From imposter syndrome to plotting, in a new series for Marie Claire authors give me chapter and verse on how the writing process works for them - starting with multi award-winning crime writer Val McDermid, who has written 32 books in as many years

The Lives of Others #6

By , 23rd July 2018
Education, Features, Regulars, Travel
Georgie Higginson moved from the UK to Uganda 14 years ago. After losing their daughter to stillbirth, she and her husband were inspired to build a lodge on the banks of the River Nile, overlooking Murchison Falls National Park - an area once occupied by LRA rebels

Global Village #6

By , 9th July 2018
Design, Features, Regulars, Travel
Designer Kate Pietrasik lived in London, Edinburgh, New York and Byron Bay before moving to a town near Biarritz when her daughter was four years old. She reflects on life as a 'blended family', running her own business, and the joy of being rootless

Global Village #2

By , 7th May 2018
Bridie Woodward swapped London for New York 'for a few months', six years ago. She reflects on accidentally making a life for herself, between an apartment in the city and a cottage in Montauk

How to… Go plastic-free

By , 4th May 2018
Mother-of-two Bettina Maidment has spent the past 18 months living almost entirely without plastic, while reducing her overall waste so significantly that she only takes out the bins once every few months... Here is how