This November we studied food and nutrition in preschool. I thought that with the recent end of the harvest season and with the upcoming holidays that are so food central it would only be appropriate to do a food and nutrition preschool theme. In this unit the students explored various food items through several hands-on activities, and topics such as health and food groups were also introduced.
This post may contain affiliate links.
This theme turned out to be so fun! Who knew preschoolers would love learning and talking about food so much? I strongly believe in establishing healthy eating habits early, and our food and nutrition theme was a great step in the right direction. Not only did the children learn about the different food groups, they also got to make several choices regarding their food study, much like choices they get in real life.
Food and Nutrition Theme Books
There are so many great children’s books that teach kids how to eat healthy and why we should, but here are some of our favourite food and nutrition theme books that are just right for preschoolers.
Eight Food and Nutrition Themed Preschool Activities
Fruit and Vegetable Color Sort
Students sorted the fruit and vegetable cards from Montessori for Everyone by color. I placed a piece of foam on the floor in every fruit or vegetable color including white and tan, then handed out cards one by one until all of the pictures were sorted. This was a great introductory activity for the students as some did not recognize all the fruits and vegetables pictured. For where we live, fruits like figs, pomegranate, and guava are not grown here and are hard to find and typically very expensive if you do happen upon them, so this activity lent itself to teaching the students about a variety of fruits and vegetables they were very unfamiliar with.
Eat The Rainbow Color Organization
The above color sort lead us right into a discussion about how healthy fruits and vegetables make us. They make us strong, and fast, and smart…all things a little four year old wants to be. I invited students to organize the cards by color to make a rainbow. Once our rainbow was made, I shared with the students how we should eat foods that are colorful and that we should eat a range of colors everyday. We should eat the rainbow. Finally, I invited students to select some foods from the rainbow to represent the foods they might eat in one day. The goal was for every student to have a range of colors.
Fruit and Vegetable Printmaking
Students explored some common fruits and vegetables by doing some printmaking. I began by showing the whole food and asking the students to name them. Then, I carefully sliced each one and the students thought it was so cool to look at the insides. We briefly discussed what we saw, but then got right to work doing some printmaking. We used celery, apples, mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers. I love the onions because each ring can be seen.
Painting With Celery Stalks
This activity came about unintentionally. While cutting our celery stalk for the above activity, one student noticed how the inside stalks look like paint brushes. So, we did the only thing that could be done. We used the inner celery stalks as paintbrushes. It was an excellent part of our exploration of food materials.
Food Group Sort Book
I found an awesome food group graphing activity on Tips From A Typical Mom. Instead of doing a graph, though, the students made a food group book. This was a great opportunity to share with the students how different kinds of foods do different things for our bodies, which is why we need to eat from every food group. Honestly, though, I didn’t spend a lot of time discussing the nutrition of each food group. I spent more time on helping the students identify which foods fit into each group. I cut out the pictures and laid them on a tray. Each student got their own tray. With all the pictures laid out and everyone having their own tray it was much easier to lead them through making their food group book. Tips From A Typical Mom has lots of other food and nutrition printables, some more for lower elementary than preschool.
Healthy Versus Unhealthy Food File Folder Game
The food group picture cards on Tips From A Typical Mom also happen to make the perfect cards for this board game. (An idea I stole from Kinder Plans, who also has a ton of other food and nutrition ideas!) I colored each picture and then glued them around the file folder. Notice that the game does not have a start or finish. This is because students continue to move around the game board until they have collected ten counters. Students roll the dice and move their game piece the corresponding number. If the player lands on a healthy food, they add a counter to their grid. If the player lands on something unhealthy, they collect no counter and must wait until their nest turn to try again. The game continues until a player fills their entire grid of ten.
Healthy Versus Unhealthy Food Sort
Students used grocery ads to complete a healthy versus unhealthy food sort. Actually, it was a “healthy” versus “sometimes” food sort. At my house we don’t focus much on unhealthy foods, but instead I refer to them as “sometimes” foods. I want my children to know it is ok to indulge in junk food sometimes, we just can’t let it be a habit. This idea is also something I wanted to be sure to include in my preschool lesson plans. I was a little more lenient with my preschoolers than I normally am, though. For example, at our house, fruit juice is a sometimes food. I’d rather my kids eat the real fruit, with the skin, rather than the sugary juice. But, since most parents identify fruit juice a being healthy, that is how we categorized it in our sort.
Smiley Face Fruit and Vegetable Sticker Stories (Dictated)
If you read my blog with frequency, you know I love dictated stories for emergent writers. I had purchased these fruit and vegetable stickers just for this activity. Students selected three stickers to be the characters of their story. Then, they added details with markers and finally each student dictated their story to me while I wrote it down. The below example is William’s story, which made me laugh. 😛 The story went on to tell about the tornado and some lightening. The vegetables got in a car and drove away from the stormy weather until they were all safe. Funny story from a funny kid.
Looking for More Theme Activities and Lesson Plans?
I love teaching by theme because I get to teach an inch wide and a mile deep. This food and nutritian theme was no different. We learned so much about how to make healthy food choices.This is not to say that I don’t listen what my preschoolers want to learn, but I love providing tons of activities related to a single theme so that my preschoolers can really become familiar with a specific topic.
This is not to say that I don’t listen what my preschoolers want to learn, but I love providing tons of activities related to a single theme so that my preschoolers can really become familiar with a specific topic.