Are you looking for a new and creative way to get your kids interested in healthy eating? Well look no further! This lettuce process art activity is a food and nutrition craft where children can create their own lettuce art using craft supplies you already have on hand.
This activity teaches kids about how different vegetables provide nutrients, and it also gives them an opportunity to practice fine motor skills like hand strength, pencil control, and scissor cutting.
Food and Nutrition Craft to Teach Healthy Eating
I’m sure most of us can agree when I say kids love making messes. That’s the fun with kids, right?
Ok, maybe not so much, but it’s an important part of their development.
This activity will give them free range in creating some fun crafts and art and will also stimulate their brains with sensory play! It’s a classic process art activity for preschoolers, but can easily be turned into a food and nutrition craft that will help teach your preschoolers about healthy eating habits, too!
And best of all, it might encourage your little one to try a new food: lettuce!
FAQ About Teaching Healthy Eating to Preschoolers
The best ways to teach preschoolers about healthy eating are by example and exposure. Children are much more likely to try new foods if they see a trusted adult eating that same food and enjoying it. They’re also more likely to try a new food if they’ve been exposed to it multiple times and in various ways.
You can read books about healthy foods, engage in food and nutrition activities for preschoolers, and of course serve healthy foods at snack and meal times.
A healthy diet is essential for good health and nutrition. It protects you against many chronic noncommunicable diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Eating a variety of foods will make sure that your body has all the nutrients it needs to stay fit!
It’s important to understand that it’s normal for toddlers and preschoolers to be picky eaters. But that doesn’t make mealtime with a picky eater any less frustrating.
When preparing meals for preschoolers and toddlers, be sure to offer at least one thing you know they’ll eat, and pair that food with a less familiar or less liked food. That way, if your preschooler chooses not to try the new food, they can still have something they like.
Don’t force a child into trying a new food, either. Instead, model eating that food. Talk about what it tastes and feels like, and share how much you enjoy eating it yourself.
Lettuce Process Art Activity
If you have a little one who loves using liquid glue and painting, then this activity is for them. Let me show you how to make some pretty lettuce leaves to use in your food and nutrition activities.
- liquid glue
- water colors (shades of green and white)
- watercolor paint brushes
- heavy card stock or watercolor paper
- scissors (optional)
The Set Up
Start by taping down the watercolor paper onto the table. You’ll be leaving this until it dries completely, so make sure you have time to leave it. Alternatively, you can also tape the paper to a tray.
Taping down the paper and leaving it taped while drying will do two things:
- minimize warping
- create a crisp white border around the paper
Set out some watercolors in shades of green and white. I prefer liquid watercolor, but a solid pallet will work as well. I also offer a watercolor paint brush. It has different bristles and will pick up the paint better.
Place the liquid glue within reach of your preschooler and invite them to join you in making a food craft!
How to Make Lettuce Crafts and Artwork
One of the things I appreciate about this art is that it requires some wait time, which means preschoolers get to learn how to do things in steps.
Start by squiggling glue all over the paper. Yes, “squiggling” is an official term. (Just kidding). The idea here is to create lines that will be the lettuce leaves; squiggly lines make the leaves look more realistic.
You can encourage your preschooler to make a “round” head of lettuce, of you can let them make whatever they want.
Allow the glue to dry completely. I just left them overnight and then we returned to our art activity first thing the next morning.
When my preschoolers returned to school, we started painting our lettuce leaves. I offered shades of green, yellow, and white liquid watercolor, and they used small brushes to paint their paper.
We talked about how lettuce leaves look different because there are so many varieties!
Now, if you’re a super stellar teacher, you can bring in different varieties for the preschoolers to look at and handle. They can even try some, too! I didn’t think far enough ahead to do that, so I just showed them some pictures I found on the internet.
Some preschoolers were very careful to not over-mix their paint colors, while others swirled their paintbrushes on their paper until is was all one solid color of green. Either approach is fine…which is the beauty of process art!
Aside from being respectful to the materials we use and the space around us, there are no rules. There’s no right or wrong way to paint.
Whenever we do process art in my preschool, I always take a moment to teach my preschoolers how to properly use my paintbrushes. I do this not to infringe on their exportation process, but to help my paintbrushes live a longer life.
The texture of the dried glue will start to show through as the watercolors begin to dry, and then it’s easier to see the “lettuce” in the art.
Remember to allow the paintings to dry completely before pulling up the tape. Then your preschooler can practice scissor cutting and “cut out” their head of lettuce. This is an extra step that is not necessary, though.
Ways to Use Art Projects in the Classroom
While these are lovely hanging on the classroom wall, craft activities can also be used in other content areas in your nutrition theme. Try some of these hands-on activities in your food and nutrition preschool theme.
- Add these to your dramatic play center and invite your preschoolers to plant a lettuce garden and pick the heads.
- Make mini versions of these and practice counting by rolling a die and adding the corresponding number to a paper plate.
- Make name tags for each lettuce head, giving them different names: spinach, kale, collard greens, romaine, arugula, etc.
- Use them as a prop for a song like this one.
- Use them during circle time to talk about healthy food choices and food groups.
This is the kind of craft for kids I like to use in my preschool. It’s a little step-by-step, and a lot of process. While the children work, we talk about healthy choices as well as some of our favorite foods, like peanut butter, ice cream, and graham crackers.
When doing a food and nutrition or healthy eating theme in preschool, it’s so important to speak neutrally of “unhealthy” choices. Simple crafts like this one offers a fun activity for kids who might be reluctant about certain foods.
- watercolor paints
- watercolor paper
- liquid glue
- paint brush
- photos of lettuce varieties (optional)
- real lettuce varieties (optional)
- Use liquid glue to "squiggle" lettuce leaves on the paper.
- Allow to dry completely.
- Use liquid watercolors in shades of green, yellow, and white to paint the paper.
- Allow to dry completely.
- Cut out a lettuce head by following the perimeter of the glue lines.
Tape watercolor paper to table or tray to prevent warping. If possible, leave the tape down overnight.
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More Process Art Activities for Preschoolers
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.