Add this fun and educational tool to your Nutrition Week lesson plans – a color sorting printable that brings together fine motor, colors, and healthy eating in one vibrant package. This sorting fruits and vegetables activity for preschoolers is designed to engage little hands and minds.
Not only does this activity help to improve fine motor skills, but it also subtly introduces the concept of healthy eating and the importance of different food groups, making it a perfect addition to any food and nutrition theme in your homeschooling or classroom environment.
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The sorting fruits and vegetables activity for preschoolers features a rainbow array of fruits and vegetables that your child can sort using colored pom poms or other small manipulatives.
With the use of jumbo tongs, children will develop their fine motor skills as they match the colors on the fruit and veggie sorting mat.
Beyond improving fine motor skills, this activity also introduces young children to the concept of healthy eating. By categorizing fruits and vegetables by color, children begin to understand the importance of including a variety of different colored foods in their diet, like in our Eat the Rainbow Activity.
This can also serve as a great conversation starter for discussing the different food groups and their benefits. We also have a Food Group Sorting Booklet, too!
Whether you are homeschooling or teaching in a classroom setting, this color sorting activity is a perfect addition to any food and nutrition theme. Not only will it keep children engaged and entertained, but it also promotes important skills and knowledge related to healthy eating.
By making learning about nutrition fun, we can instill good habits that will benefit them for years to come.
Why Use This Healthy Eating Sorting Activity?
This activity serves as an excellent healthy eating sorting tool because it familiarizes preschoolers with various fruits and vegetables, helping them identify and associate different colors with different types of nutritious foods.
By engaging in this hands-on task, children gain a fun and interactive understanding of the importance of a balanced diet and healthy eating habits.
Furthermore, it provides an opportunity for teachers to discuss the benefits of each fruit and vegetable, reinforcing the idea that colorful meals are not just visually appealing but also beneficial for our health.
FREE Sort Fruits and Vegetables Color Mats
These healthy food and nutrition themed fine motor activities are geared toward preschoolers, but not to worry, as always I offer a few ways to use this same printable for toddlers, too!
I have a two-year-old little boy who loves to “go sool”, (go to school), so I’m always inventing ways to include him without having to completely redesign the activity.
- free fruit and veggie color sorting printable
- pom poms in rainbow colors (or other rainbow colored manipulative)
- small tongs or tweezers
Print the fruit and veggies color sorting cards on heavy cardstock. Cut apart and laminate of desired.
Place the mats on a table with a set of rainbow manipulatives of some sort. Here are some ideas of manipulatives you can use:
Place the counters on a tray, all mixed up, alongside the sorting mats.
Color Sorting Fruits and Vegetables
The primary activity that inspired this simple (but oh-so-fun) preschool activity is straightforward. Invite your preschooler to use the tongs or tweezers to sort the pom poms into the fruit and veggie sorting mats.
Using the tweezers was a little challenging for my boys. They are hard to “tweeze”, which is by design because it really works on strengthening their hands when they use their whole fist.
But you don’t even have to use tweezers, either. Using their fingers to pick up the pom-poms also helps develop their pincer grasp.
Using the tweezers takes coordination and strength.
Your preschooler or toddler might grasp the tweezers with their whole hand or even use bother hands. If either is the case, it’s because his fingers are not strong enough.
But no matter the grip on the tweezers, your preschooler will be strengthening his hands.
Talk to Your Preschoolers and Toddlers While Doing this Activity
The fine motor and color knowledge that comes with this activity is fine and all, but if you’re not talking to your preschooler about healthy food choices and about the fruits and veggies on the color sorting mats, well, you’re missing a HUGE opportunity!
Here are some things you might find yourself saying:
- I see you are adding red pom poms to the red mat. What foods are on the red mat?
- Can you name other foods that are also red? What is your favorite red food to eat?
- If I added a blueberry to the mat, would that fit with the red foods?
There are a thousand other questions to ask your preschoolers while they work on sorting their colors. It’s important to share with your preschoolers some of your healthy food choices, too.
The point is, the benefits come from lots of talking during healthy food and nutrition activities like this one.
And talking while playing and learning is one of the most effective ways to develop oral language skills. That’s why our Daily Lessons in Oral Language Curriculum is conversation based! With our curriculum, you get new oral language lesson plans to teach for every day of the week!
Oh, and as a side note, it is completely ok for a preschooler to respond to a question saying they don’t like a (or any) of the food pictures. Just follow up with another question asking what foods the do like and why.
Healthy Food and Nutrition Activities Using this Printable
One challenge of teaching preschoolers is that they come to you with such a wide range of skills. Here are some ideas of how you can use my fruit and veggie color sorting mats with various skill levels in your classroom.
- Provide older preschoolers with various color sorting manipulatives that may be more difficult to use with tweezers. Connecting cubes, for example, may be more difficult.
- Invite your preschoolers to match play food items to the sorting mats.
- Hang these fruit and veggie color sorting mats above the play kitchen in your dramatic play center.
- Or use these mats to introduce new colors and hang them on the bulletin board.
- Invite younger preschoolers to just explore using the tweezers or tongs. Don’t worry about the color sorting.
- Or, do just the opposite and eliminate the tweezers or tongs and just invite your younger preschooler to sort the pom poms by hand.
- Add a math component by rolling a die and inviting your preschooler to count sets of pom-poms onto the sorting mats.
Fruit and Vegetable Sorting Activities
Sorting activities offer an amazing avenue for introducing preschoolers to new concepts. Here are some more fun fruit and vegetable sorting activities for preschoolers.
- Fruit and Veggie Sensory Bin (includes free nomenclature cards)
- Food Themed Syllable Sorting
- Food Group Sorting Booklet
- Fruit and Veggies Spin and Match
- Healthy vs. Not Healthy Sort
Grab Your Fruit and Veggie Color Sorting Mats Here!
Whether you are homeschooling or teaching in a classroom setting, this color sorting activity is a perfect addition to any food and nutrition theme. So why not give it a try today and watch your child learn while having fun with fruits and vegetables!
You can grab your free printable in your inbox! Just tell us where to send it.
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.