Children’s Activities: Healthy Eating
As a child care and early education provider, you have a powerful opportunity to teach kids to appreciate wholesome foods by using creative children’s activities about healthy eating. Children can have fun while learning about nutrition—whether it’s about the food groups or how food is grown.
You can create opportunities for learning about healthy food in many ways besides cooking and eating: you can use games, crafts, songs and dance. For instance, instead of playing the classic game “Candyland”, make up a life-size “Veggieland” game board.
With a little patience, creativity and guidance, getting children to appreciate wholesome foods can be a delicious adventure.
- Curriculum Materials
Exploring Food Together is a toolkit (available in English and Spanish) of simple healthy eating activities to help children learn about new foods and start building the skills to make healthy food choices. All of the toolkit activities were designed to integrate with overall curriculum objectives in early childhood education settings.
Grow It, Try It, Like It! Nutrition Education Kit Featuring MyPlate is a garden-themed nutrition education kit which features fun activities through an imaginary garden at Tasty Acres Farm. It also has a CD-ROM and DVD with supplemental information. Each set of lessons contains: hands-on activities, planting activities, nutrition education and recipes to try at home.
Harvest for Healthy Kids gives you everything you need to inspire children with fresh food grown close to home. Download eight classroom activities about specific food developed by teachers and early education providers. Featured food includes: asparagus, beets, berries, cabbage, carrots, potatoes and sweet potatoes, winter root vegetables, and winter squash.
More Than Mud Pies (6th edition) provides both staff and children with enjoyable activities that encourage positive ideas about nutrition and foods. 54 lessons are built around the seasons of the year. Children will learn about growth, nutrition and preparation of foods.
Nourish Interactive is dedicated to supporting parents and caregivers by providing useful information to help educate children about the importance of good nutrition and exercise. Nourish Interactive characters such as Chef Solus are excited to share recipes, games and activities with kids. Children can also enjoy printables — puzzles, worksheets and learning sheets — which promote healthy living.
Sometime Anytime Foods: Providers can choose how to incorporate throughout their day: teaching, reminding and practicing identification of “sometime” and “anytime” foods.
Two Bite Club is an educational storybook (available in English and Spanish) developed to introduce MyPlate to young children. Read the book to children and encourage them to try foods from each food group by eating just two bites. Also contains a MyPlate coloring page, a blank certificate for the Two Bite Club, fun activity pages for kids, and Tips for Growing Healthy Eaters.
- Interactive Nutritional Games
Digital media can support children’s learning when the games are interactive. Interactive games are designed to simultaneously teach and entertain your kids. Although our goal is to reduce screen time, it is important for providers and families to understand which types of digital media sources are beneficial for a child’s cognitive development. Below is a list of interactive nutritional games your kids will enjoy.
KidsHealth Recipes for Groups (PDFs):
Lana’s Favorite Recipes: This cookbook is part of the Learning About Nutrition through Activities (LANA) Program. The goal of the LANA Program is to help young children learn to taste, eat and enjoy more fruits and vegetables in order to promote good health and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Mealtime Makeovers: Meals that have kid appeal can deliver the vitamins and minerals that growing bodies need. Here are some simple tips for trimming the fats from kids’ favorite foods.
Family Child Care Tip:
You can do family-style dining with mixed-age groups in your home. Have infants’ chairs placed around the table with the other children. Older children can model appropriate serving and eating behaviors. This builds confidence and a sense of responsibility.
“Go, Slow, or Whoa”
Try thinking about foods in terms of “Go, Slow, or Whoa!” The healthiest foods are “go” foods; they can be eaten anytime. Foods that are ok to eat sometimes are “slow” foods. Some unhealthy choices should make you stop, think and say, “Whoa! Should I eat that?”