There’s something about November that just makes me hungry! Perhaps it’s the time-honored tradition of gluttony, and maybe it’s the fond association with childhood memories of loved ones around a table……or just around a kitchen counter. Food is not only essential for fueling our bodies, it is often a hallmark of culture and a centerpiece of celebration. This month I’ll be posting activities supporting a food theme to be implemented with preschoolers.
Objectives! You didn’t think I would post something without telling you why, did you? That would just go against everything I believe in! So here’s the nitty gritty. A food study provides plenty of opportunities for children to have cooking experiences, the benefits of which I have discussed here. They also learn about the origins of food, ie that lemonade comes from a lemon not a box, milk is produced by a cow, not a factory. There are plenty of opportunities to talk about choosing a variety of foods, trying new foosd, and the importance of healthy foods for our bodies. I also like to take the opportunity to talk about manners a bit and give them the chance to practice and pretend in a restaurant theme. Here are some of the activities I’ll be posting, and then linking back to this post.
Cinnamon Spice Playdough (Sensory, Fine Motor)
Pizza Shop Dramatic Play (Social, Language)- Though other ideas might include another type of restaurant, bread store, ice cream shop, or grocery store.
Favorite Foods – Group Collage (Fine Motor, Sorting, Literacy)
Utensil Paint (Creative, Small Motor)
Food Prints (Creative, Small Motor)
Hot Plate Art (Science, Creative)
Cornmeal in the Sensory Table (Sensory, Small Motor)
Water Moving (Science, Small Motor, Sensory)
Goopy Goop (Creative, Sensory)
Gel Molds (Small Motor, Sensory)
Popcorn Table (Small Motor, Sensory)
Not Just Blocks (Spatial Skills, Constructive Play, Block Area)
We’re Going to the Store (Music, Language)
Apples and Bananas (Music, Language, Snack)
The Little Red Hen and Bread Making (Language, Cooking, Procedural, Science)
Making Butter (Large Motor, Science)
Making Doughnuts (Sensory, Science, Cooking Experience)
Caramel Popcorn (Cooking, Science)
Five Ways to Serve Up a Pumpkin (Cooking, Science)
Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann – Healthy Food Sort
Stone Soup – Making Stone Soup
Mmm, Cookies! by Robert Munsch – Playdough Cookies
Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman – Making Pink Lemonade/Whole Language
The Hungry Thing by Jan Slepian – Feed the Thing
Tea for Ruby by Sarah Ferguson (Yes, The Dutchess of York)
If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff – Syrup Painting
More Spaghetti I Say by Rita Golden Gelmen and Mort Gerberg – String Paint
The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing – Thanksgiving Project
Other Favorite Food Books (Language & Literacy)
As a note, I utilize these activities in this order with a large group for the progression of concepts:
Pinkalicious – Introduce Eating a Variety of Healthy Foods
Little Red Hen and Bread Making – Grains
Making Butter – Dairy and Protein- Food Sources that Come from Animals (I focus on dairy and eggs when talking about the process of getting the food from the source to the table, that’s easy for the kids to understand, but we also brainstorm other sources like chicken nuggets and tuna fish, just not in as much detail.)
Stone Soup – Fruits and Veggies
Tea for Ruby – Good Table Manners
This is a very broad foods theme. You may very likely want to springboard from this to create several more specific, in-depth themes, such as focusing just on fruits and vegetables, or just on breads, or just on grocery stores. There are many food-related topics that would be great themes in and of themselves. This broader food theme, may serve just as a jump-start for some of you! I’m sure there will be more to come!
Top photo by Joel Terrell.