Eating plenty of different types of vegetables is important for health, and eating habits developed at an early age can track into later life. This means that the preschool years are an important time for children to explore and experience a wide variety of vegetables (and other food) to set them on the right course for a lifetime of enjoying a healthy and varied diet.
The following is a selection of fun activities that could be used to help encourage children to eat vegetables via their learning in a pre-school setting and/or at home.
Research undertaken by Reading University showed that looking at simple picture books of where vegetables come from, how they grow, are sold in shops, prepared and look when they are ready to eat, can help preschool children learn to like vegetables that they haven’t tried before or didn’t previously like. The psychology behind this is that seeing images of a food can make it feel more familiar and can help reduce the natural anxiety that many young children have about trying new food, meaning they may then accept different vegetables more readily. In addition to the suggestions below, you can access a range of 24 ebooks free of charge here: https://www.seeandeat.org/
Literacy and numeracy
- Vegetables A to Z cards – a set of 26 cards, each with a letter of the alphabet. These can be used in a variety of ways, from introducing new vegetables to children to teaching the alphabet!
- 4 times 5 veg – this activity shows five different vegetables on four cards. The cards can be used as a matching game; they could be hidden around a room for children to find one of each or all four.
- My favourite vegetable – children have to name and draw five different vegetables. They need have to tick each image each time they eat the vegetable. This helps to reinforce eating vegetables.
- The lonely sprout – children are asked to help the lonely sprout through drama and play!
- What’s the veg – the worksheets comprises five different vegetables. Children need to name each, and state how many there are of each type on the sheet. They can also colour each vegetable.
- Take inspiration from the Colourful present story! Use the story and focus on vegetables. There are lots of resources to support too!
The world around us
- Where we buy vegetables cards – a set of five cards showing different places vegetables can be purchased. A useful stimulus to start discussion or to make into a display.
- Grow your own veg – a starter’s guide to growing vegetables! There’s also additional support here. Why not grow potatoes? Use ‘The bucket garden’ story as a springboard to get growing!
- Vegetable journeys – follow the journey from farm to fork with carrots, potatoes and tomatoes. Why not create your own vegetable journey in class?
- Seasons – use this section of resources to introduce the seasons to children. Explore which vegetables are in season at different times of the year.
- If I were a vegetable – a fun activity where children imagine themselves as a vegetable! What type would they be and why? Children are tasked to draw the vegetable.
- Vegetable fortune teller (blank and complete) – children can make their own or use an example to discover their favourite vegetable! Get creative with pencils and pens! (Click here to see how.)
- Vegetable dot-to-dot – a selection of vegetable dot-to-dot, just print and use! There’s broccoli, carrot, onion, pepper, potato, pumpkin, raddish and tomato.
- If you want to prepare and make something with vegetables, take a look at our advice here. There are also lots of recipes to search here.
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