School aged care settings are a fantastic place to reinforce healthy eating messages. Children that are involved in enjoyable food-based activities are more likely to engage with healthy eating and develop healthy eating habits for a lifetime.
Below are some fun food activity ideas for your program.
As a craft activity, hold a ‘food week’. Have children decide on a theme for a mural (e.g. food that grows or food from around the world). Children can paint, draw, create food from paper or attach empty food cartons on a large piece of butcher’s paper. Display on the wall.
Set up various ‘food stations’ around a room where children can explore the dimensions of food using their senses. You could include tastings at each station. Or you could have a taste station, a smell station and a touch station. Use a blindfold and have children use their other senses to guess what certain foods are.
In groups, have children cut out a life-size body shape from paper (have a child lie on the paper and trace around them). Fill in the body shape with images from magazines or drawings that show what their body needs to be healthy (foods, activity, love).
Start a compost bin for scraps and wastes. Use it to cultivate a vegetable or herb garden for your program.
Make your own pots - cut the tops off clean empty milk cartons or plastic drink containers. The children can decorate these ‘pots’ as a craft activity and then use them for their pot planting.
Plant into pots - Get children to grow vegetables or herbs in their pots. Easy grow plants can include strawberries, herbs, small lettuces, rosemary or chives can be grown.
Select a variety of vegetables and cut into various shapes (e.g. rounds, sticks, wedges). Let children prepare snack faces on a piece of bread. Use a spread (try ricotta cheese) and let children stick on the bread to make a face. For example, cucumber sticks as a mouth, radish eyes with sultana pupils, alfalfa eyebrows and tomato wedge ears. The ‘funny face’ can then be eaten as a snack!
A colour rainbow
On a poster draw an outline of a rainbow. As children eat different coloured fruit and vegetables during the OSHC program, they get to colour in patches of the rainbow with that particular colour (for example, when they eat a carrot the student gets to colour in a patch of orange). Make your rainbow simple so that children can eat foods for the colours of your rainbow.
- Red: tomato, red apple, strawberries, red capsicum.
- Orange: carrot, orange, mandarin, pumpkin, sweet potato, apricot, peach.
- Yellow: squash, corn, lemon juice, banana, pineapple.
- Green: lettuce, cucumber, green beans, snow peas, green apple, zucchini, kiwi fruit
- Indigo/purple: plum, dark grapes, blueberries, red cabbage, beetroot, passionfruit
- Pink: watermelon
Get a small group of children (3 or 4) to volunteer to wear different mystery food cards on their heads. They then ask questions of other children in the group to find clues to guess the food item on the card. Food word cards or food picture cards can be used. Children can make a set of cards as a craft activity.
Hold a treasure hunt with a healthy food theme. Hide equal numbers of various fruits and vegetables or laminated pictures of the same. Divide the children into two teams – one team is the fruit team and the other team is the vegetable team. The team that collects the most fruit or vegetables wins the hunt.
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