There are so many ways that we can help children to learn about food and nutrition. During the school holidays, it is a great opportunity to do some activities with food. Teaching children about their food such as how food is grown, where it comes from, exploring foods from different cultures or learning about new foods, helps children to be more confident with their food and even try something new. Here are some ideas you could try at home or in your early years setting:
Make fruit or vegetable people
Use whatever fruit or vegetables you have at home and let your child use their imagination to make whatever they want. They could make a superhero, pop star, monster, a relative or themselves. You can allow older children to use a non-sharp knife for cutting under close supervision. Don’t forget to eat the fruit and vegetables when you have finished.
Grow your own veg indoors
You could try growing herbs, radishes or cress indoors. Have a look at my blog on ideas for growing your own veg indoors with children for some ideas on how to get growing.
Teach your child to cook
You can teach children basic cooking skills from the age of about 18 months. Start off with very easy skills such as how to mash a banana with a fork or how to wash lettuce for a salad and then build up the skills until they are able to make a recipe themselves. Learning to cook is a life skill so it is vitally important that we teach children how to cook. Research has also shown that children are much more likely to eat food that they have prepared themselves.
Explore the food in your kitchen
Open up your cupboards and fridge and let your child explore what you have. Take off the lids from your herbs and spices and let your child smell them to learn about how different herbs and spices smell. If you have packets that are already open such as pasta or noodles, let your child handle the food so they can learn what it feels like.
I hope that this has given you some new ideas to try out with your child at home or in your early years setting. Exploring food at a young age will enable your child to become confident with food and encourage them to develop healthy eating habits which will last them a lifetime.