Activities for toddlers and babies
Set a basket filled with plastic vegetables on the floor and let children explore its contents as they arrive in the morning. They will enjoy manipulating the vegetables. Use adhesive paper to stick pictures of vegetables on the table where children eat their lunch. Have fun looking at the pictures with the children in your group as they eat.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
Here is a great way to encourage children to eat vegetables: prepare a miniature buffet. Arrange tiny pieces of cut vegetables in the various sections of an ice cube tray. Each section can contain a different type of vegetable. Be sure to select vegetables of different colors to make your miniature buffet attractive for children. Here are a few ideas: carrot cubes, green peas, short celery sticks, etc. Serve vegetables toddlers have eaten before and avoid freezing them.
When planning your weekly menu, try to highlight vegetables as much as possible. Include things like a veggie platter with dip, individual veggie pizzas on Naan bread, colourful salads, etc. With the children in your group, name the vegetables at each meal.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look)
Veggie picture book
Print a variety of vegetable pictures and illustrations or cut vegetables out of grocery store flyers. Use them to create a unique veggie picture book children will love to look at over and over again.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (touch and taste)
One food item, many textures
Pick a vegetable and present it many different ways to create a variety of textures. For example, you can cut a carrot into cubes, sticks, or rounds as well as offer grated or puréed carrots. Arrange the carrots in a plate and let children explore and discover the different textures.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Cut out printed vegetable pictures or pictures of vegetables found in grocery store flyers. Give each child a paper plate and encourage them to glue vegetables in it. Use a hole-punch to make a small hole in each child's plate. Thread a piece of string through the hole in each plate and hang them from the ceiling to decorate your daycare during the theme.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Mom's vegetable soup
A mother's vegetable soup is always so comforting. Ask mothers to share their favorite recipe for vegetable soup with you. Use the recipes to prepare soup for lunch each day. As you prepare the different soups, give children pots and large spoons. Encourage them to stir their imaginary soup.
Add plastic vegetables, tiny shovels, buckets, and watering cans to your sandbox (or a bin filled with dirt or dry cereal). Show children how they can dig out the vegetables, plant them, and water them. Provide gardening gloves too. Older toddlers will enjoy wearing them to make the activity seem even more real.
The human body
Associate plastic vegetables with different body parts to help children develop their creativity and body awareness. Just for fun, hold a tomato in front of your nose, cucumber slices in front of your ears, a pepper slice in front of your mouth, etc. Name different body parts and vegetables throughout this activity.
Visit a local farm or a neighbour's garden with your group to show children how vegetables grow. Plant beans with the children in your group and observe them as they grow. Beans are great for growing with young children since they will see results very quickly.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
My vegetable basket
Deposit several plastic vegetables throughout your daycare or yard. If you prefer, use laminated pictures (see educatall club). Set a large basket on the floor or give each child a small basket. Encourage children to find the vegetables and set them in the basket(s). Babies and toddlers will have fun filling and emptying the basket(s) over and over again.
Mr. Potato Head
Give children the opportunity to play with your Mr. Potato Head to help them work on their fine motor skills. For a different experience, you can have children press the accessories that go with your Mr. Potato Head in modeling dough.
Use vegetables to practice naming different parts of the face. Print several face outlines (see educatall club). Cut them out and glue them on paper plates. Have fun using cut vegetables to complete the faces: cucumber slices for the eyes, a pepper slice for the mouth, grated carrots for hair, etc.
Early childhood educator
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