Fruits and vegetables are abundant in the summer months in most of the country. Local crops can be found at farmers markets and many local grocery stores, but kids in many places are unfamiliar with different produce options because they only have limited availability in stores by them. Take time to use fruits and vegetables are a starting point for some summer time sessions and sessions at the beginning of the school year. Check in with families to ask about food allergies. Make sure to also ask them about any special fruits or vegetables which may have cultural significance.
Talk with students about the various fruits and vegetables that exist. Make a list of what they have tried in their lives. To introduce them to new and different produce share some stories. Some possibilities to read together include:
- Eating a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
- Veggie Wedgie, Fruity Tootie: A Kid’s Guide to Fruits and Veggies! by Allison Ria Duran
- The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons
- Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
To go along with the story, bring in some real fruit and vegetables for show and tell. If this is not possible, see what play or felt food may be in schools or libraries which you could use. Take time to involve multilingual learners and go over what each item would translate to in other languages. If there are no food allergies, make a fruit rainbow or another taste-testing activity. Buy skewers that will fit six or more pieces of fruit on each one, and then grab fruits in each of the rainbow colors. Strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, green grapes, blueberries, and red grapes are some possibilities for each color.
This activity works for a variety of therapy types and goals. Occupational therapy students can work on fine motor skills when they pinch the fruit and put them onto the skewers. Physical therapy students can act out The Very Hungry Caterpillar before they gobble up their own snack. Working on balance, crawling like a caterpillar, and flapping butterfly wings are all options. Speech and language pathologists can work with students by encouraging them to talk about their favorite fruits while they model making their fruit skewers. Social skills groups can work on team building by making an assembly line for the fruit snack.
If you are not able to arrange an edible activity, try crafting fruit and vegetable faces. This could be done by drawing different produce as parts of the face as a college. Another option for younger children would be to cut out photos of items to use and glue onto the paper. This is a great activity to work on scissor skills.