When you think about the summer time, going to farms and farmers markets for fresh fruits and vegetables is a part of life in the United States. Many children are not familiar with all of the different options that exist because of the limited availability in grocery stores. Take some time before this lesson to ask children and families what their favorite fruits and vegetables are. Inquire if there are special ones that they search for because of their cultural ties.
Name that Fruit with Toys and Books
Introducing fruits and vegetables and the vocabulary associated with it can be fun and exciting if you use hands on learning. Ask around to see other people have plastic or wooden food. A lot of companies are producing amazing varieties of felt fruits and vegetables as well if you look around. Introduce the foods that you find with the objects that the children can feel. Share what they would be called in the other language they speak at home. In addition to this, head to the library to find books that are focused on this topic. Some examples are:
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons
- Eating a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
- Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert
Think about making flashcards with the fruits and vegetables on them to play a memory game for everyone to practice saying the items when they make a match.
Making Fruit and Veggie Faces
Artist Guiseppe Arcimboldo is the inspiration for the next idea. Share some of his drawings with them and let them know that they will be using fruits and vegetables that they learned about to draw their own face. Depending on the age level, you could have children draw all of the items within a face outline, or provide pictures of fruits and vegetables to cut and paste within. Do Art! has a wonderful example of a project on their blog that could be used. For younger children, consider using the iPad app called Cute Food. The app has a large selection of fruits and vegetables that they can use to create items on a plate. You can instruct them to make their face using the fruit and vegetable pieces within.
To tie in with speech and language, encourage them to model what they are creating. Ask them questions and have them talk about the sequencing of their project. Encourage them to use descriptions of the fruits and vegetables within their artwork.
Colorful and Edible Learning
Assuming there are no food allergies, making fruit rainbows is a fun activity that can be done at the end of the lessons. Buy skewers that will fit six pieces of fruit on them. You can select your own fruits for the rainbow, but the following are great and easy to purchase: red grapes (they look purple), blueberries, green grapes, pineapple, cantaloupe, and strawberries. Allow the kids to make their own rainbows. Chat through the steps and have them make a second one while talking through the process in front of everyone.