Set the Table – A Preschool Food Study

FoodThere’s something about November that just makes me hungry!  Perhaps it’s the time-honored tradition of gluttony, and maybe it’s the fond association with childhood memories of loved ones around a table……or just around a kitchen counter.  Food is not only essential for fueling our bodies, it is often a hallmark of culture and a centerpiece of celebration.  This month I’ll be posting activities supporting a food theme to be implemented with preschoolers.

Objectives! You didn’t think I would post something without telling you why, did you?  That would just go against everything I believe in!  So here’s the nitty gritty.  A food study provides plenty of opportunities for children to have cooking experiences, the benefits of which I have discussed here. They also learn about the origins of food, ie that lemonade comes from a lemon not a box, milk is produced by a cow, not a factory.  There are plenty of opportunities to talk about choosing a variety of foods, trying new foosd, and the importance of healthy foods for our bodies.  I also like to take the opportunity to talk about manners a bit and give them the chance to practice and pretend in a restaurant theme.  Here are some of the activities I’ll be posting, and then linking back to this post.

Cinnamon Spice Playdough (Sensory, Fine Motor)

Pizza Shop Dramatic Play (Social, Language)- Though other ideas might include another type of restaurant,  bread store, ice cream shop, or grocery store.

Favorite Foods –  Group Collage (Fine Motor, Sorting, Literacy)

Utensil Paint (Creative, Small Motor)

Food Prints (Creative, Small Motor)

Hot Plate Art (Science, Creative)

Cornmeal in the Sensory Table (Sensory, Small Motor)

Water Moving (Science, Small Motor, Sensory)

Goopy Goop (Creative, Sensory)

Gel Molds (Small Motor, Sensory)

Popcorn Table (Small Motor, Sensory)

Cookie Cutter Art here and here (Creative, Small Motor)

Not Just Blocks (Spatial Skills, Constructive Play, Block Area)

We’re Going to the Store (Music, Language)

Apples and Bananas (Music, Language, Snack)

The Little Red Hen and Bread Making (Language, Cooking, Procedural, Science)

Making Butter (Large Motor, Science)

Making Doughnuts (Sensory, Science, Cooking Experience)

Caramel Popcorn (Cooking, Science)

Five Ways to Serve Up a Pumpkin (Cooking, Science)

Fun Food Field Trips

Book Activities:

Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann   – Healthy Food Sort

Stone Soup – Making Stone Soup

Mmm, Cookies! by Robert Munsch – Playdough Cookies

Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman – Making Pink Lemonade/Whole Language

The Hungry Thing by Jan Slepian – Feed the Thing

Tea for Ruby by Sarah Ferguson (Yes, The Dutchess of York)

If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff – Syrup Painting

More Spaghetti I Say by Rita Golden Gelmen and Mort  Gerberg – String Paint

The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing  – Thanksgiving Project

Other Favorite Food Books (Language & Literacy)

As a note, I utilize these activities in this order with a large group for the progression of concepts:

Pinkalicious – Introduce Eating a Variety of Healthy Foods

Little Red Hen and Bread Making – Grains

Making Butter – Dairy and Protein- Food Sources that Come from Animals (I focus on dairy and eggs when talking about the process of getting the food from the source to the table, that’s easy for the kids to understand, but we also brainstorm other sources like chicken nuggets and tuna fish, just not in as much detail.)

Stone Soup – Fruits and Veggies

Tea for Ruby  – Good Table Manners

This is a very broad foods theme.  You may very likely want to springboard from this to create several more specific, in-depth themes, such as focusing just on fruits and vegetables, or just on breads, or just on grocery stores.  There are many food-related topics that would be great themes in and of themselves.  This broader food theme, may serve just as a jump-start for some of you!  I’m sure there will be more to come!

Top photo by Joel Terrell.



Filed under Unit Themes

9 responses to “Set the Table – A Preschool Food Study

  1. Joel Terrell

    Hey there, I shared your website on my facebook page. I think it’s wonderful stuff!

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