Make a collage
Cut out food pictures from magazines and old books and use them to make a collage. Discuss each food as the child is cutting them out. Why not try making a rainbow of pictures by ordering the pictures into different colours?
Fruit and vegetable prints
Choose a selection of fruit and vegetables to make prints with. I find that celery, onions, mushrooms and apples work well. Before cutting, take the opportunity to discuss all about the fruit or vegetable. Slice in half and hand round to the children. Let the children put the fruit or vegetables in some paint and make prints. You can even use the celery stalks as paintbrushes!
Food smells game
Use foods with distinctive smells like coffee, lemon, onions, vanilla pods, cinnamon or vinegar. Put them into plastic containers with lids and pass each food around. Ask the children to smell it and describe what it smells like. They can guess what they think it is. Then you can have a discussion about what it is and where it comes from.
You can teach the children basic cooking skills from a very young age. You could try showing them how to mash a banana with a fork, grate cheese or use a jug to measure water. Learning to cook is a basic life skill. It can also teach children to enjoy their food and understand how it is made. Let children see you cook and prepare food.
Make pictures with food
Dried pasta, pulses, rice, seeds or dried herbs can be mixed with glue or paint to make pictures. When dry, this gives wonderful textures to explore. You could also do this without glue, so that the pictures and patterns can be re-arranged and then packed away to use another day
Set up a shop. This could be using real food or empty packets. There are so many opportunities here for maths and writing. Children can make the labels for the prices, make lists of what they need in the shop, then make lists for going shopping. Use real money in the shop. Ask for different amounts when you shop eg “2 apples please” so that a counting element is brought in.
You could also play at cooking-give your child pots, pans and tins. These can be added outside to mud and sand, indoors to the bath, or just on the carpet. It’s amazing what children will make with “fresh air”, and their imagination can run wild! Create different recipes together-ask them what is going into the soup or the pie and write it down, so that they can see you write. Again, ask for amounts to bring in a counting element.
Restaurants-let your child play at being a waiter or waitress, taking orders for what you would like to eat at meal times. You could create menus for everyone to choose from.
Play dough food
Make play dough then make different foods from it. You can even add different smells. Playdough is brilliant for strengthening hands and fingers. Making different shapes like bananas, pizzas, sandwiches, peas, uses lots of different skills.
The next time you go on a picnic let your child help to organise what you will need. Write a list with them for the food you need to buy, or the food which you are taking. If the weather stays unsettled have a carpet picnic in the house! In Nursery the children often make their own sandwiches for snack. Spreading and cutting are great skills to develop.
All you need, bread, milk, food colouring and a paintbrush
Get a piece of bread, even a stale piece, toast it for a few minutes so it goes hard! Mix up some food colouring in milk and paint away… what patterns can you make? Children love to paint, and this is such a fun creative way of painting.
Give your child an old plate and ask them to create a meal outside from natural resources. Sticks can become chips, leaves can become vegetables. Can they make a pizza? Their favourite meal from stones and pebbles? Collect interesting “ingredients” on a walk to add to recipes back at home.
Sensory food play
Lots of dried foods give children a great sensory experience. Give them old cereals, pasta, rice etc to play with. Flour and water make a great mixture, and they can experiment with adding different amounts (might be best outside as it can get a little messy…!)
Spot the Shape…
Draw some simple shapes on a piece of paper. You could make it an on going challenge. It’s a great way to use lots of different language, how many sides does it have? Is it a
big circle or little circle, what different shaped foods do you eat? When they find one you could take a picture and see how many they find over a week. Let us know what you found
Try something new
We would love to see you all trying something new….. what does it taste like? What does it look like? Smell like? Feel like? If you wanted to you could send a picture of it to us and we can put them on the website…. Mrs Groves will try….. avocado!!!!!
Can you make a superhero out of a potato?
Decorate a potato in anyway you like… it could be a superhero, an animal, a princess,
A car! What can you make?
Make a feely bag
Can you make a feely bag with different foods inside. Are you brave enough to put your hands in?
Talk about what you can feel is it hard, soft, fuzzy, scratchy?
We all love an iced biscuit! We very often in Nursery buy a packet of plain biscuits and some icing sugar… no baking… not too much mess…. Lots of fun for the children.