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Encouraging Families to Learn About Food at Home

As an early years setting you have lots of opportunities for children to learn about and explore different foods.

You can support  children’s specific learning areas in line with  the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework . For example, their ‘Understanding of the world’, through  activities such as growing strawberries, teaching children where different foods come from or about growing cycles.

To further support children’s learning, you can support families to continue to learning about food at home.

Below are some ideas for encouraging children and their families to learn about food together at home:

Drawing fruit and vegetables

Activity: Encourage families to draw a new fruit or vegetable and write down one interesting fact about the food. For example, families could draw a carrot and discuss  how these vegetables grow in soil under ground.

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Learning linked to EYFS:

  • Physical development – Drawing fruits and vegetables is a chance for children to improve fine and gross motor skills
  • Understand the world –  learn where food comes from or how it grows
  • Literacy- develop their literacy by describing what they have drawn
  • Expressive arts and design- alert children to new shapes and colours.

Food detective activity in the local supermarket

Activity:  Why not set the whole family a home learning activity around finding a healthy breakfast option in their local supermarket. Encourage families to use their detective skills to find a healthy breakfast swap. This may include swapping sugary cereal for porridge, plain shredded wheat, or plain wheat bisks cereals and topping them with their favourite fruit for their weekend breakfast. You could guide children and families during the activity by offering healthy breakfast swaps ideas using Change4Life Sugar Smart app.

Learning linked to EYFS:

  • Physical development- walking to and from the shops, picking up foods and carrying them
  • Personal, social and emotional development- swapping their sugary breakfast option for a new food, learning to overcome dislikes for certain foods.

Growing Activity

Activity: There are lots of things you can grow with children- from fruits and vegetables to herbs. A simple growing activity to start with is cress. Ask families to record when they water the cress and make notes on how it changes as it grows.

The only equipment required is something to plant the seeds in e.g. an empty milk container or yogurt. Cress is easily grown on a window ledge.

Learning linked to EYFS:

  • Understand the world- teaches children about gardening and how to look after plants, life cycles and how plants grow.
  • Communication and language- develops children’s language by encouraging them to record changes they see to plants.

Cooking at home

Activity: Consider sharing healthy, fun and creative recipes with families as part of home learning and challenge them to cook and eat together. Make sure you share recipes which are in-line with the Eat Better Start Better guidelines. Check out our Eat in with Early Start recipes on YouTube and recipes from the First Steps Nutrition Trust.

Learning linked to EYFS:

  • Personal, social and emotional- teach children to learn to work with others and boost self esteem.
  •  Mathematics- counting out spoons of ingredients or learning to weight out ingredients.

Using activities to communicate healthy eating messages to children

Early years settings should support children to understand the importance of healthy eating. One of the key ways for children to achieve this is teaching them what foods do for their bodies and which foods they should eat more or less of.

Want to give your staff the knowledge and confidence to deliver cooking session to the children in your setting? Book our Cooking and Learning about Food online training now!

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