Food. Everyone loves it!
…Or used to love it at one point. Often, as we’re growing up, we’re told a lot about ‘what to eat’ – followed rather quickly by, ‘what not to eat.’ These two lists grow more complex and lengthy with every passing year.
Fortunately the innocence of children perseveres in this world of diet fads and scientists quietly retreating from the lipid hypothesis**. And teaching them a few simple rules about food will surely do more good than harm. Last Thursday led me to do just that.
The picture here depicts a game I played with my toddler group. During storytime, each child received one of these food products. We talked about each food a little bit. What we like, what we don’t. I gave a few examples of what I eat sometimes and what I eat always. They I called up the children to put their food on the board either in the “eat sometimes” column or the “eat always” column.
This activity was easy enough to prepare and execute, and if left a lot of room open for silly jokes. “Not quite right – although I bet everyone in here would like to eat a cupcake often,” etc… Parents always enjoy silly jokes. Storytime the kids love? …Great! Storytime the kids and parents love? … Super awesome great! The parents should enjoy the program too. Last I heard, these kids aren’t driving themselves to storytime.
Here are some other quick and easy activities I use for this theme.
After I introduce a new vegetable to the pot we sing this song. We talk about vegetable names, colors and I tell them my favorites (typically tubers). This song is sung over and over until the soup is done. Have the children make a stirring motion. If you have a favorite puppet you use, have them try the finished product.
The Soup Is Boiling Up
The soup is boiling up,
The soup is boiling up,
Stir slow around we go,
The soup is boiling up.
This apple tree song is pretty basic. A flannel board of a tree and five apples is a good visual, but you don’t have to have it. I put visual instructions after each phrase in parenthesis.
Way Up High In the Apple Tree.
Way up high in the apple tree, (point up high)
Five little apples smiled at me, (show five fingers and smile)
So I shook that tree as hard as I could, (act like you are shaking a tree)
Down came an apple…Mmm, it was good! (motion an apple falling to the ground, and rub you tummy)
**A small footnote book recommendation for a small book with small ideas but big execution – “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan. If you eat food, I can’t recommend this book enough. “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Clear, fresh and compelling writing, with a flair for balancing witticism and eye-opening facts. Other books I love by him (yes, I’ve read them all) are “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “The Botany of Desire.” Let us to begin to have our storytimes reflect not just fun and education, but also ourselves.