Choose My Plate is a program set forth by the United States Department of Agriculture, geared to improve healthy eating. It serves as a reference for those seeking to foster good health, and an active lifestyle. Its guidelines recognize the significance in creating a healthy “plate”, limiting the amount of foods with excessive sugar, fat, and salt, ingesting the recommended number of calories for one’s body type, and remaining physically active. Using pictures from magazines, your little one selected healthy foods to include on a collective “plate”. By doing so, they are learning to make healthy food choices. This was a collaborative effort, so your little one was encouraged to work within a group, problem solve with their peers, and share their ideas with one another.
Watermelons are large fruits that grow on a vine. Their large crinkled leaves thrive best in warm environments, and grow rampantly without too much attention. Using the pasta from our fine motor activity and contact paper, we created our very own watermelons! This activity provided several opportunities for your little ones’ cognitive growth. By arranging the pasta on the contact paper, they had to master space as they considered how the objects fit together. As they placed their pasta onto the paper, they were also encouraged to count. Once they finished their creation, their last task was to count the amount of noodles they placed onto their watermelon. This portion of the activity enabled them to understand measurement, a precursor to their mathematics education. By arranging the objects by color and quantity, they applied their understanding of patterns, and the relationships between two different colors.
Fruits (the watermelon, specifically) are a colorful addition to anyone’s palate. Because we are always striving to improve our fine motor and color recognition skills, the first few activities were devoted to these themes. Using red and green pasta, flower foam, blunted skewers, and our thinking minds, we practiced our lacing skills! Upon introducing this activity, your little one was encouraged to identify the various colors in their environment, applying their focus to red and green items specifically. Some suggested items included Christmas trees, apples, cherries, strawberries, grass, and many more! Your little one was then encouraged to place the skewers into the flower foam, and start sliding their pasta onto them! This activity not only targeted hand eye coordination, but accessed their ability to reason and perceive relationships between different objects.
The breads and grains food group is diverse, and includes a bountiful selection of breads, pastas, cereal, and rice! This group is even further delineated into groups of whole grains and refined grains. Introducing the diversity of this exciting food group and comparing various items helps your budding foodie to make healthy choices. Through observation and documentation (recording what they see), your child is learning to make associations and differentiate between how things look and taste. Using magnifying glasses, we initially compared six different grain items (oats, rice, bow tie pasta, spiral pasta, bread, and a cracker), discussed how they compared and contrasted (These are smooth. These are soft. These are curly.), and then recorded what we saw!
When young children are given clay, they are instinctively motivated to explore its responsive sensory qualities. As they poke it, squeeze it, and pound it, the clay responds. For a preschooler, this empowers them to continue experimenting! As they experiment, they recognize that their actions have consequences. Their curiosity continues to empower their learning experience, as they construct and reconstruct a variety of shapes and forms. Before we began this activity, we discussed how bread was made. With pictures and a simple story, your little one was introduced to each step of the process. They were then encouraged to bake their own bread! By doing this, they applied their understanding of a concept, and continued to develop their hand eye coordination and the small muscles in their hands.
Preschoolers are naturally curious, and are constantly noticing the patterns they encounter in their daily lives.
Fostering this skill is an important foundation for the future application of math skills, spatial reasoning, and critical thought.
Using pom poms, a simple diagram, and a muffin tin, your little one reconstructed a variety of patterns, continuing to hone their problem solving and fine motor skills.
We have been doing several activities with the letter B, and one of our favorite community helpers, the baker! Using Q-tips and bingo dauber worksheets, we practice placing points of color into each circle. This simple activity accessed several developmental domains. By holding the Q-tips, your little one continued to practice how they manipulate a writing utensil, an important precursor to writing. Q-tips are unique addition to this practice because they force your budding writer to focus on the fingers weakest in the formation of the tripod grasp. Your little one also continued to hone their fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, and their ability to concentrate and follow-through on a task!
Bagels are a traditional staple in a variety of cultures worldwide. They are among the most versatile food around, enjoyed in increasing popularity. Using pictures with numbered instructions, bagels, fruit, cream cheese, and plastic knives, your little baker created their very own snack! This activity incorporated several areas of development for your little one to enjoy. The numbered instructions fostered pre-reading skills, as each child followed the pictures from left to right. Manipulating the plastic knives to spread the cream cheese onto their bagels accessed self-help and fine motor skills, which are imperative for autonomy, confidence, and future writing endeavors. Lastly, following the instructions in order allowed your little one to understand sequencing (the order in which things happen) and strengthened their counting skills!
Wheat grows globally in bountiful supply. Because it can be harvested in winter and spring, it is utilized abundantly.
Using tractors, baby wheat plants, and shovels, your little farmer harvested their own wheat! They learned that these crops require constant care and upkeep.
Producing wheat is an intensive process, and your little one learned about the many technological advances that allow all of us to enjoy our bread, cereal, and pasta!
They were introduced to the words “swather” (to cut and bind wheat) and “combine” (a process in which trucks cut and loosen wheat from its stem). By harvesting their own crops, your little one was able to apply their understanding of new vocabulary and complicated concepts.