Saturday, March 28, 2009

Veggie Tales

This is a great "lesson plan" for identification, colors, and sensory exploration. This idea worked great for Bella at 19 months and kept her interested for approximately 15-20 minutes. I had to get a pot of soup going for dinner tonight at Sue's home. Rather than clean and chop veggies standing at the counter, which completely excludes a child's line of sight, we worked together at the table, using the time as an opportunity to identify and explore veggies.

1. Make sure to clean child's hand very well before allowing them to handle the veggies.
2. Allow for several minutes of self-directed exploration (expecting them to want to hold and explore all of the veggies with their hands).
3. As child selects a veggie, identify the veggie by name encouraging the child to repeat the name.
4. Encourage child to smell the veggie.
5. Identify item's color.
*Careful not to talk too much - you don't want to ruin the fun - they are doing a ton of learning on their own!
6. Ask child, "Where is the carrot?" and so on, responding favorably to correct identification, i.e. "Yes - you got it - that's the carrot. Provide assistance if necessary.
7. As you chop veggies, pass some to the child, who may want to taste. Thick celery and carrot sticks make great teething objects. Use your discretion for what might be a choking hazard for your tot.

Variations for older children. (The variations are really endless, but here are some ideas for older pre-schoolers).
Have them sort veggies by color.
Blindfold willing children and have them try to guess the item by using senses other than sight.
Veggie Fear Factor for older children who are willing to taste some extraordinary types of veggies.
Let children talk about the ways they like to eat certain veggies.
Dinner challenge. Brainstorm ideas of how to incorporate all the veggies into the next family meal (i.e. soup, ratatouille, breads, etc).
Slice veggies in half and have child stick in paint and make "veggie prints".
If you have your own garden, the learning is endless. (I hope to get some ideas from my hubby's family next week on what I can do on my townhouse patio)!

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