Recently my charge has become interested in where the food that is in front of him has come from. When I give his sister her milk he always tells me that milk comes from cows. It is now that he questions the whereabouts of most foods and when he replied with ‘rabbits’ when I asked him where he thought carrots came from that I decided to create a tailored activity to broaden his knowledge on this and act on an interest of his.
This activity can adopt many different paths, ideas and gives many options, this is just what I did for my charge. I drew, laminated and cut out a tree, bush, and patch of ground along with a series of fruits and vegetables. The aim of this was for my charge to match the fruit or vegetable with the correct place of growth, for example a cauliflower grows in the ground, a raspberry on a bush and an apple on a tree. This part is easily interchangeable, extend and focus around your child, with foods that they like and foods that you would like them to try.
The first thing I did to extend this activity was to go to a supermarket with a list of specific items known and unknown to my charge in name and their origin. He had to find the items on the list for us to buy. When we returned home we discussed and put into tree/bush/ground/animal categories. We had some very good, some hilarious guesses at what food came from which animal, all part of the learning process though!
The next extension I started with my charge was to grow your own vegetables. Even if you start off with something as simple as cress it still shows where a food comes from. Depending on your house enivironment will of course depend on your choice of vegetables to grow. We were never going to able to grow our own cauliflowers! Runner beans and strawberry plants are a good one to grow. However, it will obviously depend on what season you are in at the time.
Which leads into another extension of this topic as seasons. You can gather pictures to discuss what grows in which seasons (even going as far as creating a Venn diagram with older children) and find out why some fruits and vegetables grow better in sunny weather like berries or some prefer cool dark places to grow such as potatoes. If there is a particular food your little one likes then it could be worth planning to grow it when the correct season came up. We were looking at this activity in the autumn so our activities and conversation evolved around a lot of root vegetables.
Have fun with this activity and topic, go in whatever direction your child wishes to take and let them learn about the world around them. It covers so many, science, geography, maths and literacy topics that this subject is great for all ages of children. Have fun exploring!!