Food Teaching Theme

Food Teaching Theme

Summer is a great time to introduce a food teaching theme to your classroom.

Think of all the different kinds of fruit and veg there are out there at this time of year for the kids to taste and talk about!

Even in winter there's a whole load of food produce you can look at and try out with your kids.

This is also a great theme in which to start discussions about healthy eating AND keeping our teeth in good shape.

So, if you're looking for a topic to fill the summer months ahead please check out my food teaching theme page and ENJOY!

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Start with a story

I always try to start a new learning theme with a story.

Stories are one of the oldest forms of teaching. It was the way that information was passed down, way before we had books or white boards and its a sure way of captivating everyone's attention.

The story I chose for this food teaching theme was Oliver's Vegetables by Vivian French. It sparked off a discussion about the foods they liked and ones that they didn't. It also gave us the opportunity to talk about where vegetables come from. I remember a child once said to me that they thought that apples came from the supermarket not from a tree! In this story Oliver learns where chips come from!


Make an Imaginative Play Area for your Food Teaching Theme

What makes starting a topic such fun is bringing it to life with an exciting play area!

When wondering what to choose for your food teaching theme, think of your class of children and what they like doing.

If you have more boys than girls you might like to think of including a more active role for the boys such as driving the delivery van for the shop instead of being forced to take on the passive role of the being the shopkeeper.

Of course this is not always true and often the lads are quite happy to be a waiter or the dad in the kitchen doing the cooking for the family!

But whatever you choose to adapt your play area into make sure it's fun! While they are enjoying what they are doing they will be learning!

For this food teaching theme you could choose from the ideas below.

  • 1. A kitchen for the kids to pretend to prepare a meal for their family. They could make their own food out of play dough or clay. You could suggest they could wash up their dirty dishes afterwards and give them a small washing up bowl with suds in. Don't forget to add the tea cloth and a sponge to mop the floor afterwards! See more on home theme.
  • 2  A Restaurant with one or two tables set for dinner.They could have a menu which they dictated to you or if they are at the emergent writing stage they could have a go themselves. You might like to provide an apron with a pencil and notebook so they could write down what the diners would like to eat.
  • 3  A Shop   The children could decide what type of shop they would like to have and make some of the food for themselves again out of play dough or clay. If you can give them a till it will add another dimension to their play and include some maths. Another tick!
  • 4  A Garden Centre. The kids could grow their own plants to sell and perhaps even make a small growing area in the school grounds where they could grow some fruit and vegetables. They could sell them to their mums and dads and make some money for the school funds.
  • 5  A Picnic Area where you could provide a rug, a basket with plastic cups and plates and some picnic food either plastic if you have some in the class or you could have an on going activity every day when they make some food for the picnic. Sandwiches are easy to make and you never have trouble finding willing takers!
  • 6   A Dentist Surgery.  Set up a dentist chair with a table next to it with a small bowl and a few plastic cupsfor them to 'swill' into! You will also need a white coat for the dentist to wear [I've used an old white shirt of my husband!] and a mask to be authentic. The dentist's tools will obviously have to be safe for the kids to use . Something plastic or wooden and disposable if possible. A waiting room would be good with some magazines on a table! This food teaching theme play area has a few hygiene issues but none that can't be sorted!

Favourite Foods

This food teaching theme  activity can follow on from the reading of the storybook Oliver's Vegetables 

Food Teaching Theme - Favorite Foods

 Talk to the kids about their  favourite foods. When mum asks  them what they would like for their  tea, what do they say?

 Which is their favourite type of eating  place? 

Do they ever get take-aways and which is their favourite?You can give them a piece of  paper cut in the shape of a plate  and ask them to either draw their  favourite meal or they can make a  3D version.

To do this, put out different types of paper and junk materials for them to create their own favourite meal.You'll be surprised how imaginative they are!

One of my 6 year olds spent ages screwing up pieces of green tissue paper in order to make peas to go with his sausage and  chips!

I used this food teaching theme  to introduce some learning objectives. Not only did it allow them to unleash their creative side when making their favourite meal but it brought in some food vocabulary too. 


Healthy Eating

Following on from favourite foods you could go on to thinking about healthy foods as part of your food teaching theme.

Food Teaching Theme - Healthy Eating for Kids

Start by asking the kids why we need food?

We need food to grow. We need food to be active and we need food to stay healthy.

We also need a variety of different foods. Ask them to tell you some different types of food that they eat.There are 4 different types of food.

First there is fruit and vegetables. you can get them to name some of these and tell you which ones they like.

Then there is bread, potatoes and breakfast cereals. 

What do they think these foods help them to do?

The third type is dairy produce such as milk, cheese and yoghurt. Why do we need these do they think?

The last type of food is protein. Ask them why they think we need protein in our diet.

Then you could ask those children who have brought a packed lunch to school to show the class what they have got in it. [if they are willing!] and discuss what they think contributes to a healthy lunch box. 

Lastly, on a piece of paper cut out in the shape of a funky lunch box they could decide what they would put in it so that they had at least one of each of the 4 types of food.

As a plenary, allow them to tell the rest of the class what they had drawn and why.


Foreign Fruit! 

Food Teaching Theme - Handa's Surprise

Again I begin this part of the food teaching theme with a book!

The story Handa's Surprise, by Eileen Browne, introduces a host of fascinating fruit for you to talk about and taste with your class. It might also interest them enough to want to find out about a country far away from their own. Another teaching theme perhaps?

You can find the story told on-line or buy the book from Amazon.

I start by looking at the front cover of the book and asking the kids where they think the story is set.

Then we read the blurb at the end of the book and discuss what might have happened to the fruit in the story. 

I then read the story stopping every now and then to give them a chance to predict what happens next.

After reading the story we played the game 'I put in my basket ' which is a variation of 'I pack my bag'   We see if we can think of a fruit or vegetable for every letter of the alphabet. For older kids I would get them to try and remember all the fruit that have been put in before! A real challenge for some!

I then asked the kids to think what they would give as a surprise to someone they liked. Would they too give a basket of fruit or would they choose something else? 

More ideas to fit in with your food teaching theme?

Let the kids experience all the fruits that Handa had in her basket. You could use them at snack time.

Then make a pictogram of the fruit they enjoyed most. Did they have a clear favourite?


How food can keep our teeth healthy

Begin this part of your food teaching theme by asking 'Who likes going to the dentist?'

You'll probably get an overwhelming silence and lots of groans!

Explain the importance of keeping teeth healthy and stress how food plays an important part in this.

Food Teaching Theme - Healthy Teeth

Make a list with the kids of all the foods they think are bad for their teeth such as [groan!] sweets!

Then make a list of 'good foods' such as fruit.

They could then make a very simple Venn Diagram putting bad foods in one circle and good foods in the other circle and they may come across a small amount of foods that fit in the middle.

For younger kids 2 big cut out teeth would be good.One white and one black. Bad foods on the black tooth and good foods on the white one!

You could allow them to work as a group and cut pictures out of magazines to stick on their Venn diagram or cut out teeth.

Come together at the end of the session to compare results.

It's always good to invite a professional into the classroom to talk to the kids about how important it is that they look after their teeth. They usually bring with them a puppet or short film to make it more child friendly! I still remember a dentist telling me about Jimmy Germ who worked at night on our teeth unless we gave them a good old clean before we went to bed!

A great way of showing the kids what certain drinks do to our teeth is to put a hard boiled egg [a tooth!] into different drinks such as coke, milk, tea, orange juice or squash and coffee and watch what happens.

Ask the kids to predict what might happen when they take the egg [tooth] out of the liquid.

You could then give them a toothbrush and toothpaste and ask them to clean the eggs to see if they can remove the stain. Stress that is what could happen to their teeth if they were to drink a lot of coke! You might want to lead this into a topic about holes!


Fun Recipes Ideas for your Food Theme

Some great food teaching theme recipe ideas to do with your kids in the classroom.

Before starting to make anything explore the fruit and vegetables with the kids getting them to feel them smell them and taste them.

Food Teaching Theme - Easy Recipes

Ask them which one they liked the best and why. Then they can help with the peeling, cutting and coring of the fruit or vegetables This is a really good task for developing their motor control and giving them confidence in using a knife.

I haven't given specifics for the recipes because most of them we have all made before. But if you're not sure there is plenty of help on the web!!

 1 Fruit Salad

 2 Fruit Kebabs

 3 Pizzas

 4 Funny food faces

 5 Smoothies

 6 Vegetable Soup


Some more books to use for your food teaching theme

Here are a few more books you can include in your food teaching theme.

Most of them are available from Amazon.

1 The Enormous Turnip Traditional

2 Rah Rah Radishes by April Pulley Sayre

3 Stone Soup Folk Story

4 I love to eat Fruit and Vegetables  by Shelley Admont

5 Bread and Jam for Frances  by Russell  Hoban

6 The Very Hungry Caterpillar  by Eric Carle

7 If you give a Cat a Cupcake by Laura Numeroff

8 The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord

9 Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss

10 Eat your Peas by Kes Gray

11 Pass the Jam by Kaye Umansky

12 Little Nino's Pizzeria by Karen Barbour


Songs to go with your Food Theme

1 This is the way we brush our teeth

2 In my Bureau Drawer [ download song words on PDF ]

3 The dentist says please brush your teeth, Floss your teeth, eat good food.

4 Oranges and Lemons

5 Bananas in Pyjamas

6 5 Fat Sausages sizzling in a pan

7 Hot Cross Buns

8 I'm a little Teapot

9 In my Little Garden you promise you won't laugh [download song words on PDF]

10 Oats and Beans and Barley grow

Most of these songs you can find on ''YouTube' so you can get to know the tunes as well as the lyrics.

More story and song Ideas


A few more ideas for your food teaching theme.


1 Read Jack and the beanstalk and plant your own beans.

Have a race to see who can grow the tallest beanstalk. 

Get the kids to measure their beanstalk with both standard and non standard equipment.

2 Learn the nursery rhyme 'The Queen of Hearts she made some tarts.'

Make some jam tarts with ready roll pastry.

Count them and pretend you are the knave, take one tart away, how many have you got left?

Repeat taking 2 away.

3 Learn the rhyme Peas Porridge hot , Peas Porridge cold, Peas Porridge in the pot 9 days old. Some like it hot some like it cold, Some like it in the pot 9 days old!

Find out what Peas Porridge is. [Often called Peas pudding It is a stew made out of split peas, onions and stock. Often accompanies boiled bacon joint.]

Have a go at making some and let the kids have a taste!

4 Teach them the nursery rhyme Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard and try making your own last lines up. For example:

She went to the bakers to buy him some bread,

And when she came back he was playing with Ned!

For some more more ideas go to Nursery Rhyme Activities, Old Mother Hubbard.

5. Read  How to make an Apple Pie and See the world by Marjorie Priceman.

A delightful book which takes the readers around te world to collect ingredients for an apple pie. There's a simple recipe in there too!

Hope this food teaching theme has given a few fun ideas to try out with your class. Feel free to browse some more pages on my site. Happy teaching!

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