Eating Parts of a Plant

Getting your kids to eat their vegetables can often be a chore.  Sometimes presenting it in a fun activity can make it more inviting.  Sometimes not.  Either way, this is an easy way to show children the connection between plants that they see and the vegetables that we eat.  No prep required and no weird ingredients to purchase.  You probably have these at home!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Baby Carrots (I steamed them for the tiniest tots in my class)
  • Broccoli Florets
  • Celery (Cut thin for the little ones)
  • Sunflower seeds (I’ve used both shelled and unshelled)
  • Fresh Spinach (or other leafy green)
  • Tomatoes (I used halved grape tomatoes because they are sweeter)
  • Plate
  • Dip (optional)IMG_7278

I cut up the vegetables and steamed the broccoli and baby carrots.  Since I have many 2 year olds in my classes, I wanted to make sure the veggies were soft and safe for them to chew.  I sliced the celery thin since the youngest ones still struggle with the fibers.

I used shelled sunflower seeds the first time I did this. The second time I used the ones in the shells and showed the tots the outside of the seed.  Then we broke them open and investigated the edible seed inside.

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I arranged the sample of vegetables on a plate and invited the tots to taste them on a plate.

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The children were invited to taste the real plant parts and then guess whether they were flowers, leaves, stems, seeds, fruit or roots.  We talked about the fibrous and strong celery stem and how juicy and watery it was inside. We also investigated the seeds inside of the tomatoes.  We broke open the shells of the sunflower seeds and tasted the seed inside.

I also had a pile of paper cutouts of the plant parts for the older tots.

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They could glue the real or paper versions on their worksheets.

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Extension:

This activity goes well with my Flower Sorting Discovery Tray.  I had the tots first sort through the parts of the flowers, showing them the roots, stems, leaves, flowers and pollen.  Then we connected it to this activity of plant parts we can eat.

The Science behind the Activity:

Children get excited about food when they take an active role in either preparing food, selecting food or interacting with food.  By comparing vegetables to parts of a plant, it piques a child’s interest in the food, thus making them more likely to try it.  Maybe.  (A mom can hope, right?)  This activity also links parts of plants to what we eat.  Eating plant leaves or plant stems or flowers seems so much more fun than eating broccoli or celery or spinach.

To see where I got this simple but fantastic idea from, please visit:  http://www.mpmschoolsupplies.com/ideas/3112/spring-plant-unit-eating-the-parts-of-a-plant/

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