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Fabulous Fruits

Early Childhood Health Lesson

Objective:

Learn the importance of eating a variety of fruits every day.

We Can! Messages

Eat a variety of fruit daily.
Increase availability and accessibility of healthy foods in the home.
Limit the availability of high-fat, high-calorie/low nutrient foods in the home.

National Pre-K–2nd Grade Health Performance Standards

Identify that healthy behaviors impact personal health.

Adult Message

Eating a variety of fruits each day helps provide your body with essential nutrients, antioxidants, fiber, and water, and helps reduce the risk of developing certain diseases.

Developing Preschool Readiness Skills

Learn pre-math skills, such as: counting, sorting, categorizing, color, shape, and pattern recognition. Learn language skills by building a descriptive vocabulary.

Program Content

Themed lesson plans incorporating art, literacy, movement and music support a multi- disciplinary approach to teaching young children and adults.
Program Length: 70 minutes

Introduction/Discussion

Materials: Name stickers, markers
Welcome families with name stickers and “hello” song. Ask children and adults to name their favorite fruit and when they like to eat it. Ask children to describe their favorite fruit. Introduce descriptive vocabulary to help identify colors and textures, (i.e., bumpy, smooth, sweet, hard, and soft).

Discuss where fruit comes from, how fruit is natural, and grows on plants, trees or vines. Important to discuss the multiple benefits of fruits: not only is it very beneficial to the body, filled with many good nutrients, making people feel good and helping us grow, but it is also sweet and juicy, fun to eat, and is a GO food snack!

Visual References: Pictures of familiar and less common fruits, pictures of where different fruits grow, chart listing specific benefits of fruits (nutrients, vitamins, fiber, and water).

Key Teaching Messages

  • Eat two to four servings of fruit a day to help build healthy bodies and reduce the risk of developing certain diseases.
  • Fruit provides nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that benefit the body.
  • Fruits are nutrient-dense. (Nutrient-dense means foods rich in nutrients)
  • Fruit is a GO food.

Art Activity: Model Magic Fruit Baskets

Using model magic and watercolors, children and adults will create a healthy fruit basket. Children will explore texture, shapes, size, and colors. Laminated pictures of fruit, as well as fruit samples, will be available to help introduce new fruits and build vocabulary.

Materials: model magic, watercolors and large paintbrushes (or washable markers), large popsicle sticks, and small paper bags.

Set-up: Form balls of model magic (can be a little bigger than a golf ball). Place one ball of model magic and one watercolor tray at each seat. Use a small amount of water in water cups or take a sponge or paper towel and squeeze water onto the watercolors, making them easier to use. Place a paintbrush next to each watercolor tray. Use large paintbrushes for the younger children since they will be easier to hold. Have extra balls of model magic ready in case a child needs more.

When the children are done with their projects, place projects on top of a paper bag and write the child’s name on the bag. Children will be able to transport their creation home in the bag when it is time to leave.

Clean-up: Give children a 5 minute warning. Always let children know that you will be transitioning and ending the project soon. After the warning, sing a clean-up song to focus children and encourage participation in the clean-up process. One example: “Clean up, clean up, one, two, three. I’ll help you and you help me. Clean up, clean up, one, two, three. I’ll help you and you help me.”

Physical Activity: Movement/Music

Weekly Structure: Warm-up, Active Play Time, Movement/Music (song/activity), Cool-down.
Children should do at least 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity each day.

Warm-up:

Marching Movement Song
We’re marching, marching, marching
We’re marching in a circle
We’re marching, marching, marching until it’s time to stop!
We’re jumping, jumping, jumping
We’re jumping in a circle,
We’re jumping, jumping, jumping until it’s time to stop!
(add hopping, stomping, running, tiptoeing, etc.)

In and Out Circle Song
Let’s go in and in and in
And out and out and out
And in and in and in and in
And out and out and out!

Active Play Time:

Do 5 or 10 minutes of each exercise

  • Playing Tag
  • Hopscotch
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Jumping (one foot, together then apart, front to back)

Movement/Music: Fruit Dancing With Scarves

Children and adults will learn creative movements; to roll like apples and oranges, peel like bananas, hang like cherries, bunch like grapes. Children and adults will also learn The Banana Song.

Cool-down:

It is important for the body to cool down gradually.

  • Breathing–Place hands on belly or lower back. Inhale and fill the lungs. Feel the abdomen and ribs inflate. Exhale and empty the lungs. Feel the chest and abdomen relax.
  • Yoga Moves
    • Downward Dog–Have the children make a bridge with their bodies. From here you can kick one leg up at a time and start to stretch body long.
    • Tree Pose–Have the children balance on one leg, bending their other leg at a 90 degree angle, stretching their hands above their heads.
    • The Horse–Stand in place for 30 seconds with a wide stance and knees bent (like a halfway down squat position).

Group Storytime

Oliver’s Fruit Salad by Vivian French
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

Healthy Snack: Variety of Fresh Fruits And Water

Offer different types of fruits (i.e., oranges, blueberries, kiwis, strawberries, raspberries, etc.)

Using the chart of fruit benefits, tell families the benefits of the fruit they are eating. For example, strawberries are FULL of nutrients, like vitamin C, which helps heal cuts and wounds and keep teeth and gums healthy*. (*Information from www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/benefits/nutrient_guide.html)

Encourage children to wash hands with soap and warm water before eating snack. Hand Washing Strategy: Wash hands for 20 seconds to fight off all germs and then rinse well under running water. Sing the ABC Song while you wash.

Review Family Handout

Goal: Eat three fruit servings every day!
Bonus: Try one new fruit.
Facts of the Week: It can take 8–15 tries before a child will accept a new food. Eat new foods with your child to set an example of healthy eating habits.

At-Home Strategies:

  • Replace dessert with fruit.
  • Wash fruit before eating.
  • Add fruit to cereal, non-fat or low-fat yogurt, and whole grain toast.
  • Add banana or apple slices to peanut butter sandwiches.

Fruits Songs

The Banana Song
Grow banana, grow, grow banana (bring one arm at a time above your head)
Peel banana, peel, peel banana (bring one arm at a time down)
Go bananas, go, go bananas (jump up and down doing the mashed potato)
OR
Grow the apple, grow, grow the apple (standing straight)
Pick the apple, pick, pick the apple (hands above head picking apple off tree)
Eat the apple, eat, eat the apple (pretend you are eating the apple)

Lesson Visuals

  • Strawberry Plant
  • Five (5) pages of fruits with letters

Lesson: Fabulous Fruits

Early Childhood Health Lesson

Strawberry Plant

Fruit

Leaves

Stalk

Roots

A - Apples

B - Bananas

B - Blueberries

C - Cherries

F - Figs

K - Kiwi

L - Lemon

O - Orange

P - Pear

S - Strawberries

P - Pineapple

G - Grapes

W - Watermelon

P - Peach

Family Health Handout

Fabulous Fruits

Benefits of Fruit:

  1. GO food!
  2. Packed with vitamins and minerals.
  3. Low in fat and calories.
  4. Good source of fiber.
  5. Huge variety to choose from.
  6. Different colors provide different nutrients.

Farmers Market or Green Cart Shopping List

Try at least one new fruit this week.

Family Goal

Goal: Eat two to four fruits servings every day! Check if you reached your goal:

Monday

1.

2.

3.

Great Start!

Tuesday

1.

2.

3.

Good Job!

Wednesday

1.

2.

3.

Well Done!

Thursday

1.

2.

3.

Keep Going!

Friday

1.

2.

3.

Fantastic!

Saturday

1.

2.

3.

Way to go!

Sunday

1.

2.

3.

You did it!

Bonus:  Can you try one new fruit?  I tried ________.  I'd give it ______ stars out of 5, 5 being delicious.

Fact of the Week

Blueberries have more antioxidants than most other fruits and vegetables. (Antioxidants help protect your body’s cells from being damaged.)

Surprising Fact

Fruit that is fresh, frozen or canned in fruit juice are all GO foods.

Health Tip

Wash all fresh fruit before eating.

Strategy

Have fruit for dessert.

At-Home Tools

Fruit Books

Oliver’s Fruit Salad by Vivian French

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

New Fruit Words to Use

  1. Crunchy
  2. Juicy
  3. Sticky
  4. Sweet
  5. Smooth

Did you know…

As you cook and prepare food with your children, you are helping them learn to count, categorize and recognize colors
and shapes.

Fruit Activities

Create a Funny Fruit Face
Use a variety of fruits cut into shapes for mouth, nose, eyes, ears, and hair. Arrange on your plate. The best part is eating the face when you are done!

“I Spy” Colors
While shopping, try to spot the colors of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet).

Ants on a Log
Using celery sticks, fat-free or low-fat cream cheese and raisins, design what looks like ants crawling along a straight, crunchy log!

Recipes to Include Fruit

Breakfast
Cereal with fat-free or low-fat milk and blueberries

Lunch
Fat-free or low-fat cheese melted over apple slices, on whole grain toast

Afternoon Snack
Apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon

Dessert
Bowl of frozen cut grapes (red or green) Hint: cut before freezing!

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NIH Publication No. 13-7818
April 2013

Last Updated: November 8, 2013

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