Kid Fit Food Group Game
By: Rebecca Cline
Summer is a perfect time to continue staying active and utilizing the warm outdoors to your advantage. It also provides a great opportunity to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables onto one’s plate as many families practice growing their own food. Combining nutrition and physical activity into a fun game may help create a conversation for children about healthy lifestyle habits. The sooner that one is introduced to good nutrition, wholesome eating, and plate design, the better the chances are for developing worthy lifelong habits.
This is an interactive game that allows children to practice their nutrition knowledge while participating in physical activity:
First, print out large pictures or gather food models of a variety of foods from the five food groups: fruit, vegetable, dairy, grains, and protein. Obtain four types of food within each food group. For instance, the fruit category could consist of strawberries, an apple, banana, and kiwi. Then the vegetable group might have broccoli, asparagus, bell peppers, and carrots. Foods selected for the grains, protein, and dairy groups should all be wholesome sources that will teach the children how to properly “color” their plate with healthy items.
After the foods are all gathered, it’s time to create the die. Construct two small cubes (two to three inches for each side) out of cardboard and tape or simply fold a piece of paper into a cube. On one cube, write action words on each side of the die. Examples may be of the following: hop, scoot, clap, skip, crawl, wiggle, push, slide, freestyle, or any new actions that include everyone. On the other one, write a food group plus the word, “FAVORITE!” on each side.
(Variation: Use real dice and list actions one through six on a piece of paper along with the food groups and “FAVORITE!” in another list. Whatever number the dice land on is the action and food group that have to be completed).
Once the foods and dice are all ready, it is time to set up the play area. If playing outside, create boundaries to form a rectangular shape for the game area. Randomly scatter the food groups around the ground. The further they are spread apart, the more movement that will be incorporated into the activity.
After the designated area is set up, it is time to start the game! Roll the dice. Whatever the dice lands on is the food group and action the participants have to combine. For instance, if the dice land on “FRUIT” and “WIGGLE,” the children must wiggle to any of the fruits on the ground. If one of the die lands on “FAVORITE,” the child will do the action word towards his or her favorite food that is available during the game. Two players cannot be on the same food unless there are more players than foods in the designated food group.
Another nutrition game worth checking out has been designed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC’s free app, Dining Decisions can be downloaded onto a tablet or smartphone and played as an interactive and educational game. This is a great game, especially on rainy days inside or car rides, where children can practice making healthy food choices in any environment.