The Forest Feast is a whole foods storybook. The characters, Try Rannosaurus® and Betty Baby BitesTM, love to eat whole foods, especially veggies. Naturally, reading the story again and again will reinforce this concept.
Your child doesn’t have to be a “picky eater” to benefit from The Forest Feast. Children are constantly bombarded with messages about junk foods. Advertisers target children with commercials for sugary breakfast foods, fast foods, and candy. Today, all children need positive reinforcement that whole foods are yummy.
The concepts in The Forest Feast are enhanced when you incorporate the story with fun activities. If you are a primary school or preschool teacher these activities are easily incorporated into a classroom experience. The most effective multi-sensory experiences for children will be with real food and parents have the edge over teachers on having their children help with cooking.
While reading the story, encourage your children to say with Try Rannosaurus® “Green food is yummy!” Auditory learning is vital. When children think and say positive words about veggies, they’re beginning the journey to healthy eating.
Be sure to discuss the food you’re highlighting when involved in one of the food activities below: its texture, its aroma, its taste, its goodness and how it helps the body.
Aiden says “Green food is yummy,” like Try Rannosaurus®.
First, read The Forest Feast to your children, then pick an activity:
1) Food on a Plate
Provide pictures of whole foods from supermarket circulars and magazine photos. Have the children glue them to a paper plate. If children are older than 4, they may cut out the photos themselves using safety scissors.
2) Healthy Food or Junk Food?
Give your children paper plates or a piece of construction paper with a line drawn down the middle with a marker. Write HEALTHY on one side and JUNKY on the other side. Cut out pictures of junk foods like donuts, cookies, and potato chips, and pictures of whole foods, like vegetables and whole grains from newspapers and magazines. Have your kids glue their photos to t he appropriate side of the plate.
3) A is for Apple… V is for Veggie
Provide your children pictures of whole foods and show them how to write the appropriate letter of the alphabet which corresponds to the food. I’ve offered (below) other whole food words for the letters which do not match to a fruit or veggie. You’ll want to be sure that there are more veggies in your list than fruit. The challenge for more children is eating vegetables, not fruit. Ask the children, “Would Try Rannosaurus® would eat this?” and “Why?” Which veggies would be his favorite? Green veggies, of course. Discuss the textures, tastes, and how yummy each veggie or fruit smells.
Fruit: apple, banana, cherry, fig, grapes, kiwi, lemon, mango, nectarine, orange, pear, strawberry and watermelon.
Vegetables: asparagus, broccoli, carrot, dandelion (yes this is edible), eggplant, horseradish, kale, lettuce, mushroom, okra, peas, radish, spinach, turnips, watercress, yams and zucchini.
Other Whole Food Words for the Alphabet: eggs, julienne (to cut in thin strips), honey, vegetable, quinoa (a seed, not a grain, often eaten as a breakfast) and unleavened (without yeast or baking powder)
4) What Food is This?
After reading The Forest Feast to your children, have them guess the food in a picnic basket or cloth shopping bag. Prepare laminated pictures of whole foods or use plastic play food. Of course real fruit and veggies is best. Say “In my picnic basket/shopping bag I have some fruit. It is a red and it’s a berry. What kind of food is it?” Give the children a moment to guess, then take the item from the basket and show them a strawberry. Discuss the textures, tastes, and how yummy each food smells as you pass around the produce.
Another method for this activity is to blindfold a child (or have them close their eyes). Then place have them put their hands in the grocery bag or picnic basket. Have them describe what they are feeling and then guess what it is.
5) Genesis Connection
In discussions about whole foods and the forest animals, read Genesis 1, especially verses 11 and 12 (God created the vegetation) and 24 (God created the animals). Talk about how vegetation was designed to keep our bodies strong and healthy. For additional discussion about dinosaurs read Job 40:15-21. What is a Behemoth? He eats grass. He is very strong like bronze and iron. He is extremely big and his tail is as large as a tree. What animal does that sound like? Click Here for more information on dinosaurs in the Bible.
6) Veggie Dip
Prepare Julienne strips of veggies (carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) with either a hummus or avocado dip. Ask the children if Try Rannosaurus® would eat this. Why? Which veggies would be his favorite? Give each child a small paper plate with each of the veggies and a dollop of dip. Discuss the textures, tastes, and how yummy each veggie smells.
7) Fruit and Vegetable Prints
Paint or ink (to make tempera paint thicker and stickier add a touch of flour or glue).
An old cookie tray or Styrofoam tray.
Water and water containers.
Paper and a covered work area.
Fruits and veggies of all kinds: carrots, starfruit, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, avocados, and apples.
1) Cut the fruit and veggies (an adult should do this).
2) Dip them into paint or printing ink and stamp them onto paper in random or ordered patterns. Kinder artists may instead apply the paint or ink directly to the vegetables with a paintbrush. It’s a good idea to put the paint on a sponge so that when an object is dipped into the paint, the sponge will only let off a little bit of paint… a little is all you need.
CLICK HERE for ordering information for The Forest Feast.