Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Montessori-Inspired Eat-a-Rainbow Activities Using Free Printables

By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now 

I love promoting healthy eating, and I'm excited about the printables and activities I have for you today!  An eat-a-rainbow unit is a great way to encourage kids to eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables each day. 

Here I'm sharing lots of ideas for eat-a-rainbow activities using free printables. At Living Montessori Now, I have a long list of free eat-a-rainbow printables, including my monthly subscriber freebie pack! 

You'll find many activities for preschoolers through first graders throughout the year along with presentation ideas in my previous posts at PreK + K Sharing. You'll also find ideas for using free printables to create activity trays here: How to Use Printables to Create Montessori-Inspired Activities

At Living Montessori Now, I have a post with resource links of Free Printables for Montessori Homeschools and Preschools

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 

Shelves with Eat-a-Rainbow-Themed Activities 

Montessori Shelves with an Eat-a-Rainbow Theme    
My shelves include materials from my Montessori-inspired eat-a-rainbow numbers and letters (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

You could also include a free hand-painted printable lettuce culture card  and free hand-painted printable orange culture card designed by The Montessori Company. Because my shelf space is limited, I like to display the cards vertically where I can rotate one of the books on display. 

The books on my shelves are Rainbow Foods: Exploring Fruits and Vegetables by Color by Kathy Mansfield and Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert. 

You could mix your eat-a-rainbow-themed activities among your shelves according to curriculum area. Or you could have a special eat-a-rainbow area something like the one pictured. This has a mixture of skill levels. If you’re a homeschooler, just choose the activities that work for your child’s interests and ability levels. If you don’t have room for all the activities you’d like to do, just rotate them. 

Lettuce and Orange Culture Cards 

I have two lovely hand-painted culture cards from The Montessori Company. One is a painting of lettuce, and the other is a painting of an orange. I’m hosting the free printables as an instant download at Living Montessori Now. You can always access the free lettuce culture card here and the free orange culture card hereThe lettuce description says: “Lettuce comes in many different varieties and is used most often for its leaves. It grows quickly and is used in salads and other meals.” The orange description says: "An orange is a citrus fruit that can be sweet or sour. Oranges grow on trees in warmer climates and might be used to make your morning juice!" 

Fruit Memory Game Fruit Memory Game Free Printable: Fruit Memory and Match Up Cards from 1+1+1=1 

For this activity, I simply used a Montessori Services basket, the fruit cards with words, and the fruit cards without words. I chose the 8 most colorful fruits to use as a simple memory game. 

Fruit Number Puzzle  (or Vegetable Skip Counting Puzzles) Fruit Number Puzzle Free Printable: Fruit Number Sequence Puzzle from Montessori By Mom; See ideas for using the puzzle for babies through kindergarteners at Living Montessori Now

Free Printables for Older Kids: Vegetable Skip Counting Puzzles from Liz's Early Learning Spot 

For this activity, I used a basket I had and the printable. This is super easy to prepare. Just choose a puzzle that's appropriate for your child's skill level. 

/f/ for Food Puzzle Rainbow Food PuzzleFree Printable: Food Puzzle (Movable Alphabet Letter)  (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

This activity just took a few minutes to prepare. I used a Montessori Services clear acrylic tray along with a small tabletop easel and separate container for the puzzle pieces. To make the work a bit easier, copy the page twice and have one copy (not cut apart) on the tray or on a stand. 

If you'd like ideas for teaching phonics, check out my DIY Beginning Montessori Phonics post. 

What Am I? Fruits and Veggies Game What Am I Fruits and Veggies Activity Free Printable: What Am I? Fruits and Veggies Activity from Early Learning with Marta, Eaton, and Nathaniel (Note: I used the editable riddles so that I could change "peal" to "peel.") 

For this activity, I just used a Montessori Services basket and the pieces from the printable cut apart. 

This is a fun introduction to riddles! You can have the pictures laid out across the top of the rug and add the riddle below the picture once your child discovers the answer. 

Letter F Object Basket 

Free Printables: Fruit Letters for Letter F Object Basket y (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

I used Beanie Babies and small objects I had that started with the/f/ sound. Again, If you'd like ideas for teaching phonics, check out my DIY Beginning Montessori Phonics post.

Rainbow Salt Writing Tray Rainbow Writing Tray with Fonts for f Free Printables: Fruit Letter F Rainbow Writing Tray (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

Free Printable: Rainbow Stripes from Open Clip Art (This is actually a printable of the rainbow flag. I simply downloaded the PDF, printed it out at 96%, and cut the edges to the size of my box. You can always use strips of colored  paper if you don't want to use the printable. I had first seen a rainbow salt tray on Learning 4 Kids, and you can find directions for a paper strip tray there.)

For the tray, I used the wooden tray from the Melissa & Doug Lace and Trace Shapes. You can use whatever tray or container work best for you, though.

Fruit and Vegetable Beginning Sound Clip Cards 
Fruit and Vegetable Beginning Sound Clip Cards  

Free Printable: Beginning Letter Printables from Fruit and Vegetable Montessori Printables at Welcome to Mommyhood 

For this activity, I used a Montessori Services basket, the printable, and some small colored clothespins

I like to place a colored dot on the back of the correct letter as a control of error (self-correcting feature). 

Eat the Rainbow Practical Life and Sorting Activity Eat the Rainbow Practical Life and Sorting Activity Free Printable: Eat the Rainbow Printable from Growing Up Gabel 

Free Printable: Sorting Fruits and Vegetables from Powerful Mothering 

For this activity, I used a multicraft tray, the printables, 5 different colors of fruits from Learning Resources Super Sorting Pie, containers for the pieces (I used 2 Bambu condiment cups), and toast tong (or whatever tool you prefer) for the fruit transfer. You could use any small fruits or vegetables. I just wanted to be sure I had red, orange, yellow, green, and blue/purple for the rainbow effect.

This was a fairly long process, but my 3-year-old granddaughter, Zoey, loved it. First she transferred the fruits to each of the colored words. Then she sorted out all the fruits and vegetables by color. 

Finally, she chose 5 colors of fruits and/or vegetables she'd like to eat. 

I Can Eat a Rainbow Activity I Can Eat a Rainbow Tray  
Free Printable: I Can Eat a Rainbow by Curriculum Castle at Teachers Pay Teachers 

Free Printable: A Rainbow of Fruits and Vegetables from Preschool Is Fun 

Free Printable: My Healthy Plate from Fruit and Vegetable Sorting Cards (Subscriber Freebie) at Wise Owl Factory 

For this activity, I used a multicraft tray, the printables, crayons (mine are in a central location), and a glue stick

There are a number of ways you can use this printable. To use over and over again, you could color the crayons and rainbow, laminate the page, and have the fruits and vegetables available for your child to choose each day. You could even have Velcro pieces on the rectangles or plate and backs of each fruit or vegetable. Or your child could color in the page and glue on the fruits and vegetables according to color. Older children could cut out their own fruits and vegetables.

My Healthy Day - Eat-a-Rainbow Food Choices  

You could use the "I Can Eat a Rainbow" printable or this "My Healthy Day - 5 Fruits and Vegetables" printable. (I keep both printables on the tray.) This could even be laminated as a placemat for your child to use when choosing fruits and vegetables for the day.

More Free Eat-a-Rainbow Printables

Go to my post at Living Montessori Now for links to free eat-a-rainbow printables from around the blogosphere: Free Eat-a-Rainbow Printables and Montessori-Inspired Activities. And be sure to subscribe to my email list if you'd like to get an exclusive free printable each month (plus two more awesome freebies right away): Free Printables.

More Nutrition Activities at Living Montessori Now

Montessori at Home or School - How to Teach Grace and Courtesy eBookIf you'd like to focus on manners with children, please check out my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to Teach Grace and Courtesy! It's written for anyone who'd like to feel comfortable teaching manners to children ages 2-12. I'm also one of the coauthors of the book Learn with Play – 150+ Activities for Year-round Fun & Learning!

Happy healthy eating!
 Deb - Siganture
Deb Chitwood
Deb Chitwood is a certified Montessori teacher with a master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies from Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, England. Deb taught in Montessori schools in Iowa and Arizona before becoming owner/director/teacher of her own Montessori school in South Dakota. Later, she homeschooled her two children through high school. Deb is now a Montessori writer who lives in San Diego with her husband of 41 years (and lives in the city where her kids, kids-in-law, and 3-year-old granddaughter live). She blogs at Living Montessori Now.

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