A community of practice for participants who have completed the Appetite To Play workshop.
Pitch an Idea
January 14, 2019 at 7:48 am #6330
Welcome and happy Monday!
Do you have an interesting idea you want to pitch on implementing healthy eating and physical activity
in your early years setting, but you aren’t sure how it is going to go? Pitch it here, and see what others in
the community think! Looking forward to your comments and questions!
January 14, 2019 at 9:18 pm #6349
- This topic was modified 4 days, 5 hours ago by Masa DeLara.
I love the idea of involving the parents in the process, especially when we talk about healthy choices. In my experience, sometimes as educators we ask the parents to bring a snack without guidelines, thought I rather call them “ideas”. And in a way the parents are often so rushed that they just grab what is easy to bring.
At my daughters’s school we developed guidelines in the hopes of providing healthy choices. We developed a handbook called “Living together” and we aimed to raise as a community global citizens. We have an eco-friendly approach and with it we linked some healthy choices. For example.
- Be environmentally friendly Use reusable containers and water bottles.
- We noticed that the parents started to pack less juices or sugary drinks as we asked only to bring water bottles. Then we said in a healthy section that plain water is our first choice over other drinks. It really made a difference and the children ask for water.
January 14, 2019 at 9:43 pm #6351
- This reply was modified 2 days ago by Kathreen Riel.
I work with toddlers and trying to teach them where food comes from. I have partnered with a few local farmers which is nice as the children know the name of the lady that grows our blueberries. We also grow some food in our outdoor space and I try to involve them as much as I can in cooking meals as well as preserving food for the winter. Now that I am pregnant I have cheated and we have packaged rice crackers for when I am too tied. I would like to know if anyone else tries to get their food local and in season. Any tips on keeping costs down? Also any tips on encouraging outdoor play with toddlers? We spend loads of time outdoors but they don’t really “play” is it because of their age? I’ve only had toddlers for the past year and am still learning so much about them.January 15, 2019 at 8:55 am #6355
Children of all ages love having their own water bottles on hand, and I agree Lizeth, it really does increase the requests for water!
January 15, 2019 at 9:05 am #6357
- This reply was modified 3 days, 3 hours ago by Masa DeLara.
I think serving healthy, pre-packaged food when we need to is a great way to save time and in your case, Melinda, to get more rest! Congratulations on your pregnancy!
On our Appetite to Play website (appetitietoplay.com) we have a fantastic graph showing seasonally available fruits and veggies in B.C. See it here:
As for toddlers, I haven’t worked with that age group myself (other than with my own two children) but I think that exploring a pinecone or a puddle for minutes on end is “play”? I would love for anyone who works with toddlers to share what they think outdoor play for toddlers looks like? Thank you!January 15, 2019 at 9:24 am #6360
My favorite method has been to include children in the process of making the snacks. Just yesterday we made banana applesauce oatmeal muffins. The children ‘helped’ with each step from squashing the bananas, to mixing to helping prep the trays. We even went crazy and threw in raisins (at the request of the children). Since they were ready in time for snack we had to ‘test” them out, to make sure nothing went wrong 😉 Even my pickiest eater (who hates fruits and veggie surprises) dove in to make sure it was okay.
Also for outdoor play for toddlers: have different bins of various toys that can get dirty and alternate. Have a bin wit trucks and diggers, another for balls and rolly bits, have another for cooking (leaves and dirt cook up real well lol), another with dolls or figures who can go exploring. Its always fun to have treasure hunts, garden exploring, or even run a miny garden with them once it warms up. Toddler play is fun when its warm with water, icy bits and bubbles too.
January 15, 2019 at 9:37 am #6362
- This reply was modified 3 days, 3 hours ago by Lisa Waite.
Children so enjoy “helping” and what a wonderful way to create an activity and a snack all at once, Lisa! Research shows that kids who are involved in preparing meals have more positive attitudes towards food, and are more likely to eat the foods that they help prepare. By allowing children to help prepare foods, you are helping to increase their consumption of healthy foods in the short term, and teaching lifelong habits of healthy eating.
Love the outdoor play suggestions for toddlers; I remember “cooking” with leaves and dirt as a child, myself! And you definitely can’t go wrong with bubbles any time of the year.January 15, 2019 at 6:31 pm #6367
At the centre where I work the morning and the afternoon snack are provided for the children as well as lunch. The snack is included in the monthly fee, so families do not have to pay extra. On our weekly AM snack menu there is a plain yoghurt, cold or hot cereal, toasts, tortillas, cream cheese and fruit. Morning snack is prepared by educators in the morning. It contains mostly pre-packaged food that saves time. We have to put everything together fast before doors are opened for the families. All our educators are required to have a Food Safe Certificate.
Our afternoon snack is made by the cook. She bakes loafs from scratch, makes smoothies, quesadillas, baked potatoes and cuts some fruit for the children.
We do not use water bottles in our programs. Children drink water from the cups. It helps maintaining healthy and hygienic environment with 25 children present in our program.
I see a lot of advantages for the children and families when snack is provided by the centre.
For instance, it saves parents’ time. Also, it helps reducing allergens’ cross contamination because some children have allergies. Also, children have chance to try different food that is not served at home. Also, it creates sense of community because we share the same food.January 15, 2019 at 7:25 pm #6368
Melinda, as you mentioned you are primarily working with toddlers. I would say you are particularly observing a lot of solitary play. But remember this type of play is important because it teaches children how to entertain themselves. As Masa mentioned the fact of simply observing is important for their development. I would invite you to sit down with them or even you doing yourself some exploration in the playground. Or while walking to the park asking them to observe the sky, jumping a poodle or the branch that is on the floor in a different way. If you give ideas to the children while going to the park it might invite to engage differently. Later on they will develop the parallel play in this one there isn’t a lot of interaction with kids at this stage but it’s still important to give the children time with other kids.
I agree with Lisa making the children part of the process is really important. I have to say going to the farmers market and getting the kids to select a fruit or a vegetable then going back to the daycare and see what we can do. I often just do some kind of brainstorming with the children of the possibilities and go from art (observing and painting the fruit with different cuts) to thinking what we could cook with it. As Elena mentioned the fact of doing food at the centre allows the children to be expose to different foods.
There is a great resource in BC https://www.bettertogetherbc.ca/ they could even have a workshop being delivered with you and inviting the families.January 15, 2019 at 8:15 pm #6371
Toddlers are great explorers. I work in a large center where there is a toddler program and they explore. They walk to Beban park or down to the Sea Wall, hunt for crabs, jump in puddles, feed ducks, pick up leaves. It’s all play.
When it comes to nutrition and toddlers. I find helping plant seeds, preparing salads, baking, going on adventures to look and talk about what they see all part of great play. Offering them lots of choices and seeing what they are willing to try and possibly enjoy eating followed by talking about the food can be “play”. If possible harvesting, cooking and sharing to enjoy it at the table is always a good time.January 16, 2019 at 7:25 am #6375
Elena, I want to go to your facility for a snack! How wonderful that the children in your care are able to eat freshly made food everyday. I strongly agree that because you provide nutritious food made from scratch, the children are able to experience different foods that they may not eat at home, which is really great. And creating community by eating together is one of my favourite things to do!January 16, 2019 at 7:30 am #6376
Exploration = Play – I absolutely agree, Sheena!
Offering lots of choices is fantastic; having fun with food and meal times creates positive experiences around cooking and eating – that’s what we at Appetite to Play are all about!January 16, 2019 at 8:01 pm #6386
Totally true Masa and Sheena exploration time is key in the children’s development. We are often so focused on preparing activities that are guided by the teachers that we forget to allow the children to be able to explore.
I remember when my child was small, I was often walking fast on the sidewalk and asking her to keep the peace because we would be late. Then it was like an eye opening one day that a ladybug stood on her finger. It was amazing to observe her glancing at it. Observing every single detail in the ladybug. She was talking to her and showing compassion asking her where she would like to be placed if on the flower, the pinecone or the leaf. We often are so rush with the routines having to go there or over there that we forget to admire those little details. That is why is so important to allow the children to explore.January 16, 2019 at 9:15 pm #6387
My toddlers for sure do a lot of solitary exploring. Thank you everyone for your ideas. We do already have a garden for the children but being winter not much is happening in it. They also enjoy looking into the compost bin. I just never saw looking in to the compost bin everyday as ‘play’. Jumping in puddles sounds good but they are barely walking so that one will have to wait for next winter. I also agree with Elena about building a community by all eating the same food.January 17, 2019 at 7:23 am #6392
Melinda, I have worked with toddlers before and I believe they are playing when they are looking, touching, smelling, exploring! I feel play can come in so many forms and we may not be able to see what is going on inside the mind of a child, and just because we cant see it – doesn’t mean its not there. Also just because we may not understand doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense. I know that toddlers and infants play differently than a 3 or 5 year old or even a 8 year old would play! Each one, being in a different stage of development, has a different collection of experiences and interactions that have shaped their perspectives of the world as well as different levels of intellectual capacity.
As others have mentioned, this age is a time for exploring on their own and making those valuable connections in their world. The 5 senses are a big part of play. Providing lots of things to touch, smell, hear and see will bring lots of joy to them. At a center I was at, they had a gazebo with wind chimes hanging around the edges. They made beautiful sounds and some of the chimes had crystals hanging in them catching the sun and making rainbows. The children loved to admire them and I would frequently pick them up to get a closer look at them. I also think adding flowers would be nice to an outside space for children or mirrors if possible. Also, anything to make sounds/music like metal pans or tins!January 17, 2019 at 7:42 am #6393
I really love the idea of having a snack/lunch program in a center. I feel that some parents would be excited about this, even if it came at an added fee each month, as it would save them time buying food for lunches as well as energy having to pack the lunch each day! The children in my program, at the moment, have pretty good lunches and snacks… but in the past we have had some children that just don’t come with enough food and not the healthiest food. I feel that having a lunch program would help ensure all the children had equal opportunities to adequate nutrition. I was a Reggio based centre in the past that had a full 2 snack and lunch program at an extra cost to families each month. It was a very small cost added in with their monthly fees. I think only one or two children in the whole center had packed lunches. It was a successful program! I loved how it encouraged independence in the children. The children put out their own cups and water, spoons/forks, plates/napkins and dished up (for the most part) their own snacks. All the food was prepared by a ECE who was also a cook. I would love something like this to be implemented in my centre but we have at least 60 children that are there full time each day… a lot of food to prepare. On a smaller scale, within my program, I would love to start a weekly community snack day. For example, on Fridays, each child would bring one or two whole fruit or veggies and we would prepare together and eat together. If bringing food is too much for parents… I wonder if I could reach out to our local farmers market for a small donation of food? They always seem to have discounted produce that doesn’t look pretty or that they are trying to sell to make room for fresher inventory.
January 17, 2019 at 9:17 am #6402
- This reply was modified 1 day, 5 hours ago by thea walker.
Thea, thank you for sharing those great ideas! I really like the practice of a community snack day. I have heard from other facilities who do it and they love it! It gives children the opportunity to eat fruits and veggies that they may not experience at home, and it truly helps to build a sense of community. Reaching out to to local vendors for small donations sounds like a wonderful idea – please keep us posted!January 17, 2019 at 12:24 pm #6407
At the center I work at we have a program called “Sharing fruit and veggies” The parents bring in donations of anything they’d like and we cut it up for snack and enjoy it 🙂 Which leads to tons of conversations.
January 17, 2019 at 7:33 pm #6419
- This reply was modified 1 day ago by Maryam Shahid.
Thea I love your ideas. Maryam I think we have about the same program. Where I work we place a bowl at the entrance next to the sign in and invite the parents to bring a fruit to share. The kids are so happy bringing something and the children are more curious about tasting a fruit that a friend brought. There are programs that will be able to support snack ideas.
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