Parents of kids in the age group 4 to 5 years are forever wondering how to keep them busy. The kindergarten brigade needs constant stimulation in terms of things to do or to think about and they have an endless appetite to learn new things. These games will help you spend 30 minutes with them in a fun yet useful manner, such that they learn a little about food and nutrition, which in turn will make them less picky when they see salads and greens on their plates.
While you might think that some of the following games seem a little too much for young minds, they'll surprise you by how much they can absorb. Making the kids learn how to eat healthy from a young age, is a gift they'll carry with them for the rest of their lives. Choose the games as per your child's age and interest, and of course, be safe!
Collect foods in different taste groups like sweet (chocolate, sugar granules, banana), salty (crackers, cheese) and sour (orange, lemon drops, pieces of raw mango). Blindfold your child and ask her to stick her tongue out. Place a small piece of any food on their tongue and ask them to guess the taste group and name the food, if possible, by concentrating on the taste. This could be a great way to teach them why certain foods taste the way they do and what that taste signifies. For example, all the sour foods are rich in Vitamin C, which keeps their skin and joints healthy. For slightly older kids, you could also draw or print out a diagram of the tongue and map out the various kinds of tastebuds.
Tip: It might be a good idea to leave the bitter category of foods out for this experiment or your kid might chicken out from trying any more experiments with you in future.
Collect a basket full of foods of various colours and ask them to do a sorting exercise on the basis of colour. While this is being done, you can emphasise on the importance of eating foods of different colours (real food, not coloured candy!) and how each colour gives a different set of nutrients and vitamins.
Collect a variety of dried beans such as black-eyed peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, green moong beans, white beans, etc. and mix them in a jar. Get your kid to first sort the beans, and then arrange them in order of size. You can then teach them the names of the beans in a couple of languages. Talk to them about their favourite dishes that use these beans as an important ingredient. While you are at it, also explain why they're very healthy and the reason they must be included as a part of our diet.
Tip: Make sure you don't play this game in presence of very young kids who might swallow and choke on the dry beans.