Playing With Food

Spring is stretching its arms here in Southeast Iowa. March has brought warmer temperatures, rain, winds, foggy mornings, and muddy ground. The garlic we planted in the garden late last fall overwintered well and is thriving, volunteer radishes are sprouting, and I am itching for all the amazing garden activities that spring and summer will bring.

For now, though, March is blustery, chilly, and very rainy. This means I’m still planning indoor activities to do with the kids at Prime Time Youth Care after school. IMG_20160318_141627This week we made art with vegetable stamps. Yes, this activity would have been wildly more fun outside with vegetables the kids selected from the garden, but I’m tired of waiting for the summer to be here to do summer activities. For now, we will practice vegetable stamping with supplies I got from the grocery store.

I covered our work surface with cardboard and newspaper. I cut a few potatoes, a couple peppers, and some celery. I laid out plates of springy colored washable paint and bright construction paper. Then I just let the students play with food. (Yes, I did have to tell some of them not to eat the vegetables today and I did then have to explain all the reasons why we weren’t eating the raw potatoes that were unwashed, had been touched by everyone’s hands, and were covered in paint.) The kids did a remarIMG_20160318_105410kable job sharing the materials, and they had so much fun making their pictures once I explained the concept to them. It was a perfect afternoon of having fun, getting messy, and simply letting kids create.

When the weather is warm, the ground is dry, and the garden is overflowing with produce, I’ll be able to pull this same activity out and introduce it as an old favorite because, yes, the kids loved it. Not only the young kindergarten group, but even the fifth and sixth graders took so much joy in getting messy, dipping vegetables in paint, and creating glorious works of art.

Vegetable Stamp Art by Students at Prime Time Youth Care

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