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Grandparents Teach, too

Autumn is perfect time to plan picnics

Sabin, Davis, Hetrick, Anderegg, Macalady, Walker, Darling and Katers

Fall is a glorious time to go on a picnic hike. The trees are brilliant oranges and reds and there are no bugs. What to bring is always a big decision. You can Involve your children in menu planning, nutrition education, and make a memorable grandparent-grandchild day.

To plan and teach you will need pictures of food, scissors, glue, paper plates, markers, crayons, paper punch, yarn, and drawing paper.

Plan together

Before you invite your children to go on a picnic hike, label several paper plates, each with the incomplete sentence: (child’s name) will eat (food name) on our fall picnic. Explain that a menu needs to be planned.

Ask your children what are their favorite picnic foods and be sure to share your favorites. Make a list of these foods. Talk with about healthy choices and a well-balanced meal.

The nutrition site “chooosemyplate.gov” has many easy food suggestions and recipes for young children any typical day. Most important it has a picture of a nutrition plate of fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, and dairy (some source of calcium).

Decide together what to bring in a backpack and put a check mark by each food you will pack. Then find pictures of favorite picnic foods. Children might want to draw and color the foods instead.

Make a picnic book

Help children cut out the pictures, if necessary. Glue one picture in the middle of each paper plate pre-labeled with the sentence. Remind them that one dot does a lot when using glue.

Then help children correctly print their name on the first blank and the name of the food on the second blank. Some adults use ink dots as a guide for children to trace. Use only a capital letter at the beginning of names and help children listen for sounds in the words that will be written down. Decide upon a title and write it on a clean paper plate. Stack the finished plates under the front cover and bind the book along the left edge using the punch and yarn. Children can read each food item as you pack the backpack and add it to their library.

When you do this activity together your children are learning about making healthy choices while deciding on what to eat. They are learning name recognition and writing the names correctly. While writing, your children are learning letter recognition, letter sounds, practicing correct letter formation, and that peoples’ names begin with a capital letter. Making simple books like this with pictures and your children’s own words help them realize that reading is very useful and fun. For more easy activities to help your children prepare for school see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com; wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons; Pinterest and Facebook since 2009.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.