25 Eat right and exercise.


Eat right and exercise.

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Food is an everyday, familiar, and enjoyable subject for most children. Eating food is an experience. Children look forward to mealtimes, enjoy going out to restaurants, and like preparing their own food. They learn food words very early and love to express themselves concerning favorite or least-liked foods. To create a lasting, healthful lifestyle, it is important for children to learn about good nutrition.

They also need to understand the value of exercise. Most young children are full of energy. Their favorite time of the school day is recess, when they get exercise in the form of play. The more fun they have with movement, the more active they will be.

About the Picture Spot rides his bike back from the grocery store, not only transporting five bags of healthful foods but also getting exercise along the way. Ask students what foods they recognize from the bags. Ask them how Spot is exercising. Ask them how they exercise.

Major Concepts

  • Children enjoy communicating about food.
  • Eating the right food is an important lifelong habit.
  • Exercise helps students stay fit and makes their brains ready for learning.


Daily Lesson Planning

Day 1

  1. Using "Eat right and exercise," explain a healthy diet. Use the rhyme, “Eat more from three and four,&rdquo (fruits and vegetables); to spark discussion of the value of different food groups. With children’s input, make a list of the foods from each of Spot's grocery bags, based on initial and final sounds.
  2. Implement “Eat right and exercise” (BB 64).
  3. Lead a discussion about the importance of exercise. Ask students how exercise can help them (for example, it helps them stay fit, it makes them strong, it lets them have fun with others, it makes them happy). Ask students what types of exercise they enjoy most. Have students draw a picture of themselves doing their favorite exercise activity.

Days 2-6

Choose from the following:

  • Implement “Writers listen for letter sounds” (BB 65).
  • Using the words and information gathered from the activity, have children make up healthful, yummy lunch menus. They may use pictures and/or words for their menus. Share these menus with your school cooks!
  • Give each student a piece of scrap paper and a pencil, and lead the group to a place where they can observe other students at recess (either through windows or on the playground itself). Have students observe the many ways others are getting exercise. Ask students to write down as many kinds of exercise as they can see. Back in your classroom, lead a discussion about the types of exercise they saw, and which types students like best.
  • Guide individuals or small groups in an interactive writing of recipes for special foods. First list the ingredients; then list the steps for making the food. These recipes can be illustrated and bound into a class “cookbook.”
  • Discuss and make a class book about different kinds of bread. (If available, read the book Bread, Bread, Bread by Ann Morris.) Implement "Prizewinning Bread."
  • Implement "My ‘Yes, Please’ and ‘No, Thanks’ Foods."
  • Place the children in small groups, supplying each group with trail mix ingredients, measuring cups, and a plastic bag. The group must make a bag of trail mix out of ingredients such as pretzels, cereal, raisins, peanuts, and other dried fruit. (List the names of the ingredients on the chalkboard, or have children find the words on the packaging.) After they take turns adding ingredients to the bag, help groups to write the recipe for their trail mix.
  • If possible, involve students in food-preparation projects—making popcorn, applesauce, cornbread, baked potatoes, or fruit salad. Before making the food, talk about the recipe. Afterward, check to see if you followed it.

Concluding Days

  1. Talk about how the children can apply what they’ve learned to their daily eating habits and exercise routines.
  2. “Dine out” in the classroom by implementing "A Plate of Food."
LAFS Standard:
TEKS Standard:
NE ELA Standard:

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Additional Activities

These activities offer options for continuing the learning in this unit. Whether your curriculum is skill-based or more open-ended, select the activities that are most appropriate for the children in your classroom. The Writing Spot is primarily a writing program, but writing can be integrated throughout your curriculum—in art, drama, reading, math, and science.

  • Establish a just-for-kids restaurant.

In the dramatic-play area, have children name their restaurant and make a sign for it. (See "We make signs and labels" for ideas about signs.) They can also make a menu board, pictures, and other signs to display in their restaurant.

  • Make fun food books.

Have children draw or find pictures containing different foods that begin with their initials. For example, apples for Amanda; spinach for Smith (last names can also be used). Students may cut pictures out of newspapers and magazines or draw their own. Put the pages together as a book.

  • Share some songs or poems about exercise.

Do a shared writing after reading a song or poem that celebrates exercise. To begin, choose a familiar tune such as “London Bridge” or “Mary Had a Little Lamb”; then compose your first line—such as “Playing tag is good for us.” Go on from there.

  • Make seed-catalog posters.

Children love to plant seeds and watch them grow. Show them some seed catalogs. Use a seed-planting activity as a springboard for learning about foods that grow from seeds. Talk about different kinds of fruits and vegetables. Bring a variety of fruits and vegetables to class; cut them open so children can see the seeds. List all the names on the board or on chart paper. Invite children to draw their favorite fruit or vegetable (and its seeds) and write its name. Use "Seed Poster" for this activity.

  • Plan a meal of food that comes from animals.

Many children don’t know that eggs and dairy products come from animals. Talk about cows, chickens, and goats. Explain that if it weren’t for these animals, we wouldn’t have milk, cheese, or eggs. Where do these foods fit on the food pyramid? Discuss ways that dairy products and eggs are served: chocolate milk, ice cream, scrambled eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches. Have children create a breakfast menu using foods that come from animals. You could use "A Plate of Food" for this activity.

  • Learn about food that comes from trees.

If possible, visit a local orchard. Talk with children about fruits that grow on trees: cherries, apples, peaches, lemons, bananas. Where does fruit fit in a healthful diet? Make a fruit salad together. Have children draw pictures of different kinds of fruit and label them.

  • Explore foods that grow underground.

Talk about root crops: carrots, potatoes, onions, radishes. Make a list of the different ways potatoes are prepared: mashed, baked, boiled, hash browns, French fries, pancakes, potato soup. Have children draw their favorite way to eat potatoes and write one sentence about why they like potatoes that way.

  • Track your daily exercise.

Ask students what exercise they have done today. Remind them that walking, running, jumping, skipping, and hopping all are exercise. Also, remind them that games like tag, kickball, and hopscotch also are exercise. Discuss what parts of the body are made stronger by each kind of exercise. Have each student list the types of exercise they have already done today. Then have each student list the types of exercise they would still like to do today.

  • Practice good table manners.

Discuss table manners. As a shared-writing activity, make a list of good table manners. Have a pretend grown-up dinner party. Set the tables with paper plates, paper cups, paper napkins, and plastic utensils. Allow children to role-play as grown-ups, using their very best table manners.

  • Plan menus for special times.

Some foods are associated with special times, parties, or holidays. Encourage children to plan menus for birthday parties, picnics, sleepovers, and for sledding or snow-fort-building get-togethers. Talk about how different foods fit certain situations. For example, which menus call for lemonade? Which call for hot cocoa?

LAFS Standard:
TEKS Standard:
NE ELA Standard:

Related Resource Tags

Click to view a list of tags that tie into other resources on our site

English Language Arts: