Last week, I had the most amazing experience. I helped change the way of thinking about food for 20 children aged 7 to 9.
How? I ran a 2 hour interactive Mad Food Science lesson about the different types of food and how food can affect your mood, behaviour, learning and even how you sleep.
I know you are probably thinking “oh, yeah as if you got 20 kids to sit still for 2 hours and learn about food”. Well you are partly right. They didn’t sit still! But then I didn’t want them too. I was determined the class would be fun with plenty of opportunity for the students to participate. And more importantly, for them to sample healthy food and see how delicious it is.
To fit with the Mad Food Science theme, the lesson incorporated an experiment to reinforce each major topic covered. To get student participation, I pulled a scientist’s name out of a cup, and the scientist had to come out and conduct the experiment.
We used food colouring in different sized glasses to show how everyone’s body handles food, drink, exercise and sleep differently. We had pictures of a body with internal organs to colour to show how your body needs a rainbow colour of foods to function properly. We made a green smoothie of banana, strawberry and baby spinach to show how you can mix a rainbow of foods to make a delicious healthy filling drink. There were a few other experiments thrown in too, along with a taste test game at the end where they had to guess what the ingredients were in the foods.Seriously, I had so much fun! And so did the class – so many told me it was awesome and fun. There are so many moments I could share with you about how I made a difference to these children. Like the Green Smoothie experiment. I simply have to share this because it was a mastercard moment – it was priceless!
Now picture this, I told the class we were going to make a smoothie and taste it. The excited sounds of 20 children was deafening. I told them we were starting it with a frozen banana. Words like Yum were shouted from crowd. I asked them what banana is good for. This generated some discussion because the peel is yellow but the inside that you eat is actually white. Then I said I was going to add in a couple of handfuls of strawberries. The salivating children yelled more Yums. I asked what red foods are good for. The screams from the floor indicate they got it. Then I told them I was going to add a big handful of baby spinach. I was rewarded with hysterical shouts of Noooooooooooooooooooooo! Can you hear 20 of them saying this? I still can. Hilarious!
We discuss the merits of what adding baby spinach will do for the smoothie and then I add chia seeds, raw honey and water. Adding the water caused a great deal of concern because everyone thought a smoothie needed to have milk and or yoghurt in it. I asked them to trust me. One minute later I started to pour each student a luscious thick green smoothie.
Don’t get me wrong, there were a few children that I almost had to beg to have a sip but mostly my scientists were up for the game. At first they sipped and then they guzzled the smoothie. Now for the priceless moment. All but about 2 students crowding around me asking for seconds. There were arms with little with plastic cups being pushed my way. Can I have some more, can I have some more. I can’t wait to pull together my video of files of this to share with you. Like I said, it was a priceless moment.
Fast forward to today. One week later and I know they took it in and went home telling their parents all about it. And I know some have started to make different food choices.
How do I know this? Here’s some things mum’s have said to me in person, by text and email:
– What a success. Lachlan has been RAVING about your session since I picked him up yesterday! Thank you and congrats! He’s asked me to make the smoothie,the muesli bar and caramel balls. He also keeps reading our food labels.
– We went shopping yesterday, and she was checking all the ingredients on the back of the packets. She picked up a box of LCM’s and turned it over to look at the ingredients, then promptly put it back because it was too processed – it had too many ingredients.
– We’ve been having the green smoothies in the morning.
– The message really got through to them. We have the rainbow coloured foods stuck up in the house now.
– The kids were talking about how it only felt the session went for 20 minutes it was so much fun!
I’ve also had a number of parents ask me to run a class for parents.
Suffice to say I am more than bursting with excitement. It makes me feel so proud to know that this little lesson has changed the lives of the children and their families too.
Do you know what the different colour fruit & vegetables (rainbow of foods) are good for? If not, be sure to keep an eye out on my upcoming post about a rainbow of foods.