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Activities to Promote Healthy Nutrition and Physical Activity Habits Among Children (FN692)

Are you looking for hands-on nutrition and fitness activities for your students or club members? Most of the activities in this publication require little time, preparation or equipment. Most can be modified to fit the knowledge and skills of a variety of age groups

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist

Bridget Curley, Program Assistant (former); Amanda Helbling, Student Dietitian (former)


MyPlate
These activities provide a way for teachers and volunteer educators to reinforce nutrition and fitness concepts for children in classrooms, after-school programs or club settings – and have fun, too! You might consider involving older students as “teachers” for the younger students.

We hope these lessons and activities encourage children to eat smart and play hard!

Lesson 1

Exploring ChooseMyplate.gov

Objective

Children will become aware of the new guidelines for healthful eating and activity .

Participants

Children age 8 and older (with help). In after-school or club settings with a variety of age groups, consider pairing together older and younger children.

Time

20 to 30 minutes

Supplies/Equipment

Computer lab with Internet access

Location

Local library, school or other facility with multiple computers and Internet access

Preactivity Talking Points

Who has heard of MyPlate? What is it? What do the colors stand for?
ChooseMyPlate.gov has tips to help us stay healthy. It’s for people of all ages.

Directions

• Familiarize yourself with the MyPlate site before the activity. See the fact sheets.
• Have children go to the website.
• First, explain parts of the site and have them take the animated tour of MyPlate to obtain background information.
• Then, have children determine their personal plate by using the “Daily Food Plans.” If possible, have them print their individual plans.
• Optional handouts under the “For Kids” section include a printable poster, coloring page and worksheet.

Post-activity Review

Raise your hand if you’re supposed to eat 1½ cups of fruit a day according to your Daily Food Plans. How about 2 cups? Who needs 3 cups of vegetables?
Your plan may be a little different from your friend’s plan, depending on how old you are, if you are a boy or a girl and how much physical activity you get. That is what makes MyPlate so useful. It is designed just for you.
You also can use the website to track your daily nutrition and activity using the Food Tracker.
The Web site is a good tool for you and your family. You can help your parents find their Daily Food Plan, too.

Lesson 2

Tossed Salad

Objective

Children will learn about eating vegetables as part of a healthy diet.

Participants

Age 8 and older, 10-player minimum-works well with large groups

Time

15 to 30 minutes

Supplies/Preparation

Masking tape or chairs (if indoors)

See this section of the MyPlate website for more background information.

Location

Best to play outside in large, grassy area or indoors in large, open area. This activity is a good supplement to a lesson on fruits and vegetables or the lesson provided below.

Preactivity Talking Points

(As an opening, consider having everyone state his or her favorite vegetable and why – or ask for a few volunteers.)
• Eat a variety of vegetables every day for good health! Any vegetable or 100 percent vegetable juice counts as a member of the vegetable group. Vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned or dried/dehydrated; and whole, cut up or mashed.
• Vegetables are organized into five subgroups: 1) dark green, 2) orange, 3) dry beans and peas, 4) starchy vegetables and 5) others.
• Who can name a green vegetable? How about an orange one? A kind of bean? A starchy vegetable?
• Eat a rainbow of vegetables and fruits every day. They are a part of a healthy diet and provide the nutrition your body needs to stay healthy and strong.

Directions

• This activity is similar to the game “fruit basket upset.”
• Players should start out standing or sitting in a circle. One player will not have a spot and will be in the center.
• The teacher/leader will walk around the circle and “label” each participant with a vegetable name. At least two people should be labeled with each vegetable; for example, label three as a “green bean.” (Alternatively, you can have the children draw their vegetable names out of a hat.)
• The player in the center will call out the names of the vegetables.
• When the people labeled with that vegetable are called, they must rush to another spot in the circle. The player in the center attempts to “steal” a spot along the circle.
• Whoever doesn’t have a spot then will be in the center and that person calls out the next vegetable.
• The center player may call out “Tossed Salad!” once while in the center and everyone must switch spots.

Post-activity Review

• Eating vegetables helps you stay healthy. What vegetables do you like to eat? How can you get more vegetables in your diet?
• Does anyone have a salad with evening meals? Adding a tossed salad is a great way to add a variety of vegetables to your diet. How about adding veggies to your sandwiches? How about carrots and broccoli for a snack? Do you choose some vegetables every day for lunch at school?

Lesson 3

Make a “Myplate”

Objective

Children will become familiar with the different food groups of MyPlate and the importance of variety in the diet.

Participants

Children of all ages (with help). 12-player minimum.

Time

15 to 20 minutes depending on the group

Supplies

Location

Can be played outdoors or indoors in a large, open area

Preactivity Talking Points

• Eating foods from all the food groups throughout the day helps keep us healthy.
• What are the five colors on MyPlate? What does each color stand for? They represent the Grain Group (orange), Vegetable Group (green), Fruit Group (red), Dairy Group (blue) and Protein Foods Group (purple). (Show MyPlate poster if available.)
• Let’s take turns and name some foods. The others can decide where the food belongs on MyPlate. Sometimes one food item can include several food groups. For example, a plain hamburger includes both a grain (the bun) and a meat (the burger patty). If you add lettuce and tomatoes, you’re getting some vegetables, too.
• One food can’t provide you with all the nutrition your body needs. Go for variety!

Directions

• Give each child a slip of paper with a food item listed on it.
• All the children will start in the large, open area.
• The participants need to find other children with different foods and form a five-person “MyPlate group” with all the groups represented.
• The first “MyPlate group” formed needs to run as a group to the designated finish line.
– Example: A child who is a “loaf of bread” needs to find four other children: a vegetable, fruit, dairy and protein food. After a MyPlate team is formed, the children need to run to the finish line.
• If a team crosses the finish line and is missing a food group, it needs to return to the whole group and form new teams with other children.

Post-activity Review

• Variety is important in your diet. Set a goal to eat foods from each of the food groups every day. Do you eat fruits and vegetables every day? Do you have at least 3 cups of milk every day? How about trying veggies and fruit for a snack or milk instead of soda pop?
Optional: Pass out a blank MyPlate shape and ask children to record the food they eat the next day in the area it belongs. This will help them see if they consume a variety of foods.

Lesson 4

Kids’ Choice Trail Mix

Objective

Children will recognize that snacks can fill “nutrition gaps” in the diet if they are chosen carefully.

Participants

Children of all ages. Older children can help younger children.

Time

15 to 20 minutes

Supplies/Equipment

Large bowl, mixing spoon, measuring cup, sealable plastic bags. The participants bring ingredients, which should be assigned ahead of time. Alternatively, a smaller group of children could bring the ingredients and use this as a demonstration for a club or class.

Location

Kitchen or area with tables. Be sure to clean and sanitize surfaces first. Children should wash their hands before assisting with food preparation and tasting the snack.

Preactivity Talking Points

• Healthy snacks can fill “nutrition gaps” – the “holes” in your diet when you don’t eat all the different kinds of foods your body needs to stay healthy and strong.
• Nutritious snacks can include foods from any of the MyPlate groups. Can you think of some healthy snacks from different food groups? These are some examples: Grain Group (whole-grain crackers), Fruit Group (dried cranberries), Vegetable Group (broccoli) and Dairy Group (yogurt dip).
• Today we will be making a snack that represents healthy foods from different MyPlate food groups. It’s fun and easy to make, too.

Directions

• Before the class or meeting, have children or parents sign up to bring certain ingredients. (You may wish to send home reminder notes.)
Ingredient ideas: Peanuts, sunflower seeds, dried soybeans, other nuts, crackers, pretzels, dry cereal, granola, popcorn, raisins, dried fruit pieces or other nutritious dried foods. Note: Check if anyone is allergic to nuts or other ingredients. If so, this activity may not be appropriate.
• Have a large bowl and spoon ready for mixing the ingredients.
• Each child will talk about the ingredient he or she brought, what food group it fits into and why he or she likes it – or the children can state their ingredient and the group can discuss it. Then they will add the ingredient to the bowl.
• Have an older child or adult mix the ingredients after all the children have talked about their ingredients.
• Portion snack into sealable plastic bags using a measuring cup and allow children to eat and/or take home for later.

Post-activity Review

• What could we enjoy with this snack to have more of the food groups? How about some yogurt or carrot sticks? How about adding a beverage, such as low-fat milk or 100 percent juice?
• Trail mix is a tasty grab-and-go snack. You can eat it on the way to a school activity or during snack time at school. Making healthy choices, such as picking nutritious snacks, helps you live a healthy lifestyle!

Lesson 5

Taste Testing Grain Foods

Objective

Children will be aware of different varieties of grain foods and have the opportunity to taste whole-grain products.

Participants

Age 8 and older; younger children may need help. Modify amount of background information shared based on their age.

Time

15 to 25 minutes

Supplies

Samples of bread/crackers/cereals, paper plates, cups for water, evaluation sheets, identification numbers, ingredient labels from breads or other foods, tongs or spoons. You may wish to bring some spread (butter, margarine, peanut butter or jelly) to spread on crackers or bread, if desired. That may increase the likelihood they will try it.

Location

Kitchen or area with tables. Be sure to clean and sanitize surfaces first. All participants (teachers and children) should wash their hands before this activity.

See the fact sheet “Make At Least Half Your Grains Whole Grains” (see the MyPlate resources)

Preactivity Talking Points

• Grain products are part of a healthful diet.
• What are some foods in the grain group? (Rice, pasta, bread, crackers, etc.)
• What color is the Grain Group on MyPlate? (orange)
• Grains are divided into two subgroups, whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain all parts of the grain kernel – the bran, germ and endosperm. Examples of whole grains include whole-wheat flour, oatmeal and brown rice.
• Refined grains have been “milled.” The milling process grinds the grain and removes the bran and germ. White flour and white rice are refined grains. White flour and other refined grains are “enriched,” which means the B vitamins and iron are added back into them.
• We’ll try some different grain foods in this activity.

Grain Kernal

Directions

• Be aware of any food allergies among the children. This activity may not be appropriate if food allergies are an issue.
• Prepare bowls or plates with four to eight food items to sample. You may wish to select all cereals, all crackers or breads or a combination.
– For example, as a comparison, soda crackers are made from refined flour and Triscuits crackers are made from whole grains. “Whole-wheat bread” is whole grain, but “seven-grain bread” is not usually whole grain. Popcorn is a whole-grain snack but pretzels are not. Some cereal is brown and may be “made with whole grains” but that doesn’t mean it’s “whole grain.” Read package labels. If it has a health claim about whole grains, it must meet government standards.
• Provide cups of water. Drinking water between samples is important to being able to taste the differences among samples.
• Have tongs or spoons available with each serving container. Place a number by or on each serving container. Provide paper plates, and have children “number” the area on the plate next to the samples they select. If the group of children is small, you could have the children rotate from station to station.
• Give each child an evaluation sheet so he or she can identify the type of bread and decide on a “rating.”
Ex.   Whole-wheat bread
Love it!      Like it     It’s OK      Dislike it!
• Tell the children what type of grain product they tried and emphasize which foods are made from whole grains.
• Hold up a food package and show where the Nutrition Facts panel and ingredient label are located. Pass around other packages so children can look at them. Have them look at the ingredient list to see if it lists whole-grain ingredients. Whole grains often have whole wheat, whole-grain oats or oatmeal listed first. Some carry a health claim.

Post-activity Review

• How did everyone do? Sometimes telling whole grains from others is hard.
• Did you like the taste of the different grain foods? What was your favorite?
• Try to “make at least half your grains whole grains.” Eat a variety of grain foods every day, and include whole grains in your choices. Read labels at the grocery store. Try making baked goods using whole-grain ingredients, such as rolled oats or whole-wheat flour.
• You can show your family members how to look at an ingredient list to find out if a product is made from whole grains.

Try Some Grain

Lesson 6

Sandwich Sense-ations

Objective

Children will use their five senses (and their imaginations) to explore a variety of foods.

Participation

Children of all ages (with help). Older children can help younger children using scissors.

Time

15 to 20 minutes

Supplies

Paper pictures of foods (cut out from magazines or print from computer clip art), colored paper, crayons, scissors, paper plates.

Location

A room with tables and chairs or desks

Preactivity Talking Points

• What are the five senses? (sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch)
• You can see all the colors of foods. You can hear the crunch of a carrot. You can smell freshly popped popcorn and your favorite type of pizza. These are all examples of foods reaching different senses.Can you think of some examples?
• We will be making paper sandwiches using ingredients that trigger our senses.

Directions

• The children will create their sandwiches out of paper pictures of different ingredients, or they can use crayons, markers or colored paper to create their own pictures to cut out. Each sandwich should have at least five ingredients, such as these:

– Breads: wheat bread, white bread, rye bread, hamburger buns, etc.
– Meats/Beans: turkey, chicken, meat loaf, sliced roast beef, tuna, refried beans, hamburger patty, etc.
– Veggies: mushrooms, onion, lettuce, peppers (green, yellow, red), pickles, sprouts, zucchini, spinach leaves, tomato slices, olives, etc.
– Fruits: pineapple, banana, sliced apples, raisins, etc.
– Cheese: Swiss, cheddar, American, etc.
– Other ingredients: mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, jelly, etc.

• The children can cut out and color the food pictures or create them using colored paper or crayons/markers.
• Give each child a paper plate to fan out his or her ingredients for display.

Post-activity Review

• Which foods affect the five senses? Which ingredients in your sandwich affect your sense of smell? Sight? Hearing? Touch? Taste?
• Foods affect your senses. Eating a variety of colors, textures and flavors of foods makes your meals enjoyable.

Lesson 7

MyPlate Relay

Objective

Children will learn how to classify foods in MyPlate and get some physical activity.

Participants

Age 6 or older (or younger children with assistance)

Time

10 to 20 minutes

Supplies

12 paper grocery bags, food pictures/models

Location

A place with a lot of room to move, such as a wide hallway, gym or outdoor area

Preactivity Talking Points

See Lesson 3 for additional information

• On MyPlate, what color are these groups: Grain, Vegetable, Fruit, Dairy and Protein Foods?
• Why is eating a wide variety of foods every day important? (We need lots of different foods to meet our body’s needs.)

Directions

• You will need two sets of cardboard or plastic food models, or use printed pictures of food that easily correspond with the five segments of MyPlate (grain, vegetables, fruits, dairy, protein foods). Place an equal number of food models/pictures in two separate bags, one for each team. Include a variety of foods.

– Note: Inexpensive miniature toy food models (often available in the toy sections of department stores) would work for this purpose.

• Make two sets of five grocery bags representing the segments of MyPlate. Each set of bags should include a bag labeled 1) Grains, 2) Fruits, 3) Vegetables, 4) Dairy and 5) Protein Foods. You may want to reinforce the color concepts by using colored paper for the labels (orange = grain; green = vegetables, etc.). Provide a set of five labeled bags to each group.
• Set the bags at the end of the hallway, in a gym or in an outdoor area.
• Place an equal number of food models/pictures in the two remaining bags and provide one to each team. This bag will stay with them at the beginning of the line of participants.
• When the leader says “Go,” each team will begin its relay. The children will take turns pulling a food model/picture from their team’s grocery bag, running to their MyPlate bags and putting it in the correct one.
• After placing the food picture/model in a grocery bag, the participant will run back and tag the next person in line. The teams will continue the activity until the grocery bag at the starting line of each team is empty.
• When both teams have finished, remove the food models/pictures from the bags. Pull the items one by one from each bag as a check and review of what foods “belong” in each food group.

Post-activity Review

• How did everyone do? Let’s review! What color represents the Grain Group? The Vegetable Group? The Fruit Group? The Dairy Group? The Protein Foods Group? (Check out the contents of each bag to review food groups.)
• Eat foods from each food group every day to stay healthy.

Lesson 8

MyPlate Hopscotch

Objective

Children will be active while reviewing MyPlate concepts.

Participants

Children of all ages (with help)

Time

10 to 20 minutes

Supplies

Chalk or masking tape, a beanbag (such as a zipper-lock bag filled with dry edible beans) or a “place marker” of some type

Location

Outside on the sidewalk or other cemented area or in a gym or wide hallway (use masking tape)

Preactivity Talking Points

• What is physical activity? Physical activity simply means movement of the body that uses energy.
• What are some kinds of physical activity? Walking, climbing the stairs, playing soccer and dancing are some good examples. Children should try to get 60 minutes of physical activity every day, and adults should try to get 30 minutes of physical activity every day for good health. Moderate physical activities include walking briskly (about 3½ mph), hiking, bicycling (less than 10 mph) and swimming.
• Do you know how to play hopscotch? Playing active games, such as hopscotch, is a fun way to be physically active. Jumping strengthens your bones and muscles, too.
• Today we will combine hopscotch with MyPlate ideas. Do you know the MyPlate Food Groups and colors? (Grain Group – orange; Vegetable Group – green; Fruit Group – red; Dairy – blue; Protein Foods – purple) Can you name a food from each group?

Directions

• Before the activity: Draw a hopscotch pattern on the sidewalk outside. You also can use tape to draw a hopscotch pattern if you are indoors. In each square, list a food group (grain, vegetable, fruit, oil, milk, meat and beans).
• Use a beanbag to throw onto a square.
• Before the participant “hops” he/she needs to call out a food from the food group of the square containing the bean bag. The participant jumps over that spot.
• The participant will continue jumping from square to square, calling out different foods from the indicated food group with each hop (carrot, broccoli, beans, etc).
• If the participant gives an incorrect answer, he or she gets a second chance at naming a food.
• At the end of the hopscotch, the person turns around and hops back, pauses and picks up the beanbag and then finishes.
• Then the next player takes a turn at trying to get the beanbag in another square.

Post-activity Review

• Eating a variety of foods from each food group helps keep you healthy. Get plenty of physical activity to stay healthy and strong, too.
• Was thinking of foods for each group easy?

Lesson 9

Pop-It Balloon Game

Objective

Children will be able to state the MyPlate slogans.

Participants

Children age 7 and older (with help as needed)

Time

10 to 15 minutes

Supplies and Preparation

Six balloons, scissors, pieces of paper and some tape. Photocopy the slogans that accompany this lesson. Cut the words apart. Since some of the slogans are short, you might cut the words in half so each balloon has an equal number of pieces inside. If possible, match the color of the balloon to the MyPlate group slogan. For example, a red balloon would contain a scrambled version of “Focus on Fruits.” The activity slogan balloon may be black or white.

Location

This activity can take place anywhere. Space the kids a distance apart so the messages don’t become mixed up when the balloons pop.

Preactivity Talking Points

• How many of you watch TV? Have you seen any commercials?
• Do you know what “slogans” are? These are ways to get us to remember something. MyPlate also has some slogans or sayings.
• Can you think of any slogans used for foods or beverages? What fast-food restaurant uses this slogan: “I’m Lovin’ It”? (McDonald’s) Which fast-food restaurant uses this slogan: “Have It Your Way”? (Burger King)
• Today we will be learning the slogans from MyPlate, but we’ve scrambled the words and put them in balloons. To figure them out, we will pop some balloons.

Directions

• Divide children into six teams.
• Give each team a filled balloon, tape and a piece of paper.
• Each group (or child) should pop a balloon and unscramble the message inside.
• Each group or child should tape the message together on the paper. The first team to accurately complete its message and sit down wins.

Post-activity Review

• (Read through each slogan and discuss.)
• What ways can you and your family use the slogans?
– How can you “vary your veggies?” (You can add a salad to supper or choose a different vegetable every day at school lunch.)
– How can you “focus on fruit”? (You can have fruit for after-school snacks.)
– How can you “go lean with protein”? (You can choose lean meats at the grocery store.)
– How can you “get your calcium-rich foods? (Drink milk every day; eat yogurt and cheese.)
– (Continue with other slogans.)

Messages slogans

Lesson 10

Fruit (or Vegetable) Walk

Objective

Children will get some physical activity while learning about fruits.

Participants

Children of all ages. One participant per spot in the circle.

Time

10 to 20 minutes

Supplies

CD player, music, pieces of paper with numbers or masking tape, slips of paper numbered to correspond with spots on floor and pieces of fruit. If possible, bring exotic fruits (mangoes, unusual types of apples). Since the fruit may be eaten right away, wash the whole pieces of fruit with running water and wrap in plastic or place in a plastic bag to keep them clean. Do some research about the fruits you brought, and be ready to share some key points at prize time. Alternatively, you can have a vegetable walk with a variety of cleaned, cut-up vegetables with Ranch dip as “prizes.” You will find background information about vegetables in Activity 2.

Location

Best to play in an open area. Designate “spots” to stand around a circle using pieces of numbered paper, or mark the spots with tape labeled with a number.

Preactivity Talking Points

• Raise your hand if you like to eat fruit. What is your favorite?
• What color is the Fruit Group on MyPlate? (red)
• Fruit is a great snack to bring for school or after school. Any fruit or 100 percent fruit juice counts as part of the Fruit Group. Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen or dried, and may be whole, cut up or blended into a smoothie. Most fruits are naturally low in fat, sodium and calories.
• Fruits contain nutrients, such as potassium, fiber, vitamin C and folate (folic acid). Different fruits contain different vitamins, so try to eat a variety of colorful fruits every day.

Directions

• Players are to start out standing one person per numbered spot.
• The leader will announce the way the children should move around the circle

– Examples: “Gallop and move counterclockwise around the circle;” “Skip clockwise around the circle;” “Hop clockwise around the circle;” “Walk slowly counterclockwise around the circle.” (The leader should announce the change in activity each round.)

• Start playing music. As the music plays, the children move around the circle the way they were instructed.
• When the music stops, the children should stop on the nearest numbered spot.
• After everyone stops on a number, the announcer will pull out a slip of paper.
• The child standing on the spot corresponding to the slip drawn wins a piece of fruit and leaves the circle. (If possible, provide an interesting “tidbit” about the piece of fruit.)
• Continue playing until everyone is a winner or you run out of time.
• If you draw a slip and no one is standing on the corresponding spot, draw another slip until you have a winner.
• Fruit ideas – Apples, pears, kiwi, bananas, peaches, plums, strawberries, etc. Try exotic or dried fruit, such as cranberries or raisins. Or, you may want to purchase the prepackaged, shelf-stable individual servings of exotic fruits. If possible, provide every participant with some fruit to enjoy.

Post-activity Review

Fruits are a healthy part of our diet. What are some good times to enjoy fruits? (Any time!) What are some different colors of fruits? (red, green and yellow, etc.)

Lesson 11

Physical Activity Charades

Objective

Children will be aware of the amount of physical activity they need every day and some different ways to meet their physical activity needs.

Participants

Children of all ages

Time

10 to 20 minutes

Supplies

Pieces of paper with charade ideas listed on each, and a hat, basket or bowl for drawing. Some examples to list on the slips of paper are: golfing, ice skating, playing soccer, badminton, tennis, dancing, riding a bike, sledding, water skiing, horseback riding, canoeing, jogging, yoga, etc. Be creative!

Location

A classroom

Preactivity Talking Points

• Refer to Talking Points on Lesson 8. Getting enough physical activity helps you feel good and look good. Do you know how much physical activity kids should try to get every day? (An hour a day)
• How many of you watch TV or play video games? What’s the most “screen time” (TV, video games) that kids should have every day, according to doctors? (two hours) We will be playing “Activity Charades” today, so you’ll have a chance to move and guess some fun ways to get physical activity.

Directions

• Explain the game of charades to the group. Without using words, a person “acts out” an activity and the audience tries to guess what the “actor” is doing.
• Have each volunteer draw a slip of paper with an activity written on it and then act it out. This also can be played in teams. The idea is to have fun.

Post-activity Review

• What are ways you can stay active every day? Can you think of a way to make video games be “active games”? (Stand and jump while you play!)
• Let’s each set a physical activity goal.

– How many minutes of physical activity do you think you do during the day?
– Are you meeting the one-hour goal?
– What are some ways to get more activity during the day?

Lesson 12

Germ Tag

Objective

Through a unique game of tag, children will learn how quickly germs can be spread.

Participants

Children of all ages; 10-player minimum

Location

Play outside in large, grassy area or indoors in a gymnasium

Preactivity Talking Points

• Germs multiply rapidly, especially in warm environments.
• In the right conditions (warm, moist), bacteria double in number every 20 minutes. So, if we started with 10 bacteria at 1 p.m., by 1:20 p.m., we would have 20; by 1:40 p.m., we would have 40; and by 2:00 p.m., we would have how many? (80) Germs grow fast!
• To keep germs under control, keep hands and kitchen surfaces clean. Don’t share germs with others by sharing your cup or sneezes! “Capture” germs by sneezing into a tissue or your sleeve.
• Wash your hands often. How long should we wash our hands? (20 seconds)

Directions

• Define boundaries for the group so the game is played in a safe area (especially when outdoors).
• Select two players to be the “germ team.” They will link elbows and play the game as a team. (One germ team should be created for every 10 players.)
• The germ team is “it” and its goal is to tag people to join the team.
• The rest of the players will run as individuals within boundaries.
• When an individual player is touched with the hands of a “germ team,” he or she must link elbows with the germ and continue to run after other players.
• After the germ has captured two players and formed a germ team of four, they must “divide” in the middle and form two germ teams of two players each.
• The game continues until all players have been captured and turned into germ teams.

Post-activity Review

• Germs multiply quickly and no one is safe from them. You can reduce germs by using soap and warm water for 20 seconds when washing hands.
• What are other ways you can reduce the spread of germs? (Covering your mouth when you sneeze; not sharing cups; washing your hands before you help cook dinner and before you eat, and after playing with a pet and using the restroom, etc.)

Lesson 13

Soap is Essential

Objective

Children will learn the importance of washing hands with soap and warm water.

Participants

Children of all ages

Time

15 to 20 minutes

Supplies

Cooking oil, ground cinnamon, soap, access to hot and cold running water, paper towels

Location

Any facility with access to warm, running water, such as a classroom with a sink, a room near restrooms or a kitchen

Preactivity Talking Points

• Washing your hands is important because it can reduce the spread of bacteria and germs. Germs can make you sick!
• When should you wash your hands? (After blowing your nose or sneezing, before you eat or prepare any food, after touching raw meats, before holding a baby, after using the bathroom, after playing with a pet, after playing outside, etc.)

Directions

• Divide participants into three groups.
• Apply 1 tablespoon of cooking oil to each child’s right hand. Have the children rub their hands together.
• Sprinkle 1 teaspoon cinnamon on each child’s right hand and have the children rub their hands together until the cinnamon is evenly distributed.
• Have the children wash their hands as follows, rubbing them for 20 seconds:

– Group 1: Wash hands with cold water and no soap
– Group 2: Wash hands with warm water and no soap
– Group 3: Wash hands with warm water and soap

Post-activity Review

• Which method was the best for washing hands? (warm running water and soap)
• Washing hands using warm, running water and soap is important. Rubbing hands together under running water helps remove dirt and bacteria.
• Now let’s all go and wash our hands the correct way to remove the cinnamon.

Lesson 14

Internet Food Detectives

Objective

Children will learn about general food safety guidelines and the concepts of “Fight BAC!”

Participants

Children age 8 and older. Possibly pair together older and younger children.

Time

20 to 30 minutes

Supplies

Computer lab with Internet access

Location

Local library, school or other facility with multiple computers and Internet access

Visit background information on the four steps to food safety to include in your discussion.

Preactivity Talking Points

• Is having foods that are safe important? Why?
• Do you know the four steps to food safety? (Clean, separate, cook and chill)
• We can help keep our foods safe in many ways. Let’s go on an Internet adventure and solve some food safety “cases” on file at the Food Detectives Web site.

Directions

• Have children go to the Web site .
• First have them click on the Food Detectives Fight BAC icon on the left side of the Web site to watch the introduction video. This gives them information about the site’s games and activities.
• Then have children begin their detective work by attempting to solve one or more of the four “cases” in the file drawer. Time permitting, the site has personalized certificates that can be printed after they all have solved the cases.

Post-activity Review

• Why is safe food important? What are the four steps to food safety? What are some ways to prevent foodborne illness? What activity was your favorite?

Lesson 15

Kids’ Choice Kabobs

Objective

Children will learn about grilling and food safety.

Participants

Children age 8 and older with adult supervision. An adult should operate the grill.

Time

30 to 40 minutes

Supplies

Grill, cutting boards, ingredients (listed below), skewers, platter, paper plates, napkins, food thermometer, accessible sink with soap and paper towels

Location

Kitchen area or large table for assembling kabobs, outdoor space for grill, accessible to sink with warm running water, soap and paper towels

Preactivity Talking Points

• Review the grilling safely fact sheet found at this Web site.
• Do you know how to Fight BAC (bacteria, that is)? The four steps to food safety are clean, separate, cook and chill.

• Start with clean hands. How long should you wash your hands before handling food? (Wash your hands for 20 seconds under warm running water using soap. After washing, dry with a paper towel.)
• Be sure to bring a clean serving plate to the grill. Don’t put the cooked food on the plate that held raw food. Keep raw meat away from veggies that won’t be cooked, such as a lettuce salad.
• If you decide to “soak” the meat in a marinade to make it taste better or be more tender, keep the food in the refrigerator and save some fresh marinade for a dipping sauce. Why shouldn’t you reuse the marinade that touched the raw meat? (It has germs in it.)
• Cook meat thoroughly. Use a food thermometer to check meat on the grill.
• Where do any leftovers go? (In the refrigerator) Chill leftover food quickly. This food will be so good, you won’t have any leftovers!

Directions

• Have adults marinate and cut steak or chicken into cubes or strips. Bring some of the following items (cleaned and prepared) – cherry tomatoes, pineapple chunks, green pepper pieces, onion pieces, small mushrooms or other ingredients.
• Have children wash hands with soap for 20 seconds under running water before starting.
• Provide each child with a skewer (metal or wood) and have him or her assemble the kabob with the ingredients he or she likes. Have the children give their skewer to an adult to grill.
• Immediately have children thoroughly wash their hands because they touched raw meat.
• Have an adult grill the kabobs, place them on a clean plate and return them to the children to enjoy.

Post Activity Review

• Do you know how to Fight BAC? The four steps to food safety are clean, separate, cook and chill.

Lesson 16

Fight BAC! Food Safety Trivia Game

Objective

Children will learn general food safety guidelines through a trivia game.

Participants

Children age 8 and older; younger children can help draw numbers, etc.

Time

15 to 20 minutes

Materials

Something to write on, such as a blackboard (whiteboard); pen, marker or chalk; bowl or hat (to hold numbers); and number cut-outs for playing the game. Each number corresponds to a question.

Location

Classroom or large room

Preactivity Talking Points

• How many of you help cook or bake at home? Keeping food safe for yourself and anyone else who might eat the food you make is important. Do you know the four steps to food safety? In the national Fight BAC campaign, the four steps to food safety are: 1) clean, 2) separate, 3) cook and 4) chill.
• Today we are going to play a trivia game about food safety. Most people have played the game Horse. You shoot a basket through the hoop and earn a letter, based on whether you make the hoop. This is a twist on that game.
• When you play the Fight BAC! food safety trivia game, you or your team gets a letter of the word “BAC” each time you answer a question correctly.

Directions

• Copy and cut out the drawing numbers provided.
• Divide the group into teams. Two to four teams works well.
• Have a team member draw a number out of the bowl.
• Ask the question that corresponds with the number. The team will have 30 seconds to answer. If the team answers the question incorrectly, the next team will have a chance to answer the question unless it is a true/false question. Teams should receive only one chance to answer true/false questions.
• When a team gives the correct answer, write the appropriate letter of the word “BAC.” Reinforce the correct answer by repeating it.
• The team that completes the word “BAC” first, wins. Play at least two “rounds” of Fight BAC.
Optional: Provide “prizes” for everyone, such as pieces of fruit, veggies and low-fat dip; granola bars; or cups of 100 percent juice.

Post-activity Review

• Did any of the answers surprise you? Take some simple steps to food safety: clean, separate, cook and chill.

Fight BAC! Game Questions

1. True/False: A refrigerator should keep your food at 40 degrees or lower.

True. A refrigerator at 40 F or lower will slow the growth of bacteria.

2. True/False: Meat can be thawed safely on the countertop.

False. Thaw food in the refrigerator or in a microwave oven, not on the countertop. Germs can grow on meat left at room temperature.

3. How long can you safely leave a meat sandwich in your backpack without a freezer pack?

a. Three hours
b. Two hours
c. One hour
d. Half-hour

b. Two hours. Foods should spend no more than two hours at room temperature.

4. True/False: Freezing food will kill harmful bacteria.

False. Freezing will stop most bacteria from growing, but freezing won’t kill bacteria.

5. How long should you wash your hands with soap and water before rinsing?

a. Two minutes
b. 60 seconds
c. 20 seconds
d. Two seconds

c. 20 seconds. You can sing “Happy Birthday” twice or “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

6. True/False: You should wash eggs before you use them.

False. Washing eggs before using them is not necessary. Eggs are washed and sanitized at the packaging plant with a special detergent. This process should remove most bacteria from the shell. However, eggs need to be cooked thoroughly to be considered safe.

7. True/False: Marinade (the sauce used on grilled meat) can be reused as a dipping sauce if the meat was in the marinade for only an hour.

False. The marinade contains germs from the raw meat. By using the old marinade as dipping sauces, you or your family could get sick. The safest options are to make extra marinade or reserve some marinade that hasn’t contacted the raw meat.

8. True/False: Partly cooking meat and putting it in the refrigerator is OK.

False. You never should partially cook meat. Cook it completely, then put it in the refrigerator.

9. Name two groups of people who could get sick more easily from unsafe food.

Any of these: Infants, toddlers, elderly, those who already are sick, those with depressed immune system function (e.g., people
undergoing chemotherapy) and pregnant women.

10. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, what is the “single most important way to reduce the spread of disease”?

a. Cleaning up after you are done preparing food
b. Cooking food to the right temperature
c. Picking up food from the floor
d. Washing your hands

d. Washing your hands

11. True/False: Cutting up lettuce for a salad on a cutting board that you used to cut up raw chicken is OK.

False. The cutting board has germs from the chicken. To clean the cutting board, wash it with hot, soapy water followed by a hot-water rinse before cutting any other food. Even better, use a different cutting board for meats and for vegetables.

12. True/False: Leftover foods never should be left to cool completely on the counter before putting them in the refrigerator.

True.

13. True/False: Using a dented or bulging can is OK if the food tastes all right.

False. Be careful of dented cans, especially if the dents are at the seams. Dents can allow harmful bacteria to enter. If a can is bulging, that’s a good indication bacteria is growing and producing gas. The food in these cans never should be tasted.

14. True/False: As long as meat is cooked until it is brown, it’s safe to eat.

False. Cook ground meat to safe internal temperatures. Use a meat thermometer to check. A brown color doesn’t mean the meat has
been cooked to a safe temperature.

15. True/False: If you hard-cook eggs and leave them in the shells, you still must refrigerate them.

True. Hard-cooking eggs may cause hard-to-see cracks in the shell that can allow bacteria to enter the egg. You should eat refrigerated hard-cooked eggs within a week.

16. True/False: If you use antibacterial hand gels, you never have to wash your hands.

False. Hand gels are OK if no hand-washing sinks are nearby, but washing your hands with soap and water is a better idea. The alcohol in hand gels dries out your hands, too.

17. If you have a foodborne illness, what are two possible symptoms?

Any of these: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, chills, fever, headache and muscle pain. Most of these symptoms also are associated with the “flu.”

18. True/False: The symptoms of some kinds of foodborne illness may appear within hours, days or even weeks.

True. Foodborne illness shows up at different times, depending on the kind of germ that caused the illness.

19. True/False. Eating the pizza that someone forgot on the counter the night before is safe.

False. Pizza is a perishable food. It should be refrigerated within two hours of mealtime.

20. Which of these foods is safe stored in the cupboard?

a. Bologna
b. Peanut butter
c. Eggs
d. Cooked rice

b. Peanut butter is safe at room temperature.

Grid

Additional Information

Contact your local NDSU Extension Service office for more information or visit the NDSU Extension Service website for a variety of resources for kids, teens, parents/caregivers and teachers:

Eat Smart. Play Hard. – Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

– Provides parents and other caregivers with tools for healthy living, including tasty, low-cost menus and recipes that meet the new food guidelines.

Fight BAC! – Partnership for Food Safety Education

Consumer food-handling information and resources

MyPlate

NDSU Extension

Reviewed August 2016

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