I am getting ready to start the planning of my class Valentine’s Day celebration, and I want to share my absolute favorite activity. This has become an annual center, and I won’t do V-Day without it! It is my naturally red food tasting center. I credit Angelle Batten of Get Real For Kids with inspiring me to give this a try.
With V-Day typically being full of sugary sweetness and lots of Red Food Dye, this activity gives it a wonderful twist. I ask parents for donations of a variety of naturally red foods. I ask them to cut, clean, or otherwise prepare their food as needed, and I request enough of each type of food for each student to give it a try. There are SO MANY healthy and delicious red foods! Many of them are popular things that the kids already love, and many of them are new foods for them to try.
The foods I try to include every year are: strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, red grapes, red bell peppers, beets, red cabbage, pomegranate seeds, kidney beans, radishes, cherries, red apples, red skin potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and rhubarb. (I cook the rhubarb before serving it.) Some years I have trouble getting certain things depending on availability, but there is always a great variety.
I am always amazed by the things kids have not ever tried (like raspberries and bell peppers!), and I love seeing them taste new, healthy foods. I challenge them to try everything, and we keep track of the bravest eaters who give each and every naturally red food a try. Every year I have students “discover” foods that they never thought they would like!
We usually follow up the tasting with a graphing activity, where each kid selects their favorite naturally red food. We can then see the most popular food in the class. Watermelon is often the winner, but there have been class upsets!
I have also extended this activity, and asked the kids to consider what specific taste they thought was dominant for each food – sweet, salty, bitter, or sour. This is fun, because there really is a range with the red foods, although it is pretty tough to isolate one taste. The kids enjoy the discussion though!
In the classroom, we have a powerful opportunity to expose our students to new things and expand their horizons. We also have the influence to help them live more healthfully. What better day to start than Valentine’s Day!
If you are interested in all of my V-Day plans, they are available in my store for $3. You can get all the printables I use there as well.
What are your favorite Valentine’s Day activities?