Sensory Food Education for Children

In a nutshell

This tool suggests how young children can learn about and enjoy different types of vegetables, fruits, berries, and dishes containing them, in positive and creative ways. This learning approach emphasises sensory food education and is based on the French SAPERE method. Catering and nursing personnel in day care institutions work in collaboration to procure vegetables, fruits, and berries, which are then used in sensory learning experiences for children. Learning to consume and enjoy foods from the plant kingdom from an early age holds promise for better public health and mitigated environmental impacts, both of which are important EU strategy and policy goals.

Necessary Steps

  • Children become acquainted with a variety of fresh, healthy foods through sensory experiences based on vision, touch, smell, taste, and texture in the mouth.
  • Creating thematic occasions, such as harvest days and plant exhibitions, enables children to learn about plants, and identify and taste vegetables, fruits and berries through play.
  • Introducing vegetable dishes into diets makes plant-based food familiar and easier to accept and enjoy.
  • Examples of sensory activities include ‘touching bags’, in which bags of vegetables are identified through touch; ‘scent boxes’, in which different vegetables, concealed in a bag, are identified by smell; and ‘taste plates’, which offer a selection of vegetables to be tasted and named.
  • The plant theme can be covered in lessons from different perspectives (writing, visual activities, discussion, crafting, singing, shaping, drawing, etc.).
  • Activities like these can be modified based on respective cultures and their important edible plants and vegetarian dishes.

More Issues To Consider

  • Allergies to vegetables such as carrots, strawberries, celery, and others need to be considered when preparing the activities.
  • Some vegetables, fruit, and berries such as beetroots, potatoes, bell peppers, bananas, and blueberries may stain clothes.

Further Information

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