The development of healthy habits in early life is key for families and children to set the stage for a lifetime of health and wellness. Schools and early care settings can play an important role in educating children about nutrition, their bodies, and food sources. The FRC’s research team has developed a healthy habits curriculum targeted for children ages 4 to 6, which seeks to increase awareness and knowledge of healthy routines—like healthy eating habits or sleeping patterns—that can be implemented in daily life. The curriculum has been piloted at local elementary schools and pre-K programs, as well as been reviewed for use by childcare providers and afterschool/community-based programs. This curriculum includes facilitator guides that can be easily adopted and used in ways that best suit your population and resources. Each lesson has a specific focus that incorporates hands-on activities and interactive book reading. All 9 lessons can be taught in succession but that is not necessary, individual lessons or activities can be used separately to encourage healthy habits for young children.
Food Groups and Grocery Shopping— Children will understand what types of food fall under each food group and will learn how to make a balanced meal. Activities include a shopping experience in which children get to go shopping in play store to make a balanced meal.
Cooking and Family Meals— Children will talk about the importance of family mealtimes and learn how they can help out with dinner preparation at home. Lesson includes participation in making a dinner and sharing a family style meal.
Eat a Rainbow— Children will learn about different types of fruits and vegetables and the importance of trying new things for health. Lesson includes opportunity to try a rainbow of fruit options to experience what a variety of fruit tastes like.
Snacks— Children will learn the difference between snacks and meals and talk about healthy snacks. Activities include a “Snack Attack” bracket where children can vote for the healthiest snacks.
Beverages— Children will learn about sugar in beverages, how healthy beverages give us nutrients to feel good and grow while beverages with too much sugar can make us tired or sick. Children will make a sugar cube graph to compare the amount of added sugar in different beverages.
Energy Balance— Children will be able to determine which activities use more energy and how food intake needs to be balanced by energy expenditure. Lesson includes drawing and coloring foods consumed and favorite activities for energy expenditure.
Healthy Screen Time— Children will comprehend how screen time is related to health outcomes. Activities include creating a personalized book for ideas of activities to do besides screen time. Children will get to create an activity dice they can roll to choose activities to do besides screen time.
Healthy Sleep Habits— Children will learn about healthy bedtime routines and the importance of these routines. Lesson includes crafts and a worksheet based on bedtime habits.
Check out a preview of the Sprouts Growing Healthy Habits Curriculum
Lesson pages preview:
- Barbara Fiese, PhD, Family Resiliency Center Director, Human Development and Family Studies
- Brenda Koester, MS, Family Resiliency Center Assistant Director, Human Development and Family Studies
This project is supported by the Christopher Family Foundation Food and Family Program.
Assistant Director, Family Resiliency Center