Preschooler Food Game – How Does It Grow?

Preschoolers can learn about where food comes by playing this question and answer game during meals and snacks or at the grocery store. Finding out that carrots, peanuts, and potatoes grow in the dirt, that raisins were once grapes, or that rice grows in puddles can be great fun and spark your preschooler’s interest in food.

How To Play

In the grocery store or as you and your preschooler eat a meal or snack, name each plant food item on your plate. Then, ask, “how does a _______ grow?” Give choices of answers and let your preschooler guess –

Traditional Walled Kitchen Garden, Planted with Mixed Vegetable & FlowersOn a tree or a plant?
Below the ground or above the ground?

Whole Foods

With whole foods, it’s easy for your preschooler to identify the foods. Then, together, you can discover that plant foods come from all parts and types of plants:

Peanuts – Peanuts are the seeds of a plant and they grow underground
Potatoes – Potatoes are tubers and they grow on a plant underground
Carrots – Carrots are the root of a plant and they grow underground
Apples, Peaches, Oranges – These fruits grow on a tree above ground
Broccoli, Cauliflower – These veggies are part of a plant and they grow above ground
Lettuce, Spinach – These are the leaves of a plant and they grow above ground
Rice – Rice is a seed of a grain plant and usually grows on paddies – fields flooded with water
Beans – Most beans are the seed of a plant and they grow above ground
Strawberries, Blackberries, Blueberries – These berries grow on shrub-type plants above ground

Mixed and Processed Foods

For mixed and processed foods, the game has an extra challenge – identify what’s in the food!. First, talk about what the foods are in a dish or meal. Then talk about how that food grows and becomes something you eat:

Peanut butter or almond butter – from nuts!
Jam – from berries or other fruit
Chocolate – from cocoa beans that grow on a tree
Bread – from wheat grain or other grain
Raisins, Dried Fruit, Fruit Leather – from fruit if it’s real dried fruit. Many fruit snacks don’t contain any fruit, though. Next time your preschooler is eating a fruit snack – check out the label.
Soup – see if you can pick out individual vegetables or beans
Yogurt, Cheese, Ice cream – from cow’s milk