How to Navigate Each Unit

Links to each of the units and their respective activities can be found to the left. Each of the 11 units is set up the same way and everything you need to conduct an activity (instructions, worksheets, recipes, etc.) is found within the unit. Most activities require common after school materials, such as construction paper, crayons or other craft items, and physical education equipment such as balls. Still, you may need to gather some material from outside sources, such as old magazines or empty water bottles. You may need to purchase special ingredients for the recipes.

Here's what you will find in each unit

Behavior Goal

Each unit lists a simple goal for children to achieve through the unit's activities.

Key Messages

These are the sound bites for the unit theme. A great way to inform children of the new theme is to copy the key messages onto colorful paper for display in your program - post on a bulletin board, on the walls, or at your check-out area. Visual displays not only help the children identify with the new theme, but it reminds parents of your healthy program goals! Program staff should review the key messages and use them when they present the various activities. For instance, when serving snack the leader may remind children that "Fruits and vegetables make great snacks that are healthy for your body!" (a key message from Unit 1). There are many opportunities to infuse these key concepts throughout a program day or week. All staff should be familiar with them, even if they are not in charge of leading the Food & Fun activities.

Key Information for Program Staff

This important background information provides staff leaders with the "why" behind each unit. It also offers tips for presenting the activities, or things to keep in mind when discussing nutrition or physical activity concepts with children.

Activity Options for Children

  1. Arts and Crafts involve coloring, cutting and pasting, or other creative projects. These activities allow leaders to introduce children to the various food or fitness concepts in a fun way.
  2. Active Games get children running and moving while learning about the key messages of the unit. Relay-type races with modifications are one common way to integrate learning with movement. These activities are designed to involve all children in a way that eliminates individual competition. Modifications are provided for most games.
  3. Other Group Games or Activities can be used in circle time or small groups to reinforce the learning concepts of the unit. Some of these activities are geared towards older children (upper elementary, 3rd - 5th grade) who have writing skills and/or the ability to understand more complex information.
  4. Suggested Books can be used to complement the unit activities. You may make books available in a reading center, or read to the group during circle time. Instead of purchasing books, borrow them from your local library for free!
  5. Snack Time is a great time to introduce new foods to children! Recipes are provided as the best hands-on way to involve children in snack preparation. Most recipes include commonly found ingredients and simple preparation methods, though some do involve cooking or advance preparation by adults (such as chopping vegetables). Programs can introduce families to healthy foods by preparing extras to serve during pick up, and by distributing the recipes.

Connect with Parents

It is crucial to involve and inform families about the steps that your program is making to positively influence the health of their children. To help you reach out to parents and other caregivers, each unit lists key messages for parents which support the unit objectives. Like the key messages for children, these may be printed onto colorful paper to display at the check-out area or on a parent board. They are also included in the Parent Communication newsletters and email messages section. Food & Fun 2nd Edition suggests ways to connect with parents, and provides materials for communicating with parents that are available in English and Spanish:

  1. Parent Engagement Activities- Suggestions for how to engage parents in the messages being taught in each unit. Experiment and be creative; come up with your own ideas or modify the suggested activities for each unit!
  2. Newsletter articles- Available to cut and paste into your current program newsletter or as a stand-alone 1 page bulletin. These articles are available so you can send information about healthy eating or physical activity home each month. Available in English and Spanish.
  3. Email messages- Get around the challenge of notices left in children's backpacks by sending parents a simple message via email. These messages specifically address the unit key messages and activities while offering simple tips to involve families in the promotion of healthy foods and fitness behaviors. Available in English and Spanish.
  4. Parent handouts- Provided for each unit topic of Food & Fun. These colorful sheets are another easy way to get health messages home to families. Available in English and Spanish.
  5. Parent handbook- The handbook Food, Fun & Family provides information for parents about how to help develop healthy eating, physical activity, and television habits at home. It also includes additional resources like information sheets and recipes. Available in English and Spanish.

There is also a section of the site completely dedicated to the parents. Have them check it out!


For more information about the topic of the month, visit the Outside Resources Page where each unit lists a number of relavent websites. Some units also include sources for materials that compliment the activities. You may also reinforce unit lessons by using the curriculum's tip sheets.

Activity Instructions

Instructions are provided for each activity or game and include information on the materials and advance preparation required, objectives of the game (if applicable), and instructions on how to conduct the activity or play the game. There are also lesson extensions to adapt the game for different age groups or space limitations.

Recipes and Taste Tests

Preparing and trying new foods with children is a great way to get them excited and interested in healthy foods. Children who help with meal or snack preparation are more likely to try their own creations! Use the Food & Fun 2nd Edition Recipe and Taste Test Packet to find recipes to try in the program and share with families. Recipes are designed to complement the unit themes. The recipes are classified by level of kitchen equipment requirements so you can easily determine if you have the resources to make the snack at your after school program. For example, for Level 1 there is no cooking required, Level 2 is basic equipment (i.e. sink, fridge, microwave, blender, and/or toaster); and Level 3 requires a full kitchen (i.e., basic equipment plus stove). Each recipe lists the supplies needed along with the ingredients and instructions. Taste tests provide another fun and simple way of introducing children to new foods. Select foods that are easy to prepare and keep in mind that children can taste one new food or recipe, or compare similar foods (like "green vegetables" or "whole grain breads"). A taste test rating sheet, along with simple guidelines and ideas, are provided in each nutrition unit.

Remember to keep safety and sanitation in mind by washing hands and cleaning surfaces before handling food. Always keep sharp tools out of the hands of children.


Worksheets used in the learning activities are found at the end of the unit, along with any other supportive printouts that may be needed for a game or activity.