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HE-5: Simon Says Food Groups

HE-5: Simon Says Food Groups

TIME: 30 minutes
SUMMARY: Children will try play a Simon Says type game to learn the food groups.


Less than five percent of U.S. children eat the foods recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These recommendations are based on the minimum amount of nutrients children need to grow up healthy.


  • Five Food Groups Handout for each child (provided)
  • Hole puncher
  • String or ribbon cut into 24-inch lengths (one per child)
  • Paper or construction paper
  • Crayons or markers for children
  • Grocery store flyers, food pictures
  • Glue sticks


  1. Introduce or review the Five Food Groups using the Five Food Groups Handout.
  2. Have children count off by fives. Ones are the grain group, Twos are the vegetable group, Threes are the fruit group, Fours are the meat and beans group and Fives are the milk group. Group children by their number. Make sure each group has a Five Food Groups handout. (For a simpler game, choose only the two or three food groups with which children are familiar, and count off by twos or threes).
  3. Pass a sheet of paper to each child. Let children pick one food in their assigned food group. They can use the handout to help with this, and discuss with their group what foods belong. Have children write the name of the food on their paper and/or draw a picture of the food and/or cut out a picture of the food and glue it to their paper.
  4. Help children attach the string or ribbon to their sheets and hang them around their necks with the picture facing out.
  5. Before beginning the game, have the children introduce their food and its food group. Example: “I’m an apple and I’m in the fruit group.”
  6. As each child names the food group they are in, explain to the group what makes that food group healthy (see Key Talking Points below).
  7. HHave half of the children stand on each side of the play space. Let children take turns being Simon. The facilitator should start and can make suggestions to the caller.
    • Use directions such as Simon Says:
      1. All Milk Group foods put their hands on their heads.
      2. Anyone who has a Fruit Group food take one step forward.
      3. If you're not a Meat Group food, clap your hands.
      4. If you're not in the Grain Group, hop forward x amount of times.
    • Children who do not follow the correct directions move to the opposite side of the room.
    • Include some directions without Simon Says, such as: “Milk Group foods raise your hands.” Children who respond should go to the opposite side of the room because Simon Says did not precede the direction.
  8. This game has no end, and no winners or losers.


  1. There are certain foods you should eat more of, and others you should eat less of for better health. Each of the food groups is full of nutrients we need to stay healthy.
  2. Grains provide carbohydrates for energy. Whole grains have B vitamins to help you use the energy you eat and fiber to keep your digestion moving.
  3. Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, like vitamin A, which maintains healthy skin and eyesight and vitamin C, which helps your wounds heal and keeps you from getting sick. These two food groups also have fiber, which keeps your digestive system moving, and minerals to keep you strong.
  4. Meats and Beans provide proteins to give you strong muscles and help you grow.
  5. Milk provides calcium, a mineral needed for strong bones and teeth.
  6. Fats and sweets (“sometimes foods”) are not considered a food group. These foods have little or no health benefits and a lot of calories.
  7. Snacks should contain foods from at least two food groups, breakfast should contain foods from three groups, and lunch and dinner should contain foods from four or five of the food groups.


  1. Classify foods into the five food groups.
  2. Identify one way each food group helps keep them healthy.
  3. Recognize why they should eat foods from all the food groups every day.


  1. Send home Family Outreach Tip Sheet TS-2: Food Groups. This tip sheet lists the five basic food groups, explains why it’s important to eat these basic foods at most meals, and has some healthy snack recipes on the back.
  2. Put together Bulletin Board 2: Food From Around the World. Where do different foods come from? What foods do children know about from their own family traditions? Use this display to promote sharing and discussion.
  3. Put together Bulletin Board 3: Good Health Is Always In Season. Promotes discussion about growing fruits and vegetables, what it means for them to be in season, and seasonal holidays.
  4. Put together Bulletin Board 6: Boggled. This is based on the Boggle game for making patterns, in this case, Get Healthy Now meal and snack patterns.

ADAPTED FROM: http://www.nutritionexplorations.org