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HE-8: Capture the Bag

HE-8: Capture the Bag

TIME: 30 minutes
GRADE: 3-5
SUMMARY: A capture the flag– like game teaching children to eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day.


It’s important to eat a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables to get all the nutrients that your body needs to grow and stay healthy. In this game, children will complete a cardiovascular workout and learn the importance of eating a variety of fruits and vegetables every day.


At least two of each color of fruit and vegetable pictures or models in plastic bags:

  • Red: tomatoes, cherries, red peppers
  • Yellow/Orange: carrots, corn, sweet potatoes
  • Green: honeydew, artichokes, collard greens
  • Purple/Blue: plums, eggplant, blackberries, raisins
  • White: bananas, mushrooms, onions, garlic

For more information on eating a colorful variety everyday visit www.frutiandvegetablesmorematters.org


Safety Considerations:

  1. This game requires a large amount of space. If you do not have a gym space, plan for a good weather day.
  2. Make sure you review safety rules, such as no pushing. Children should tag gently. This is especially important when older and younger children are playing together.

How to set up for Capture the Bag:

  1. Divide a large open space in half with masking tape. Designate a small area in each half that will be the closet and another that will be the kitchen.
  2. Show the children the bags they will be capturing. Ask if they have ever eaten any of the fruits and vegetables shown in each bag, and get a show of hands. Explain that there are a lot of different kinds of fruits and vegetables, and it’s good for your health to eat a variety. “Put a rainbow on your plate,” is one way to talk about it. Use background information provided to help you discuss the benefits of eating a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  3. Place half of the fruit and vegetable bags in each kitchen, making sure there is at least one fruit or vegetable from each of the five color groups in both teams’ kitchens.

To Play Capture the Bag:

  1. Divide the children into two groups. One group will be Lunch and the other group will be Dinner.
  2. Explain to the children that the Lunch team will have to try and capture one bag from each color group in the Dinner team's kitchen and the Dinner team must try to capture one bag from each color group in the Lunch team's kitchen. (Similar to Capture the Flag, if you are familiar with this game.)
  3. Each group will scatter in their own area and some children will have to guard their kitchen. When the game begins, team members will cross into the other team’s area to try and capture their bags. A player can only capture one bag at a time.
  4. Once they cross over the tape, players are at risk of being tagged. If a player gets tagged, then he/she has to go to that team’s closet. Children can only be freed from the closet if one of their own team players tags them.
  5. A team wins when they collect one bag from each color group (total of five) from the other team’s kitchen.
  6. Explain why it is important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables and why everyone needs 5 a day (see Key Talking Points below.)


  1. The majority of vegetables eaten by children are in the form of french fries (as early as the age of two), meaning they are not only getting too many calories from added fat, but very little variety.
  2. Everyone needs at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day because they provide the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your body needs to stay healthy and fit.
  3. Many of the vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables also give them different colors. So, eating a variety of colors is the best way to get all the nutrients you need.
  4. Fruits and vegetables of various colors can help you maintain strong bones, hair, and teeth; memory function; vision health; and are a healthy source of energy to keep you going.
  5. A fruit is the sweet, ripened section of a seed-bearing plant, while a vegetable is a plant grown for its edible part (seeds, roots, stems, leaves, bulbs, tubers, or nonsweet fruits). So, a fruit could be a vegetable, but a vegetable could not be a fruit.
  6. Cardiovascular exercise burns calories, can improve self-esteem, and strengthens your bones, muscles, heart, and lungs.


  1. Recognize that healthy eating means eating a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  2. Identify the five color groups of fruits and vegetables.
  3. Complete an endurance activity.


  1. After each round of play, ask each group to name different ways the fruit and vegetables they captured could be part of their team's meal. Example:
    • The Lunch group, having captured a banana, celery, raisins, carrots, and tomatoes can suggest adding tomatoes to a sandwich, having celery with peanut butter and raisins, eating carrots and dip, or having a banana for dessert.
  2. Read the book: Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert. Again, you can ask the children as you read, “has anyone ever eaten a kumquat? What was it like? Do you know where it comes from?” etc.
  3. The activity sheets can now be found at (http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/?page_id=81)
  4. Find more materials to promote eating fruits and vegetables at (http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/?page_id=115)
  5. Send home Family Outreach Tip Sheet: TS-3 Eat Your Colors -- This tip sheet is about the importance of consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables of various colors, and gives a list of color groups and hints on how to get children to eat their colors.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Put together Bulletin Board 4: Color Me Healthy. Children use pictures of fruits and vegetables from the different color groups to construct a colorful peacock picture.

ADAPTED FROM: Shape Up Somerville, Friedman School of Nutrition Tufts University, 2005