Little Prints Daycare Toronto, Childcare Centre North York

At Little Prints Daycare, we have a Teaching Garden at our Blessed Trinity location, and we believe in fostering a holistic approach to children’s development, where education meets hands-on experience. Recently, we hosted a delightful Fall Harvest event that aimed to connect our Little Prints – Blessed Trinity “Little Gardeners” with nature through an array of engaging activities. From selecting various in-season produce to picking potatoes and sunflowers, the event was a celebration of learning, exploration, and healthy living.

The children sat down with Executive Director, Irene Udo, to learn about the produce that was farmed for them, through Little Prints’ partnership with Moondance Organic Gardens. Each child was able to engage with the produce, by ‘harvesting’ a squash of their choice out of our blue canoe, a number of potatoes from a garden bed, and a sunflower they could harvest seeds from to use as bird feed. The children were given a Fall Harvest Market Bag to put their produce in, which also included two recipes, one for Crispy Smashed Potatoes and one for Roasted Maple Squash, which they could use with their families to cook the fresh fall produce they took home from the Little Prints Fall Harvest. Through these interactive experiences, we witnessed firsthand the numerous ways in which children benefit from engaging with fresh, seasonal produce.

5 Ways Children Benefit From Engaging With Fresh In-Season Produce

1. SENSORY DEVELOPMENT

Picking out fresh produce engages multiple senses, allowing children to experience different textures, colors, smells, and tastes. This sensory exploration helps in refining their sensory development, enhancing their ability to distinguish between various sensations, fostering a deeper connection with the natural world.

2. NUTRITIONAL AWARENESS

Involving children in selecting fresh, in-season produce exposes them to different types of fruits and vegetables, increasing their awareness of healthy food choices. This hands-on experience can lead to a better understanding of the importance of a balanced diet and the nutritional benefits of consuming fresh, seasonal produce.

3. ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

By participating in picking out fresh produce, children learn about the agricultural process and gain insight into where their food comes from. This experience fosters a sense of environmental responsibility, teaching them about the importance of farming, sustainability, and the impact of their food choices on the planet.

4. LIFE SKILLS & RESPONSIBILITY

Selecting produce and participating in activities like harvesting squash, potatoes and sunflowers instills a sense of responsibility in children. It teaches them the value of hard work, patience, and care for living things, contributing to the development of essential life skills and a sense of accomplishment.

5. CULINARY EXPLORATION

Providing recipes and encouraging children to use the produce they’ve chosen for healthy meals involves them in the culinary process. This hands-on involvement fosters creativity, improves their cooking skills, and promotes a positive attitude towards trying new foods and experimenting with different flavours and ingredients.

During the Fall Harvest our Little Prints children discovered the wonders of fresh, in-season produce. From sensory development to nutritional awareness, environmental education to culinary exploration, each child has gained invaluable insights and skills. Encouraging children to engage with nature and healthy food choices not only enhances their development but also instills a lifelong appreciation for the natural world and the importance of making mindful choices. We are thrilled to have shared these enriching experiences and through our Little Prints – Blessed Trinity Teaching Garden, we look forward to continuing to nurture a love for learning and healthy living among our young minds.

Recipes for Crispy Smashed Potatoes & Roasted Maple Squash