Paint Your Plate Lesson Plan Grade 2 – Colours of the Rainbow

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Minds on

Initiate a classroom discussion to get students thinking about how they could enjoy a variety of colourful vegetables and fruit each day.

Note to teachers

The goal of this lesson is for students to understand some of the different ways to include a variety of colourful vegetables and fruits each day.

Key messages to share with students

  • Whole foods, such as whole vegetables and fruit come in different shapes, sizes, colours, smells, and flavours.
  • Eating a variety of fruit and vegetables is important since each one provides different nutrients that our bodies need.
  • Vegetables and fruit are tasty and help children grow and stay healthy.
  • There are many ways to enjoy vegetables and fruit (e.g. a peeled banana, sliced peaches, whole blueberries added to plain yogurt, raw or cooked broccoli florets, peeled, boiled and mashed potatoes, etc.).

Dig deeper

Ontario grown vegetables and fruit

Veggies from A to Z

Fruits from A to Z

Teacher prompts

“Can you name vegetables and fruit that come in different colours of the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green and so on? These vegetables and fruit are not only different in colour, but they have different smells, sizes, shapes and flavours.”

“Let’s come up with ways to make sure we remember to have whole vegetables and fruit at home, at school and wherever we eat.”


Option 1: Explore the senses

Provide children the opportunity to experience different vegetables and fruit using their senses (sight, touch, smell, taste, and hearing). Allow children the freedom to choose which senses they want to use to explore with. Children should never be pressured (positively or negatively) to taste a new food as this can cause anxiety and an unhealthy relationship with food. Choose vegetables and/or fruit from the following themes:

  • Seasons – Explore vegetables and fruit that are in season and available locally.
  • Cultures – Have children from different cultural backgrounds suggest vegetables and fruit that they commonly eat at home (e.g. platanos, guava, etc.).
  • Colours – Explore different green vegetables (broccoli, green beans, kale) or orange fruit (peaches, nectarines) or a fruit and vegetable of the same color (red pepper and red cherry).
  • Alphabet – Explore vegetables and fruit of the same letter (e.g. apricots and apples, or melons and mangos). Refer to the book Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert for an alphabet of ideas.
  • Parts of the plant – Explore the different parts of vegetables and fruit that can be eaten:
    • Root: carrot, onion, potato, turnip, yam, beets;
    • Stem: asparagus, rhubarb, celery, fennel;
    • Leaf: spinach, chard, cabbage, lettuce, collards;
    • Flower: broccoli, cauliflower, artichoke;
    • Fruit (of the vegetable plant): squash, tomato, cucumber;
    • Seed: beans, corn, peas, soy beans.
  • Varieties – Compare different apples, pears, peppers, berries, etc., or compare the same food prepared different ways (for instance, raw apples versus applesauce, which is cooked; or raw versus steamed broccoli).

Option 2: I’m going on a picnic

Children take turns naming vegetables and fruit to follow the alphabet. Suggested Book: Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert.


  • Children sit in a circle and the teacher explains that the group is going on a picnic and needs to pack a vegetable or fruit that begins with each letter in the alphabet
  • Begin by saying “I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring an (apple, avocado, apricot, etc)”.
  • The next child repeats the line as well as the foods already listed and adds a food from the next letter in the alphabet.
  • The goal is for all children to pack vegetables or fruit for the picnic. When a child can’t remember something, the game ends and it’s time to start packing again!

Option 3: Make a rainbow

Break students into groups and provide them with pictures of whole vegetables and fruit that come in the different colours. Have students build a rainbow collage made up of vegetables and fruit of different colours, while naming, describing and giving an example of where they have eaten or would eat each one. Display collages around the classroom.

Curriculum connections

Grade 2. D2. Making Healthy Choices, D2.1 Healthy eating patterns

Use Canada’s food guide to identify food and beverage choices that contribute to healthy eating patterns.

Reference: The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8, Health and Physical Education, 2019