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  • Writer's pictureKeith

Weekly Activities - Turnips and Planting

Book of the week

The Enormous Turnip by Irene Yates.


Based on the traditional fairy tale The Enormous Turnip, this vibrantly illustrated story is sure to become a favourite in every home. Find out what happens when a very, very large turnip doesn't want to be pulled out of the ground!

Weekly Activities

We started this weeks activity by hiding a turnip in a box in the middle of base camp. We explained that inside is a vegetable and we asked one of the children to take it out. We asked whether the children knew what type of vegetable it was. We passed the turnip around and discussed whether it was light or heavy and described the textures and colours. We talked about how they grow (underneath the ground) and showed pictures from the story we were going to read, ‘The Enormous Turnip’.

We explained that we were going to plant some turnip seeds, just like in the story, but we will need to wait a long time for the turnips to grow. We explained that we are also going to plant some sunflower seeds for the children to take home; they can see how long it takes for the sunflower to grow.

After reading the story, we facilitated conversations about why it is important to help each other and then lead re-enactments of The Enormous Turnip story. We helped the children tie a rope to a couple of tyres and then they had to try to pull it on their own at first but then working together as a team, just like the characters in the story did.

Fun turnip facts:

- They grew wild in Siberia when dinosaurs roamed the earth

- There are more than 30 different types with varying colours and shapes

- You can eat the green leaves as well as the root - they're both good for you!

- They're chock full of vitamins & minerals:- calcium, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamins A & C

- Health benefits include:- cancer prevention; eye health; bone health, muscle health; heart health

- You can boil them, steam them, grate them, roast them, sauté the leaves and finally, pickle them

Aims and Objectives

  • Listen to simple stories and understand what is happening

  • Learn new vocabulary e.g. hoe; heave; huge, vast, enormous

  • Re-enact a story

  • Explore and talk about different forces they can feel

  • Plant seeds and care for growing plants

  • Explore mark-making various natural materials

  • Develop gross motor skills and collaborate with others (when pulling the tyres)

Home Activity

Why not try your hand at turnip block printing. This is a fun way to get messy and creative with your child while producing some lovely works of art.

Begin by selecting your turnips.

TIP: Try to choose turnips in a variety of sizes so your children can make large and small designs.

Carefully cut your turnips in half and draw the design into the flat edge of the turnip. Cut around the outline with a sharp knife to create your very own turnip stamp.

TIP: Metal cookie cutters work great for getting an accurate outline of more complex designs.

Alternatively, cut thick slices of turnip and push a cookie cutter all the way through the turnip for a smaller stamp – great for getting more from your turnip.

TIP: Remember that, as much as your child will want to help out, knives are sharp! Either make sure an adult does the cutting or teach your child how to use a knife safely and supervise them while they practice chopping, slicing and cutting.

Use paper towels to blot the turnip and absorb any excess moisture, which could stop the washable paint from sticking to the stamp.

TIP: If you’re not in a rush to get started, it’s a good idea to leave your turnip to dry out more.

Apply a thin coating of paint to the design on the turnip, wiping off any excess or dripping paint. Move the stamp around in the paint to get an even coat.

TIP: Use Persil small & mighty to clean up any paint drips on clothes – it’s great for effectively removing yellow & blue washable paint.

Stamp the paper, card, or fabric (turnip printing works on almost anything) with the painted design and watch how your child creates their very own vegetable artwork.

TIP: Keep the stamp pressed on the paper for a few seconds for best results.

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