Colorful Array of Fruit and Vegetables

Rainbow of Foods

Children will learn about the characteristics of fruits and vegetables.

Colorful Array of Fruit and Vegetables

Lesson Objective

Children will learn the characteristics fruits and vegetables, including size, color, shape, and texture, and that fruits and vegetables can match the colors of a rainbow.


What You'll Need

  • Several actual fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, pears, carrots, bananas, lemons, cucumbers, blueberries, and strawberries (make sure that the colors of the foods match the colors in a rainbow)
  • Fruit and vegetables printout Download Printout
  • Picture of a rainbow
  • Safety scissors - 1 pair per child
  • 24" by 36" sheet of butcher paper
  • Glue sticks - 1 per table
  • Crayons

What To Do

Note: Prior to the start of the lesson, using a pencil, lightly draw (and color, if desired) a rainbow on the butcher paper.

  1. Display the fruits and vegetables, and discuss with the children the many characteristics of fruits and vegetables; including color, size, shape, and texture.
  2. Have the children describe the color of each of the foods (see Guiding Student Inquiry).
  3. Ask the children if they can think of something that has the same colors of the fruits and vegetables in front of them (if no one mentions a rainbow, lead them to this conclusion).
  4. Display the rainbow picture, and discuss how the colors of the fruits and vegetables match the colors in the rainbow.
  5. Tell the children that they will be sorting pictures of fruits and vegetables by color and gluing them on paper to make a class “rainbow of foods” poster.
  6. Distribute several of the fruits and vegetables pictures to each child (see Lesson Tips).
  7. Have the children name the color of each of the food pictures and then use the crayons to color the pictures appropriately.
  8. Distribute scissors, and instruct the children to cut the excess paper off their pictures.
  9. Distribute glue sticks, and help the children glue their pictures into the appropriate color band.
  10. Display the rainbow of foods in your classroom.

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Describe the fruit/vegetable.
  • Compare two of the foods: How are they different? How are they the same?
  • Tell me something you know that has the same colors as these fruits and vegetables.

Explore, Extend & Integrate

  • Have the children help sort the fruits and vegetables by different characteristics; size, shape, and texture.
  • Another day, discuss the healthy benefits of eating as many different fruits and vegetables as there are colors of the rainbow. Ask the children which fruits and vegetables they may have eaten during lunch. Keep color tallies of the foods, and discuss eating a rainbow of foods.
  • Place a variety of plastic fruits and vegetables in the dramatic play area. The children can sort them by size, color, and shape.
  • Give each child a square of each color of construction paper. Children can glue pictures of foods onto their own “rainbow” cards.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Could children describe the colors of the fruits/vegetables?
  • Could children explain the similarities and differences in the fruits and vegetables?
  • Could children explain that the colors of the fruits and vegetables match the colors in a rainbow?


Did You Know?

Fruits and vegetables come from a variety of different plants. Fruits grow on trees, bushes, and vines. Vegetables come from different plant parts, such as leaves, stems, and roots. Fruits and vegetables have different characteristics; they can be smooth, bumpy, shiny, dull, long, short, round, fuzzy, soft, or hard. Fruits have seeds, but vegetables do not. Some things that we usually identify as vegetables—such as tomatoes—are actually fruits. The one thing fruits and vegetables have in common is that they are colorful.

Fruits and vegetables give us vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that help keep our bodies healthy and strong. The more fruits and vegetables we eat, the better it is for our health. One way to eat the foods we need to stay healthy is to eat a variety of the many fruits and vegetables that are the colors of the rainbow.

Vocabulary: Child-Friendly Definitions

  • rainbow – a curved arc of light of many colors across the sky.
  • fruit – the part of a plant that has seeds and flesh.
  • vegetable – the stem, leaves, or root of a plant that is used for food.
  • characteristic – a part of something that makes it different from other things.
  • texture – the look or feel of a surface.
  • sort – to put things into groups.

Lesson Tips

  • You could provide magazines with pictures of fruits and vegetables that children can cut out and glue onto the rainbow. Seed catalogs and supermarket flyers are great sources of food pictures.
  • Some of the children may be hungry. Cut the foods into bite sized pieces; compare and discuss the outside and inside of the foods—how are they similar, how are they different;  and allow the children to eat them as a snack.


  • Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert
  • Rainbow Stew by Cathryn Falwell
  • The Fruits We Eat by Gail Gibbons
  • The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons

Home School Resources

Home educators: use these printable lesson PDFs to teach this lesson to your home schoolers. They're available in English and Spanish.

Home/School Connections

Las Conexiones a la Casa

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Content Provided By

Common Core State Standards Initiative – These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge [1]. Visit the CCSS