The Never Ever Dinner Plate is a matching card game for preschool, kindergarten and language learner populations. The pictures are not age related so can be used for a variety of ages. It can be used to review the negatives (never, not), the concepts of match, full, half, and food vocabulary and categories. It can be used to talk about a balanced diet if you have a nutrition program. It can be used as a table activity, small group, or classroom. Students enjoy playing and do not realize they are learning.
I have used it with small groups and as a table activity for a whole class. The materials are enough for 10 students at one table. Just print out another set if you have more students and another table group. The cards are meant to be printed on cardstock or backed with colored paper so they can’t be seen through. Cut them apart, and laminate for durability.
Instructions: You will need a plate mat and 3 pictured food items that match the outlines of the foods on the plate for each child in the group. I make a set of plates for each table so that each child will have a different plate. 3 food items on each plate mean 30 food cards for each table group of 10 plates. Just take sets out if your table group is smaller.
The meals are balanced so dairy, vegetables, fruit, proteins, and grains are represented. Print out a set of non food items (12 pictures) for each table group. These are the items a child would never eat. The cards, including the nonfood items, are mixed and placed face down in rows in the center of the table. Children take turns flipping one card over on their turn to see if it matches a food item on their plate. If it matches they can place it on their plate. If it doesn’t matches they turn the card back over. If it’s a non food item, emphasize that children “never” eat it. It is “not” food. The nonfood item is then flipped back over. They are basically foil cards.
While you are playing you can discuss categories of food and if their plate is ½ full empty etc. Technically the game is over when one of the children fills their plate with the food items matching the black and white line drawings. I have found the younger children usually like to help everyone find their food. After a round, I have them swap plates and they always seem eager to have different food items.