Sometimes, when staff at the Ontario Science Centre’s KidSpark Food Basket play area are walking through the space at the end of the day, they will find (fake) fish and lobsters “set free” in the water play section, where kids can splash and play in a big grey basin filled to the brim with water.
That’s just one example of how kids learn about food at KidSpark’s Food Basket—although it might not seem like food-based education at first glance.
It is though, says Andrea Elliott, Senior Manager, Programs & Strategy for President’s Choice Children’s Charity, which worked with the Science Centre to reimagine KidSpark’s food-related activities in 2019. “Children are making the connection between the food they eat and their environment,” she explains. “It’s the first step to knowing where your food comes from, which we know leads to empowering children to grow and cook for themselves.”
For President’s Choice Children’s Charity, working on a new and improved Food Basket and Food Truck Alley at KidSpark was an important part of its mission, ensuring Canadian children are empowered with the skills to discover food. This space provided an opportunity to reach younger children who aren’t currently participating in the charity’s school programs — plus, collaborating with the Science Centre to come up with the most interesting and exciting activities was a fun opportunity to offer kids food knowledge through play-based learning.