I love teaching my children about food because it is something that everyone wants to talk about, no matter how old or how young. Food also lends itself to creative ESL lesson plans as you can do so many different things with it. In this post, I want to give you some tools and ideas to help you teach your children about tasty, healthy vegetables.
If you are looking for our set of vegetable flashcards, you can click here to download them for free.
If you want ideas on how to practice some of these vocabulary words, take a look at our post on board games. It includes a free board game that you can download.
List of Vegetables in English
In this list of vegetables, we have included pictures and the plural forms of each vegetable to help you teach your child. It is usually a good idea to teach both the singular and plural forms of nouns at the same time so that children can get used to them. Too often I see lessons focusing on the singular, and then children get confused when they need to spell or say these vegetables in their plural form. Not to mention, in most cases we are going to be using plurals, like in sentences like “I like carrots.”
As some people may have noticed, not all of the vegetables on this list can just have an s or es added to make them plural. Vegetables that are often consumed in pieces are considered non-countable, and so we need to use specific measure words to account for them. This is the case with cauliflower, broccoli, and garlic which are all counted as “heads.” So one head of cauliflower can be cut up into many pieces of cauliflower, but we will never have two cauliflowers.
You may also notice that lettuce and spinach are uncountable. Individual portions of these two vegetables are called leaves, and larger packs are generally called heads of lettuce and bunches of spinach.
One final note, I recognize that not all of the items on this list are technically vegetables. However, I find that items like mushrooms and tomatoes are far better taught alongside the vegetable vocabulary as children rarely care about the technicalities of what is a fruit, vegetable, or fungus.
Potato (two potatoes)
Yam (two yams)
Beet (two beets)
Cauliflower (two heads of cauliflower / two pieces or florets of cauliflower)
Broccoli (two heads of broccoli / two pieces or florets of broccoli)
Carrot (two carrots)
Pumpkin (two pumpkins)
Cucumber (two cucumbers)
Green Bean (two green beans)
Zucchini (two zucchini)
Spinach (two spinach leaves / two bunches of spinach)
Lettuce (two lettuce leaves / two heads of lettuce)
Radish (two radishes)
Bell Pepper (two bell peppers)
Hot Pepper (two hot peppers)
Onion (two onions)
Tomato (two tomatoes)
Garlic (two cloves of garlic / two heads or bulbs of garlic)
Mushroom (two mushrooms)
Drawing is one of my favorite ways to teach children. It may be because I always preferred quiet learning methods as a child. But also, there is something amazing about letting kids draw and showcase their imaginations.
I like to combine drawing and flashcards so that children can feel a sense of ownership of their flashcards. It also means that you can be sure that they know what each vegetable is as they had to draw them themselves.
Drawing is also an incredibly powerful memory tool. Students who draw the vocabulary words that they are trying to remember are far more likely to remember them than students who only write them down. This is because when your child draws, they are forming neural connections in their brain. So, encouraging your child to draw vocabulary is not only fun for them, but it also will help them remember it better.
Although I think children should make their own vegetable flashcards, as it gives them a chance to digest what they have learned and fix it in their memory, I also understand that some kids don’t like to draw. As well, some children can get frustrated if they feel they can’t draw well. This dislike or frustration will only turn them off of the activity. For these children, we have made some of our own flashcards that you can use. If it helps, you could also use these as guides for them to help them draw. Or, print out our pre-made ones and have them color the pictures themselves.
Once you have some vegetable flashcards, you can play games with them. Try not to use them for only memory drills. If children come to associate the flashcards with games, then they are far more likely to want to make more and play with them. More playing and interest means better overall English learning and growth.
If you need some ideas on flashcard games, you can take a look at our post on phonics games. In short, you can play memory games, hide the flashcard games, race games, or anything else you can think of. Just keep it fun and keep it engaging.
Also, take a look at our post on board games which includes a free board game that you can download.
How to Practice Vegetable Vocabulary
Songs and Videos – Practicing Vegetables in English
Songs and videos are another great way for children to learn things. Luckily, children usually like them too. Here is some awesome content to help you teach your children about vegetables.
Cooking and Eating – Practicing Vegetables in English
What better way is there to teach your child about vegetables than to cook and eat them? Obviously, you need to keep things as safe as possible while cooking, but involving your child while you are cooking and making them your helper is a great chance to practice food vocabulary. Have them help you wash the vegetables, get them from the refrigerator any other tasks that they can do safely.
Make a Salad
Salads are not only healthy, but they are also really easy to make. Use salad making time as a time to review and teach vegetable vocabulary. Start by bringing out any vegetables you have in your fridge (or anything else you might want in the salad). Then, let your child pick out different things to include. You can do any chopping needed, but maybe your child can rip up the lettuce or wash up the tomatoes. Giving your child the choice of what goes into the salad will get them more involved in the task. Making a salad for dinner can be an easy, repeatable activity you can do every day with your child to practice this vocabulary.
Hummus and Veggies
Hummus is a tasty Mediterranean dip made from spices, olive oil, and chickpeas. Hummus can be fun to make for kids as it requires some smashing, especially if you don’t have a food processor. It can also be paired with any kind of vegetable. So let your child pick out their favorite veggies and make this fun afternoon snack.
This post from The Spruce Eats has a list of great, kid-friendly hummus ideas and recipes.
Make Your Own Pizza
What kid doesn’t like pizza? The great thing about this is you can put in as much or as little work as you want. For those who are less cooking inclined, you can buy pre-made crusts and pre-made sauce. Then you can let your child pick out different toppings that they want. This can be another awesome opportunity to practice their food vocabulary in a fun and engaging way.
Gardens and Grocery Stores – Practicing Vegetables in English
The idea behind a lot of these ways to practice English is to bring English into your child’s everyday life. Growing up, I would often go to the supermarket with my mother and sit in the buggy while she picked out food. I am sure it is the same for many of you. So, next time you are at the supermarket, why not involve your child in picking out the veggies? They don’t have to be in charge of everything, but letting them pick out the best tomato or the biggest head of cauliflower could get them thinking about vegetables in English.
Gardens are another great way to bring vegetables into your child’s life. Children are fascinated by living things. Get them involved by letting them buy their own seeds. If you already have a garden, let them take over a small corner for their own plants. If not, you can grow bean sprouts or herbs on window ledges. Either way, this can be a fun English and science lesson all rolled into one.
Reading – Practicing Vegetables in English
Reading is never a bad idea. If your child loves reading, why not get them a vegetable themed book after they have learned some vegetable vocabulary? Books are a great opportunity for kids to reinforce what they have learned in a fun and low-pressure environment. If your child is too young to read, you can take a look here to get tips on how to read with your child effectively.
To get you started, we have found some wonderful lists of vegetable books that you can look into. Or, take a look at your local library to see if there are any vegetable books there.
- 12 Wonderful Books for Kids About Vegetables
- Best Children’s Books About Gardening
- Vegetables: Books for Kids
- 6 Veggie-Focused Picture Books That Emphasize the Fun in Vegetables
Vocabulary games are always a great way to practice vegetable vocabulary. To help you out we have made a whole post on different vocabulary games you can play with your child.
This post includes two games that you can download and play with your child. As well, we give you ideas on how to use your new vegetable flashcards in fun and useful ways to teach your child about food in English.
More Food Vocabulary
If you are looking for more food vocabulary and food flashcards, take a look at our food in English home page. We have lessons on all 5 food groups and common drinks. You can get there by clicking on the image below.
Food is a wonderful way to get your child used to speaking English every day because everyone loves food. If a child is interested in a subject, they are far more likely to learn it. Making food preparation time an English part of the day, means you can have your child expand their vocabulary in a fun and healthy way. I hope that I have given you all of the resources and ideas you will need to teach your child about vegetables. If there is anything else you think would help you, or if you have any questions, please feel free to comment below so we can help you bond with your child through English learning.