Bristol Food Network have compiled this list of ideas, activities and resources to help parents quickly find appropriate and high-quality content and inspiration for home-schooling. We’ve put together some of our favourite food-focussed learning resources, with contributions from Resource Futures and other Bristol food and education experts.  

How to use this guide: 

We’ve grouped the resources into Cooking & Nutrition, Food Waste, Growing, Food & Farming and Wildlife & Nature. Within each of these topics, you’ll find quick ideas and links to recommended websites and social media accounts, as well as more in-depth learning resources and lesson plans. To make it easier for you to find what you’re looking for, we’ve marked these resources with:

  • Prep time: how much time investment is required from you to set the lesson or activity up. ‘Short’ means click and go or just a few minutes’ worth of reading and preparing resources. ‘Long’ is likely to require upwards of 20 minutes of reading and prep. 
  • Duration: how long the activity is likely to last, based on how much material is provided. 
  • Year Group: the recommended school years the content is appropriate for. Many of the resources provide a range of activities and adaptations based on age and comprehension. This is only a guide, as much of the material could be adapted to suit your child. 

At the bottom we’ve also provided links to a couple of websites with lots of free lesson plans on all subjects. 

Cooking & Nutrition

Jo Ingleby, chef and children’s food consultant says: “This time at home gives children a great opportunity to try cooking with a little adult help, using ovens and pans. I try to encourage children to make their own creations rather than sticking too closely to recipes, and during these times where shops are low on some ingredients a little imagination is needed! Substitute any ingredients you don’t have and create your own versions of dishes; these are often better than the original versions. Here are a few recipes and websites that can give children a bit of inspiration.”  

Jo has shared her top recommendations, which are included below with those from Bristol Food Network. 

Learning in the kitchen: 

Recipes and cooking activities: 

  • Jo Ingelby’s recipe to cook with kids: Jo’s recipes are aimed at children cooking with a tiny bit of adult help, with heat and using cheap ingredients. 
  • Fuss Free Foodie: Another local diamond is Fuss Free Foodie, a blog aimed more at parents but with lots of ideas and recipes. 
  • Nomster Chef recipes: Fun recipe picture books and videos for kids to follow with their adults.
  • My World Kitchen: Talented young cooks take over the kitchen and celebrate their heritage by cooking some very special recipes. We find out where these dishes and ingredients come from along the way. 
  • Make Bake Create: Videos with ideas for recipes and craft activities. 

Learning Resources:

Table of Delights:
Explore foods with this fun interactive website, full of great video content, activity ideas and lesson plans. The website is set up perfectly for independent learning and exploration. 
Prep time: Short
Duration: Short to Long
Year Group: EY +


Table of Delights: Learning in the Kitchen Lesson Plans
Lesson plans with a recipe, with information, topics and ideas linking to National Curriculum content, for English, Maths, Science, Geography and more. Topics include Healthy Eating & Nutrition, Provenance, Cultural Diversity and Sustainability. Adapt your activity and conversation to suit your child’s age. 
Prep time: Medium to Long 
Duration: Medium to Long
Year Group: EY to Year 9 

Nomster Chef: Learning Through Cooking
Nomster Chef has four kitchen lesson plans; Creativity, Problem Solving, Fractions and Art. Help develop skills such as divergent thinking, idea generating and creativity through food exploration. Each lesson has the suggested age group on the first page. 
Prep time: Short 
Duration: Medium to Long
Year Group: EY to Year 9

Food a Fact of Life: Cooking and Healthy Eating Lessons: 
Full lesson plans and printable resources for all age groups up to Secondary. 
Prep time: Medium to Long
Duration: Medium to Long
Year Group: EY to Year 11 


Food Waste

The average family wastes £60 worth of food every month. Furthermore, a staggering 7 million tonnes of food and drink are thrown away every year across homes in the UK, most of which is perfectly edible. Wasting food is not only an issue in our homes, but also in our schools. Food waste accounts for almost half of the overall waste (by weight) from primary schools in England, and almost a third from secondary schools.  

Why is this important? When we throw away food, it’s not only the food we waste, but also the water, time, energy and fuel that went into the growing, harvesting, storing, transporting and cooking! An estimated 80,382 tonnes of food waste are produced annually by schools in England (per 40 week school year). Out of this amount, over 78% is avoidable!  

If we all stopped wasting edible food, the benefit for the planet would be the equivalent of taking 1 in 4 cars off the road. You can find tips and ideas for reducing domestic food waste here, on the Going For Gold website. 

Quick inspiration: 

Activities

  • Bristol Waste have created a food waste BINgo game! Watch a short introduction video here and follow this link to find the worksheet.
  • Conduct a food waste audit. Over the course of a week or two, help your children record all the food that ends up getting thrown away. This includes food that has gone past its best, as well as cooked food thrown at the end of the meal. Use a template like this one to help record, track and challenge your waste. 
  • Conduct a fridge audit. Ask your kids to go through your fridge (and cupboards) and make a list of what is in there and what the use-by and best-before dates are (discuss the difference between these two). Then ask them to design some recipes to use up those closest to their dates. They could try using Supercook or Plant Jammer to generate ideas. 
  • Build or buy a compost bin or a wormery for your garden or outdoor space. Here are two useful guides for building, or buy one from Worm City
  • Write a poem about food waste and enter it into Too Good To Go’s poetry competition for under 11s!

Learning Resources: 

Make A Meal Of It
This resource pack was designed for use in schools, but if you skip down to page 20 you’ll find some excellent content and lesson activities. Page 38 onwards has a host of learning resource suggestions in subjects ranging from poetry to ICT, numeracy to history. 
Prep time: Medium to Long
Duration: Medium to Long
Year Group: Year 3 to 8

A Different Way of Looking At Waste
A beautiful resource pack from WWF with lessons focusing on food waste and packaging. 
Prep time: Medium 
Duration: Medium to Long
Year Group: Year 3 to 8

Zero Waste Scotland
Lessons and activities for all ages, based on the Scottish National Curriculum, but with plenty of excellent, well-laid out content. Learn about food waste through Art, English, Maths and more. 
Prep time: Medium to Long 
Duration: Medium to Long
Year Group: Year 1 to 11

Too Good To Go
Food waste action group TGTG have developed a range of learning materials, including lessons, case studies and quizzes. Each helpfully has an activity duration. 
Prep time: Short to Medium
Duration: Short to Long
Year Group: Year 6 to 13

Do Good Save Food
The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) has created these comprehensive learning materials on food waste. They are quite dense, but there are great lessons, information and activities to be found with a little skimming. You can access them for free through TGTG’s website. 
Prep time: Medium to Long 
Duration: Medium to Long
Year Group: Year 1 to 11


Growing

Research has shown that gardening helps children acquire essential life-skills, which enable them to adjust in a rapidly changing world and make a positive contribution to society as a whole. Urban growing has many benefits. Key among these is its potential to reduce barriers for citizens to consume more locally grown produce. 

If you’re looking to purchase seed, Sara Venn at Incredible Edible Bristol recommends taking a look at their online favourites: Vital Seeds, Real Seeds and The Seed Cooperative. As well as Sutton’s, and Thompson & Morgan. To find compost and other tools/equipment have a look at Almondsbury Garden CentreGrow Wilder, previously Feed Bristol, have now started delivering wildflower, vegetable and herb plugs! Head to our section on growing for more resources and links

Sara has provided us with more great recommendations, which are included below alongside those from Bristol Food Network. 

Quick inspiration: 

  • For beginner gardeners there are a couple of useful links to get you started from The Guardian and Kids Country.
  • Incredible Edible Bristol are doing daily videos on their Facebook and Instagram stories, and you can ask them questions in the comments. 
  • The Skinny Jean Gardener is doing daily garden-a-longs with kids on Facebook.
  • The Dog Wood Days blog has ideas on Garden Schooling and blogs on Gardening, Unusual Crops, Plot to Plate and Sustainability.  
  • There is a lot of inspirational sharing going on, on Instagram. Try following the hashtags: 
    #kidsgardeningclub, #gardeningwithchildren, #childrensgarden, #farmingwithchildren or the following accounts: @grown_it, @muddyfingersgardenclub, @life@no27, @skinnyjeangardener 

Activities: 

Learning Resources: 

Sustainable Soils: 
A lovely lesson on soils, with slides, notes, worksheet and videos. 
Prep time: Medium 
Duration: Medium to Long
Year Group: Year 3 to 5

RHS School Gardening
A huge number of activities, information sheets, lesson plans, projects and growing tips. You can also browse by subject, time of year and length of activity. 
Prep time: Short to Long
Duration: Short to Long
Year Group: EY +

Garden Organic Schools Resources
A comprehensive list of gardening activities, with learning topics and instructions, plus games, projects, posters, advice and more. 
Prep time: Medium to Long
Duration: Short to Long
Year Group: Year 3 +

RHS Complete Lesson Plans
A number of lesson plans of varying length covering National Curriculum content for a range of subjects, including Art & Design, Science, Geography, Maths and Design & Technology. 
Prep time: Medium to Long
Duration: Medium to Long
Year Group: Year 3 to 9


Food and Farming

Understanding where food comes from, how it is produced, and the impact agriculture has on our planet and our health is so important for children. Farming is arguably the most important job there is. Once we comprehend the enormity of the role food and farming plays in shaping our climate, our environment and our bodies, we are more able to make informed choices and become responsible consumers.  

Quick Inspiration: 

  • For educational and inspirational content on all things food, from growing, to cooking, to food systems, follow Bristol-based food educators grOWN IT on Instagram and Facebook.  

Activities: 

  • Countryside Online and EatFarmNow have created a range of activities for Lockdown Learning to open young eyes and inspire children to learn more about British farming, from the food we eat to the countryside we all treasure. 

Learning Resources: 

Sustainable Learning: 
This fantastic site has compiled hundreds of free learning resources about sustainability, including lots about food and farming. Filter by age, subject, duration and theme. 
Prep time: Medium to Long
Duration: Medium to Long
Year Group: EY to Year 9

Food: A Fact Of Life
A really useful site with full lesson plans, presentations, printable resources, activity packs and more about all things food for all ages. For younger learners, delve into the activity packs and look at Learn With Stories. Older learners can explore resources independently. Many topics include a presentation, worksheet and quiz for learners to follow. There is also lots of good video content. On this page they have created a useful list of ideas split into topic and time investment. Here you’ll find interactive resources for children to use independently on the computer. 
Prep time: Medium to Long
Duration: Medium to Long
Year Group: EY to Year 11

Bumblebee Conservation Trust: Learning Zone
Comprehensive, well designed resources with games, activities, worksheets and lessons to learn about bees and pollination, ready to print and go. Indoor and outdoor activities to explore for all ages.
Prep time: Short to Medium
Duration: Short to Long
Year Group: EY to Year 11

Science and Plants for Schools
Download entire textbooks, access presentations, interviews and videos for Science learning at both primary and secondary level. This is not the most user-friendly website, and is most useful for older learners researching topics independently. 
Prep time: Medium to Long
Duration: Medium to Long
Year Group: Year 7 +

Why Farming Matters
This popular teaching resource has a downloadable booklet with topics, activities and ideas. The corresponding videos can be found on the website and you might find you need a printer for some of the activities.
Prep time: Medium to Long 
Duration: Medium to Long
Year Group: Year 3 to 7

Plant2Plate
The WWF has created a number of beautiful learning packs. All the activities featured are linked to the National Curriculum and are designed to help introduce pupils to the issues of food and sustainability, encouraging pupils to reflect on the active role that they can play in the global community. 
Prep time: Medium to Long
Duration: Medium to Long
Year Group: Year 1 to 6

Wildlife and Nature

If you have access to outdoor space, this time of year is a wonderful time to engage with nature. If you don’t have space, you’ll find ideas that you can incorporate into your daily walks, indoor craft activities, or even try bird spotting from your window.  

Lucy Hellier, Learning Development Manager at Avon Wildlife Trust, has suggested a host of great ideas that we included below, alongside those from Bristol Food Network. 

Quick inspiration: 

  • The Wildlife Trust have provided lots of lovely activity ideas for the garden and when you’re out on your walks to bring you closer to nature and help look after it, too! 
  • Find some pens that will write on leaves, pick an assortment of leaves and get creative. Draw pictures and patterns, trace the veins, add dots and practise maths skills. See this post on Muddy Faces for inspiration.  
  • Have you kids create a trail for you to follow around your garden (or around the house) using sticks and stones and a simple code. Find the code suggestions on this post
  • My Wild Child Facebook page has activity ideas and will be releasing a video each week aimed at the under 5s. It’s a closed group, but you can apply to join. 

Activities: 

  • Get Earthwise have a range of simple and lovely outdoor activities.
  • The Harmony Project have a selection of activity ideas to encourage children to explore principles such as diversity, oneness, interdependence and adaptation.
  • This latest blog from Dog Wood Days brings creative writing and art into the garden. 
  • RSPB Fun and Learning: This site has family-friendly activity ideas and facts for learning, plus nature inspired stories, both written and audio. Plenty of these activities are good for indoor/wet-weather learning. There is also a section with some games children can play independently. 
  • Muddy Faces: Lots of wonderful wild ideas, from building, foraging and cooking to teaching literacy and maths with nature. 
  • Avon Wildlife Trust activities: More activities from the Avon Wildlife Trust with a bit more detail and information 
  • Devon Wildlife Trust: More activity ideas as well as games and quizzes
  • Explore British Wildlife: Learn about the wonderful diversity of animals and plants in UK Woodland, as well as different types of woodland environment. Top ID tips on UK animals and plants, from insects and spiders to birds, bees and trees. Plus, blog with activity ideas. 

Learning Resources:

Young People’s Trust for the Environment:
This site holds a host of information around all things environmental and nature based. There are sections for younger children, for teenagers and for parents, as well as a section designed for teachers with lesson plans for the committed home schooler. You’ll find facts, videos, galleries and games. They’ve also created these home-learning packs that they are releasing weekly. An excellent resource.
Prep time: Short to Long
Duration: Short to Long
Year Group: Year 3+

RSPB For Teachers
In this section of the RSPB website aimed at teachers, you’ll find numerous wildlife activities with downloadable PDF guides, plus a link to an extensive list of learning resources, including full lesson plans from the RSPB on TES. 
Prep time: Short to Long
Duration: Short to Long
Year Group: EY +


General

For lesson plans and learning resources on all subjects and for all ages we recommend: 

who have both released free materials for parents during school closures. 

Back to Bristol’s Good Food Response