Award winning programs that help early childhood educators foster enthusiasm for healthy foods and active play in young children.

Free recipe from The Early Sprouts Cookbook

Would you like to try a nutritious recipe that can be prepared and served in your child care program?  Download this free recipe for a hearty, whole-grain cereal. Originally published in The Early Sprouts Cookbook, Hearty Apple & Raisin Cereal is easy to prepare, nutritious, and delicious, and it can be part of a CACFP breakfast.





Early Sprouts online trainings now approved in Minnesota

Early Sprouts Institute is pleased to announce that all three online trainings–Active Play Every Day, Growing Healthy Eaters, and the original Early Sprouts Online Training–are now approved for professional development in Minnesota. Upon completion of the trainings, you will receive a certificate and your participation will be logged with Minnesota's Develop system. Click on "Trainings" to learn more about the courses and how to register.

Tools for Preschool Gardeners

Preschool garden toolsEarly Sprouts vegetable gardens are primarily children's gardens. Children are involved in planting, growing, maintaining and harvesting vegetables and use child-friendly tools.


We are often asked what kind of tools should be available for young children to use in the garden. We recommend having the items below in both child and adult sizes. Keep in mind that when children garden, plants may get damaged accidentally and seeds may be sown in locations not intended. Both are part of the process and provide opportunities for learning and exploring.


  • Buckets
  • Spading fork to hand-till raised beds
  • Hand trowels
  • Harvesting baskets
  • Hoes
  • Hoses and sprinklers
  • Measuring sticks and rulers
  • Pruners (kept in a safe location)
  • Rakes
  • Row markers
  • Six-foot bamboo or wooden stakes to stake up tomato and pole bean plants
  • Shovels
  • Thick yarn and scraps from women’s hosiery for tying up plants
  • Tiller (hand or electric)
  • Watering cans
  • Wheelbarrow

Ready for more? For more, take the Early Sprouts Online Training or read Early Sprouts: Cultivating Healthy Food Choices in Young Children

© 2016 Early Sprouts Institute, all rights reserved.

Vegetable gardens promote health and wonder

You gotta come see this…

Early Sprouts -- Seed to TablePlanning, planting and tending to a vegetable garden is fun and can set the stage for young children’s appreciation of healthy foods.


Whether creating a small container garden or developing a large outdoor space, gardening helps children understand the source of the foods they eat. As they work with with the growing plants they establish a personal connection with the vegetables they are growing.


As our culture has become busier and less involved in food production and preparation, young children and their families are often more familiar with the appearance of frozen or canned vegetables than they are with fresh produce. Even many fresh vegetables are precut or wrapped in plastic for convenience. These store-bought vegetables in all their forms—fresh, frozen, or canned—bear little resemblance to their garden relatives.


By involving young children in planting seeds or seedlings, you’ll be offering them a connection to the natural world that is often missing in their lives. Visit the plants on a regular basis and watch children’s explorations, observations, and questions deepen as the plants grow. 

For more, take the Early Sprouts Online Training or read Early Sprouts: Cultivating Healthy Food Choices in Young Children


Illinois approves trainings for professional development hours

Early Sprouts - Active Play Every DayGreat news for early childhood educators in Illinois who are committed to fostering good health: all of Early Sprouts Institute's online trainings are now pre-approved for profesional development hours.


It's not too late to take advantage of the introductory discount for the Active Play Every Day training. Earn 6.5 hours and be prepared to integrate physical activity throughout the preschool day for just $19.50 (save 40%).


The popular Growing Healthy Eaters online training is also pre-approved for 7 hours, and 10 hours can be earned by completing the training for the award-winning Early Sprouts curriculum.


Active Play Every Day Training

Growing Healthy Eaters Training

Early Sprouts Training

Vermont approves Active Play Every Day for 6.5 professional development hours

APEDGood news for preschool teachers in Vermont: Active Play Every Day, the new online training, is pre-approved for 6.5 professional development hours! New Hampshire and Washington have also approved the course. More coming! In other states, check with your licensing bureau. 


Active Play Everyday is a 6.5 hour online interactive training, developed by the Early Sprouts Institute, that prepares early childhood educators to create early learning environments that deliberately and effectively integrate physical activity throughout the preschool day.

Learn about your role in children’s physical activity: Active Play Every Day

2Physical activity is vital to children's health and development!


This interactive training prepares early childhood educators to integrate physical activity with learning throughout the preschool day. 


Pre approved for 6.5 professional development hours in New Hampshire and Washington (STARS). In other areas, check with your state's licensing bureau.


Register now

Active Play Every Day objectives and list of modules

Growing Healthy Eaters online training

Growing Healthy EatersHelp children establish healthy eating behaviors that last a lifetime by enrolling in the Growing Healthy Eaters online training.


This interactive course also covers what early childhood educators need to support picky eaters, engage families, plan menus, manage food allergies, and more.


Pre approved for seven professional development hours in New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington (STARS). In other areas, check with your state's licensing bureau.


Register now.


For course details and comments from pilot testers click here.



Should food be used for play?

iStock_000020244951LargeDownload our latest Nutrition Tip Sheet

We are often asked this question from early childhood educators: Should food be used for play?


Food can be a terrific learning tool when it is respected as something that nourishes and sustains us. Download our new Nutrition Tip Sheet to learn how to use food in a respectful way. You’ll also find a fun and easy activity on “Comparing Bell Peppers.”


Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 4.54.29 PMDownload the Playing with Food Nutrition Tip Sheet and share with staff and families. It’s free!


Early Sprouts Playing with Food