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An Apple a Day . . .

A Harvest assembly - What do our bodies need?

by Rachael Crisp

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To use the paintings of Giuseppe Arcimboldo to reflect upon the season of Harvest.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (An Apple a Day) and the means to display them.

  • Optional: you may wish to light a candle for the ‘Time for reflection’ part of the assembly, in which case you will also need the means to do so.


  1. Explain that you are going to show a series of images and you want the children to look at them carefully and try to identify the fruit and vegetables in the images.

  2. Show Slides 1-5.

    As the images are displayed, have a short discussion with the children about the fruit and vegetables that are displayed.

    Ask the following questions.
    Who has eaten the different vegetables/fruit?
    What are the children’s favourite fruit and vegetables?
    Why would an artist use fruit in such a way?

  3. Explain that the images are of paintings by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, who lived between 1527 and 1593. Arcimboldo was an Italian painter whose most famous paintings include his paintings of human heads that are constructed from various fruits and vegetables and tree roots. From a distance, Arcimboldo’s paintings look similar to regular portraits. However, when you get up close to them, it becomes clear that the paintings are carefully constructed still-life pieces.

  4. Show Slides 6-7.

    Ask the children to look at the images and consider why they are titled ‘Four seasons’.

  5. Explain that Arcimboldo’s paintings can remind us of the celebration of Harvest. Harvest is a celebration of thankfulness to God for all the food that we enjoy and in particular, the fruit and vegetables that come from the ground.

  6. Arcimboldo’s paintings also remind us of the different types of food that our bodies need to keep healthy. Food keeps our bodies powered. Like petrol or diesel keep a car going, humans need food to keep their bodies going. The foods that we eat provide us with nutrients that will help us to grow, give us energy to move and help to prevent us from becoming unwell.

  7. Ask the children if they can think of some of the nutrients that are essential for our bodies. Answers could include protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, water, fibre and so on. Discuss why the nutrients are needed by our bodies. For example, carbohydrates and fats give us energy, protein helps to grow and repair our bodies and the mineral, calcium, helps to keep our bones strong.

  8. Point out that in the same way that the fruit and vegetables make up the people seen in Arcimboldo’s paintings, so the things that we eat influence what our physical bodies will be like. Food is very important!

  9. Remind the children that we have a lot to be thankful for. Harvest is a good time not only to be thankful for our food, but also to remember those who don’t have enough to eat. Remind the children that some people do not have much food. Some people do not know if they will eat tomorrow or if they will go to bed hungry.

  10. If possible, relate the idea of people being hungry to a charity or community event aimed at helping those in need. Examples could be a local food bank, a charity working with disadvantaged people or charities abroad. Encourage the children to think about how they could help this Harvest-time.

Time for reflection

Optional: light a candle as you say the following words.

As we light this candle, let’s think about what we have heard and how this affects us.

Let’s think for a moment about our favourite food. When did you last eat it?

Let’s think about the times when we are hungry, maybe just before the bell goes for lunchtime or when we arrive home from school. What would it be like to wake up hungry every day and to realize that there was nothing to eat?

Let’s look for ways in which we can help people in need.

Dear God,
Thank you for the talents that you give us.
Thank you for creative people like
Giuseppe Arcimboldo.
Thank you that we can look at his pictures and remember that food helps to keep our bodies strong.
Please help us always to think of those who have less than we do.
Please help us to care for them and to do what we can to make their lives better.


Publication date: September 2020   (Vol.22 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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