Whether it’s creative cooking in the kitchen, huffing away on a hiking trail, or tackling a food-themed craft project, your entire family will benefit when you practice healthy togetherness. Here are some smart, active ideas to try this summer.
Grab some sidewalk chalk and see if you or your kids can draw the world’s longest family hopscotch game down your sidewalk. See who can hop the most spaces without stopping!
Play "Produce ABC’s" at the supermarket. Challenge kids to find fruits or vegetables that begin with as many letters of the alphabet as possible. Try at least one new letter each week. For inspiration, read The ABCs of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond by Steve Charney and David Goldbeck.
Calculate the "long cut" when walking to school, the store or a friend’s house. Then see if you can add in a few hills, stairways or secret paths through the woods. When you create an adventure, it doesn’t seem like exercise. Pedometers can also make walking more fun for kids.
Crown a family member "Cook of the Day" once a week. This child or adult is in charge of planning a healthy menu that includes at least four of the five food groups*. Other family members serve as grocery shoppers, cook's helpers or cleanup crew.
*If you need a refresher course on the food groups, visit www.mypyramid.gov
Create a piñata shaped like a fruit or vegetable for the next family birthday party. Fill it with healthy prizes such as pedometers, pencils, stickers, movie coupons and sugarless gum.
Put all electronics on "pause" one day each week. That includes television, video games, computers and yes, even your electronic planners and cell phones. Then go skating, ride bikes, swim or hike together. Or let your kids pick a new sport for the family to try.
Plant a small vegetable garden this spring. Dig in the dirt together and you'll all want to eat your veggies! As a family, visit a local garden center to get inspiration. Buy some seeds or seedlings and other garden necessities such as soil, containers, organic fertilizer and garden tools.
Challenge your kids to create a TV commercial designed to sell healthy food. Ask them to perform for family members, friends or neighbors. Be sure to record it with your video camera.
Begin storing your favorite healthy family recipes on your computer. Before long you can publish your very own family cookbook. Be sure to illustrate it with your kids’ one-of-a-kind artwork.
Source: Feeding Kids e-newsletter at nutritionforkids.com