Healthy Al, Healthy Me Celebration: Awesome!

~ Celebrating Children’s Healthy Choices ~

Who knew learning about making healthy choices could be so much FUN?! Thousands of children in 5 states and Canada found out when they participated in our first annual Healthy Al, Healthy Me Celebration on May 2.

Take a look at the creative ways teachers involved children in learning to make healthy food choices and be more active. From elementary schools, child care, Head Start, and YMCAs, to programs serving military, faith-based, and special needs populations, the children were all in!

Check out some of these highlights:

Choosing Favorites for My Fruit Salad
Favorites for My Fruit Salad
We are SO proud!
We are SO proud!

 

 

 

 

 
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How Much TV Is Okay For Young Children?

Lots of Screens In Children’s Lives

Screens here, screens there, screens, screens everywhere — in our pockets, on our phones, in our cars, and in our homes.

It can be hard to tear children away from the TV.
It can be hard to tear children away from the TV.

It’s no wonder National Screen-Free Week was created!

And it’s not just mobile devices, computers, and smartphones — TV screens are everywhere.  You see them in the pediatrician’s  waiting room, restaurants, convenience stores, banks, and car repair shops.    Even movie theater lobbies have TVs running previews of movies!

Preschool age children spend between 2 and 4 1/2 hours using some sort of screen each day. However, according to the “Zero to Eight:  Children’s Media Use in America” study (published by Common Sense Media’s Program for the Study of Children and Media), 74% of young children’s screen time is television.  Although the use of apps and video games is on the rise, for preschool children, TV is still the number one screen of choice. [ more ]

Carrot Top Project: Hands-on Learning About Foods That Grow

Teaching Children About Foods That Come From Plants

This carrot top has 10 days of growth – a leafy, green sprout.

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables (plant-based foods) is an important nutrition concept to teach young children.   Re-growing a carrot top is an easy and inexpensive project that captures children’s interest in learning about fruits and vegetables.

Growing carrot tops takes up very little space and offers children nice visual results – a leafy green sprout that usually grows in 7 – 14 days.  As children take care of their carrot tops, talk with them about healthy foods like fruits and vegetables which look almost the same when they are eaten as when they were growing.

Note:  The following carrot top project is included in the Healthy Al, Healthy Me program, a 7-lesson curriculum that teaches young children about healthy eating and physical activity.   Several lessons teach children which foods are healthy choices that will help them grow strong and feel great. [ more ]

Playtime Matters: Are Some Kinds Of Play Better Than Others?

Put the Play Back Into Playtime

“Get back in the game, buddy!” calls out a dedicated dad when he sees his 4-year old athlete poking twigs in the ground to make a stick house.

Hmmm.   Two kinds of play here.  Soccer and imaginary twig towns.

Remember “Just Playing?”

Today’s young children certainly play more soccer and t-ball.  They jump on bouncers, flap parachutes and scarves together, and clamber through ballpits in “play places.”  Our children master video games created just for them and many maneuver a smart phone better than adults!  There are fewer twig towns out there these days.

Playing in hay bale houses - interesting!
Playing in hay bale houses – interesting!

 

Do children play the same way today as we did when we were kids? [ more ]

Snack Fever: Have Young Children’s Eating Habits Changed?

Healthy and tasty snack!
Healthy and tasty snack!

 Snacking Is Part Of A Bigger Problem

Over one third of American children are overweight or obese.  We’ve heard this for so long; the statement has almost lost its impact.

But really – one third?

Not only are overweight children more likely to feel bad about themselves, but they may well be on a path of on-going over-weight and diminished health.

Won’t Young Children “Outgrow” Being Overweight?

Some young children DO grow up and out of being overweight.  But not all.  Children who are overweight are more likely to be overweight adults.  That means one third of our children are more likely to develop diabetes, liver and heart disease, asthma, cancer, sleep apnea, joint problems, and other health conditions.

What Causes Children To Be Overweight?

In addition to larger portion sizes, more processed and high calorie foods – changes in children’s snacking patterns contribute to the hefting of the nation’s children.

This is a short blog, so let’s look at one factor – the snacking – and what caring adults can do to protect children’s health.  [ more ]