Looking for fun and healthy activities to do with the grandkids? Give these a whirl.
During Grandparents Month this past September, I started hunting up fun activities for when I visit with my grandchildren.
Sometimes we do mad science, sometimes artsy things. Fun snacks to make together are always good. As a partner of the nationwide Together Counts™ program and an advocate for leading an active, healthy lifestyle, there are two key things I try to keep in mind when I am with my grandchildren: 1) Keep it simple and 2) Mix up sitting down with running around activities.
Baking is a time-honored tradition in my family, and my six-year old granddaughter loves to get busy measuring and mixing. I’ve been on the lookout for healthy snacks we can make together with more fruits and veggies.
Flying saucers are a great snack that even younger kids can make with your help. Start by spreading 2 tablespoons of cream cheese on an unsalted whole grain rice cake, then pile it up with berries. My littles love strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. You can also use peaches or kiwis to mix up colors and flavors.
Once their engines are stoked with energy, you can head outside and play “flying saucer” with a Frisbee to get the kids running around and laughing. Blowing giant bubbles and chasing them down is another simple but entertaining way to be active together.
You can find the flying saucers and more ideas for healthy snacks and active games in the OASIS Healthy Living Guide for Families at http://www.oasisnet.org/National-Programs/CATCH-Healthy-Habits/Healthy-Living-Guides
Science projects are great for a child who likes to measure and mix. A favorite of my granddaughter is making slime with Elmer’s glue, borax and a little food coloring, using a recipe from Science Bob: https://sciencebob.com/make-some-starch-slime-today-method-2. It can be a bit messy so we make it outside where they can run around stretching their slime and I don’t have to worry about the furniture. To avoid stress, gather up all the tools and ingredients including cleanup supplies before you call the kids.
I haven’t had a hit with every idea. The rocket ships we made with red, yellow and orange mini peppers slit on the sides and stacked up 2-3 high looked like something out of Dr. Seuss land. Alas, they didn’t eat the rockets, but they were pretty tired so it could have been just bad timing. Also, children can be finicky about certain foods on one day and then feel differently another time. That’s okay, I might try that one again when they are a little older.
For now, my recipe for fun includes offering the kids healthy choices, being prepared, staying flexible and tuning in to what they enjoy. Wishing you lots of healthy fun with the little people in your life!
Janice Branham is Communications Director for The OASIS Institute, a national nonprofit that promotes healthy aging through education and community engagement. OASIS CATCH Healthy Habits, sponsored by Anthem Foundation, brings together children and adults to promote healthy eating and increase physical activity. Learn more at www.CatchHealthyHabits.org.
For more fun family activities, check out these other ideas on the Together Counts blog!