Last year I heard about a wonderful idea called the Teal Pumpkin Project. The primary goal of the project is to make trick-or-treating on Halloween safer for children with food allergies. To do this, Teal Pumpkin Project participants have non-candy treats on hand, and they display a sign and a pumpkin painted teal to let trick-or-treaters know safe treats are available. The Teal Pumpkin Project started in 2014, and it is the brain child of the Food Allergy Research & Education organization.
The Teal Pumpkin Project makes Halloween not only safer but healthier as well. If you hand out treats on Halloween, explore some non-candy options, such as pencils, erasers, glow sticks, stickers, bubbles, bookmarks, whistles or other small objects. Just be sure that you are aware of what might be a choking hazard for little ones. Don’t forget to display your participation with a Teal Pumpkin Project sign!
Cooking with children is about more than food. It’s also about spending quality time together and making good memories. It can teach kids confidence and independence, and even some math.
I recommend starting with cookies. Two of my younger sisters still talk about how much they enjoyed making cookies with me when they were kids. (They are 8 and 10 years younger than me.) Two years ago my older son said, “Mom, I remember baking cookies with you every Christmas. Will you continue the tradition with my son?” His son was 6 months old at the time, but he was still able to press down on the cookie cutter to make cookies. Last year he was able to help stir the batter. This year, he’ll be able to do even more. When I asked my younger son if he remembers baking cookies as a child he said, “Sure. I think that was the beginning of my enjoyment of cooking.” He now cooks for himself and loves to invite friends to his home for meals. The older son also cooks and often has dinner ready when his wife comes home after picking up the children at daycare. Continue reading
Patterns are all around us and help children learn about the world around them. Patterns can be found in letters and numbers, shapes and sizes, daily routines, music and much more. By helping children see and learn patterns, you can help them with literacy, math, science and other skills. Try these fun activities to emphasize pattern building.
Sort! Help your child sort items in the house. Have different shapes and sizes of blocks? Sort them! Try everyday items like coins, stamps and playing cards. Which items are the same? Which items are different? Get them interested in food and nutrition by sorting food into colors or classifying them as fruits, vegetables, grains, etc. Check out library books featuring different kinds of animals – which ones are mammals, and which ones are reptiles? Have a child who likes to help around the house? Sorting laundry is just the thing for learning patterns and categorization.
Strawberries, blackberries, kiwis, bananas, cherries…mmmm. These are just some of my favorite fruits. I used to be a very picky eater, but even in my pickiest days I still loved to eat many foods from the fruit group. When kiddos are begging for cookies or candies, try to offer some fruit suggestions instead – not only will the sweetness help satisfy the cravings for sugar, but your child’s dentist will also probably thank you too. Keep in mind that fruits do contain their own naturally occurring sugars, and too much of a good thing can become, well, not so good. (I’m sure many of us know a tummy ache story or two from too much fruit).
On August 9, the Central Missouri Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics will visit the Columbia Public Library and show how to make a nutritious snack with fruit. The program does require registration, so make sure to give us a call at 573-443-3161 if you’d like to attend.
Make a Yummy Summer Snack
Saturday, August 9, 2-3 p.m., Columbia Public Library, Friends Room
Learn how to make a nutritious and refreshing summer snack using fresh fruit. We’ll practice measuring, chopping, mixing and arranging before we eat our treats. You’ll also get some yummy recipes that you can try at home. Presented by the registered dietitians and students from the Central Missouri Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Ages 3-9 with adult. Registration required. Continue reading