Abundant sunshine, longer days and road trips are just around the corner! Don’t let a break from school mean a break from eating better and moving more. Being healthy as a family sets a good example for your children to live a healthy and active lifestyle and is a great way to spend quality time together. Whether your family is planning a trip or a staycation at home, keep everyone healthy, active and smiling with these tried and true tips, on-the-go snacks, and physical activities.
Go on a scavenger hunt. Develop questions based on landmarks and points of interest in your neighborhood, and then enjoy your walking/biking adventure. Here are some sample questions:
I am tall with green leaves and roots that grow deep into the ground. (A tree)
I have red blossoms that are pretty and smell good, too! (A rose bush)
I am soft and green, and cows and horses like to eat me. (Grass)
Firefighters hook their hoses to me to find water when there is a fire. (A fire hydrant)
I am red with eight sides and I tell you to stop when you are driving in your car. (A stop sign)
Sign up for a sports camp or fitness classes. Help expand your child’s interests by signing them up for a physical activity camp that will keep their mind and body engaged during spring break. Check out offerings at local community organizations, the park district, churches, recreational facilities or fitness studios.
Create a “What to do if you are bored” jar. On Popsicle sticks or folded pieces of paper, work with your kids to write down their favorite ideas to stay active during spring break. Whenever they are bored, go to the jar and select an activity. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Go to the park
Ride your bike
Have a scooter race
Jump rope outside
Have a water balloon contest
Set up fitness stations and time yourself to see how long it takes to go through all of them
During pit stops:
Grab some sidewalk chalk and draw the outline for a quick game of hopscotch.
Use what’s around you to create a fun and interactive obstacle course. Jump over sticks, step up and over benches, and maneuver between signs.
Perform short bursts of cardiovascular exercises such as jumping jacks, high knees, stationary lunges, push-ups and squats.
Play a full-body version of Rock Paper Scissors. Rather than using your hands for this all-time favorite activity, integrate your body to act out each option. For a rock, bend down, hug your knees and curl into a ball. For a scissor, stand with legs wider than shoulder-width apart and both arms up with your hands in a Y formation. For paper, stand tall with your feet together and arms to your sides. Best of 3 wins!
Did someone say dance party? Get out your phone or blast the radio and play a favorite dance tune.
We’ll Take Those Snacks to Go!
Create some healthy food art on a rainy day or outside for a picnic with friends. Use your favorite fruits and veggies to create masterpieces good enough to eat!
Keep a small cooler stocked with ice packs and variety of easy to grab snacks such as string cheese, chopped fruits and veggies, and yogurt and applesauce in squeezable pouches.
Granola bars are a go-to choice for road trips. Low sugar, high fiber granola bars can keep you full and can be combined easily with yogurt for breakfast or with a piece of fruit for a snack.
Have kids create their own “O-cereal” necklaces with their favorite low sugar O shaped cereal. Cut a piece of yarn, tie each end to make a necklace, and get to munching.
Steam a batch of frozen edamame in the shell and sprinkle with a touch of sea salt. Store in an airtight container and share for an easy and fun-to-eat veggie.
Grab some whole-wheat wraps and fill each with a healthy protein, veggies and hummus. Throw into the cooler for a snack or a pair with a piece of fruit for a nutritious lunch.
Keep activities simple and safe. Find a space with limited foot traffic and away from moving vehicles.
Make it fun and get your energy moving. Make activities a competition or challenge yourself to beat your best record!
Keep snacks simple and convenient with minimal packaging and re-sealable lids. On-the-go snacks are perfect to take on a bike ride, in the car, or to the backyard for a picnic with friends.
Pay attention to serving sizes. What a kindergartener consumes for a snack should look different than what an older family member eats.
Offer a variety of healthy snacks in a variety of colors and textures.
Model healthy eating to reinforce healthy and kid-approved snack options for families.
When traveling, be prepared. Pack a reusable water bottle for each family member and fill up at rest stops. Pack wet naps, paper towels and trash bags for quick clean up.
Healthy School Vacations
Whether it’s visiting relatives or friends, sightseeing popular destinations, or just unplugging from daily demands, make sure to keep health and wellness, physical activity and good nutrition a priority.