Springtime Fun for the Family
The start of spring on March 20 brings the hope and promise of more sunshine, family picnics, days at the beach, and plenty of local, fresh produce. All of these offer the opportunity for healthy and fun activities to enjoy with your child. Try identifying the colors and names of fruits at the local farmer’s market or experiencing the feel and texture of grass for the first time all while getting plenty of exercise and fresh air.
Throughout San Diego County, a number of farmers’ markets take place on a regular basis. Not only do farmers’ markets offer fresh and local produce for healthy, balanced eating for children, they also offer great educational opportunities. While shopping for food, encourage your child to feel the produce, name the food items, identify the food’s color and even describe what the food feels like. All the while, you are instilling life-long, healthy eating habits in your child in a fun and engaging way. As an added bonus, talking through the shopping with your child will help you reach speaking the recommended 30,000 words a day to your child. Visit the Farm Bureau San Diego County website to find a farmer’s market or farm stand near you.
The learning experience at the farmer’s market can be extended by making a picnic lunch of the produce with your child. Encourage your child to remember the names of the produce on their own while preparing the lunch. Of course, preparing a picnic lunch can be just as engaging with items already in your fridge. Remember to include a blanket to sit on as well as outdoor games and toys.
Lack of physical activity, especially for children, is a top concern for our society. As a parent or caregiver, one of the best ways to get a child physically active is to let them see you do it and then to do it together. Take advantage of a picnic in the park or at the beach to play games and get everyone involved. Try a fun game of tag to get everyone’s legs moving and exercising. Or, take a walk and identify objects, animals, plants or insects. Encouraging movement even in infants is important such as handclapping, crawling or scooting.