Staying Busy during Break: Tips on Staying Active for Parents and Kids
Spring break is here! With school out, it’s important for children’s bodies and brains to remain active. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that kids limit their screen time to less than 2 hours per day. Children should also be getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. With all that in mind, how can you provide activities and structure for your children’s free time, while maintaining your sanity as a parent? It’s never too late to start healthy habits. Make activities enjoyable and engaging for your child without disrupting your normal routine!
Check out these fun ideas to keep your kids active and busy this spring break:
- Burn off some energy and sweat together: Encourage healthy behavior by being active as a whole family. Musical chairs, a dance party with your favorite tunes, indoor hopscotch with duct taped guidelines, morning stretches, Zumba, and yoga can all be fun, cost-effective options. Workout videos can also be found online for more inspiration on how to get bodies moving. For even more fun at home, check out the physical activity games in the Healthy Choices in Motion curriculum, which were designed to be enjoyed indoors by children of-all ages! Try the Farm to Market Relay Race, starting on step 10 page 17 or Physical Activity Charades, starting on step 11 page79.
- Bake and cook as a family: Including your children in meal preparation is a great way to encourage them to try new foods, like fruits and vegetables. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack, get everyone involved in preparing a nutritious meal. Find age-appropriate tasks for kids to help in the kitchen, like measuring ingredients, chopping and washing produce, and mixing sauces. Not only will you have a nutritious meal to share, but you will also be supporting skill building and promoting a healthy lifestyle!
- Start a garden in your backyard: Planting an outdoor garden can be a spring long activity that can also help safely encourage children to enjoy the outdoors. Find projects for smaller hands, such as helping to dig, rake, plant, water, and harvest. Getting children involved in a fruit, vegetable, and herb garden can also get them excited and more eager to try the food and/or edible plants that they helped grow! If you don’t have much space, think small with a few containers outside your door or in a window!
- Get crafty: From finger painting and coloring books to jewelry making and drawing, there are a variety of different crafts available that your child may enjoy. Many crafts can be enjoyed at home and utilize items that are already on hand. For example, old magazines, newspapers, photos, gift wrap, stickers, and online printouts can be used to create an inspiration board, scrapbook, or collage. Consider a theme that encourages long-term engagement, like decorating the days of the week on a family calendar to keep creativity high.
- Greet a pen pal or relative with letters: Send love and care with meaningful and personal handwritten letters or stories. Use free time as a way to stay connected with loved ones, friends, and classmates. Letter writing or storytelling can help work on penmanship, spark creativity, and strengthen vocabulary.
- Keep brains active: While school is out, it’s important to keep your child’s brain active and learning. Encourage learning by developing a new skill, like making origami or playing an instrument, or creating your own activity, like a science project. Other fun educational activities your child may enjoy can include books, puzzles, board games, crosswords, and educational online games or video games. For more games and activities, visit the USDA’s Team Nutrition webpage for interactive ways to have fun with nutrition and health!
Turn those boring days cooped up indoors into fun-filled days spent with family-friendly activities! For more inspiration and tips on keeping your kids active while school is out, visit the SNAP-Ed Connections website and this fun video from the CDPHP’s Move Your Way campaign!