As much as I do not want to be another person talking about Coronavirus (COVID-19), I'm doing it because it's impacting each one of us. First, I want to send my love and prayers to everyone during this difficult time, I know there is much suffering and lives being lost. However, I'm writing this to focus on the positive instead of the negative. I'm not trying to minimize the negative and profound impact it has had, I'm just trying to focus on the good, instead of just the bad. Why? Because our mental health matters and panic is the worst thing we can do.
Our mental health will get us through this: keep us strong, safe, calm and allow us to enjoy our lives even through difficult times. Yes, it's ok to use this time to stay close with our family and friends and have quality time together. I've put this post together to give you tips and ideas on how to have fun, stay active and eat healthily with your family.
1) Make a meal together: whether that's baking, cooking, making a snack, it doesn't have to be complicated, it just has to be together. You might be surprised how much your kids can do and how much fun they have in the kitchen. Did you know kids as young as four can use plastic knives to chop veggies and fruit, tear lettuce, wash foods, stir and measure? Will it be messy, probably, but well worth it. The impact: over time, this can save you time in the kitchen and studies show when kids get to pick out produce or prepare it they are much more likely to try and enjoy it.
It's true, we know that kids may be adverse (just like we are as adults) to trying new foods. However, when they get to touch it, play or cut it first, the food becomes more familiar and they are proud of what they made and actually WANT to try it. This is the best way to get kids familiar with new foods and start to enjoy them.
Did you know that kids need at minimum 1 hour of physical activity per day and adults at least 30 minutes/day? We can get active together, as a family. Here's some ideas:
2) Build an inside obstacle course and have everyone participate (including adults). These are so much fun to create, set-up and play! You can use pillows, jump ropes to create boundaries or jump rope before moving to the next obstacle, create tunnels out of chairs and blankets…your imaginations are limitless.
3) Play freeze tag or hide and go seek in the backyard. If you're getting stir crazy, get outdoors and play! You don't need a lot of space: jump, run and have fun! This is a great way to relieve stress, burn some energy and have fun with your family.
4) Jump rope. Use your driveway, get a long jump rope and take turns!
5) Everyone in the pool! Pool races for the whole family, it's ok if you beat your kids (or they beat you)!
6) Go on a family bike ride around the neighborhood.
7) Go on an evening brisk walk together, it's a great way to get in some activity and have great conversations.
8) Play a game of kickball, softball or baseball, or even catch, you don't need a full team to play!
9) Plant a family garden. I know what you are thinking, I don't have a green thumb, I kill everything. That's ok, this time will be different. If this is your first time planting, pick 1-2 things to plant. As a family, read about them, discover how to grow them best and when to plant.
Mid-March-Mid April in southeast Texas:
Tomatoes, zucchini, squash, cucumber, okra, potatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, bell peppers, peas, potatoes, basil, mint, cilantro and other herbs to name a few.
Then, take care of them as a family. Have certain days that each person is responsible for taking care of the garden. Put it on your calendar, set reminders on your phone. They key is consistency. Even though this does take work, the reward will be great. Bonus: kids are much more likely to try and like foods they grow themselves.
10) Subscribe to Spark Crates. Each month you receive a family fun crate that includes everything you need for a healthy night of family fun & philanthropy. It includes a family activity to learn and create a gift to give back to your community; a get active and play activity where you'll receive fitness equipment and games to play as a family; gather and eat: you'll receive 2 healthy recipes with how-to instructions for the whole family, created by registered dietitian nutritionist Jill Roberts (I receive no profit). Sometimes it can be hard to think of new fun activities for the whole family so this crate makes it easy to have fun together, give back to your community and create healthy habits.
Share with us, What are your favorite family activities to do together?