With schools temporarily closed (or moved online) right now, children and teens are spending more time at home than they usually would be during the school year. But that doesn’t mean they have to be couch potatoes! If you have kids at home, there are lot’s of options for them to stay busy, stay active, and most of all, stay healthy.
Go Old School with Some Fun Outdoor Activities
Think back to a time when your kids were younger, and your summers weren’t filled with endless practices, lessons, and camps…what did you do to fill those days? Here’s what we’re thinking…
Start up the Sprinkler
Depending on the weather, change up your watering schedule and put your sprinkler on double duty. Or dig the Crazy Daisy (everybody had one of those, right?) out of the shed for some outdoor water fun. This gets the kids moving, and can cool them down on those hot summer (and fall) days.
Create a Scavenger Hunt
This is something your kids will love, and it is actually pretty simple to pull off. All you need to do is make a list of things you’d like your children to seek out. Have your family take a walk in the evening around your neighborhood. Bring your list and your smartphone, so you can capture each item in a photo. Once the kids have captured everything from your list, like your neighbor’s golden retriever puppy playing outside, to the funny bird that always sits atop your tallest tree, reward them with a fun treat like frozen yogurt, or a smoothie.
Break out the Chalk!
Remember those buckets of chalk we had as kids? Where we’d sit outside for hours, squatted down on the ground, drawing our chalk-art masterpieces in our parent’s driveway? Well, it’s time for our kid’s to learn how fun that is! Get some sidewalk chalk and tell your kids to go wild. Let their imaginations be their guide. It’s easy to wash it off and start again tomorrow.
These activities are fun, they can be done as a family, and they can even help to relieve stress. Doodling on a pad of paper (or with chalk in the driveway) for example, has the ability to relax the fear center of your brain, the amygdala. It induces the same state as meditating by reducing the thoughts of a restless mind.1 This generates mindfulness and quietness, which allows your mind to get some rest after a long day in front of the computer screen for school.
Time for Candy Land
Maybe you’d like to stay indoors instead of spending some time outside. That’s fine! If you have board games like Candy Land, Chutes & Ladders, Sorry and even a card game like UNO, take them out of the cupboard. Games like these require your child to pay attention to a task for a period of time until the game is completed, helping them focus. Kids with poor attention spans may struggle to complete an entire board game, you may notice their attention waning. The initial reaction may be to avoid playing games like this with them. This however is not helpful to your child, because they will frequently be faced with tasks at school that require focus and attention for certain periods of time, whether they want to pay attention or not.2 Find a little something as a prize for the winner to keep them motivated to finish the game.
Keep Them Healthy
Now that we’ve covered some actives that can help your kids to burn off some steam, relax, and even help them focus more, let’s talk about how to keep them healthy from the inside out.
Probiotics: Probiotics can add a layer of good microorganisms to the already existing bacteria in our microbiome, so they can be very beneficial to not only adults, but kids too. When the ratio of good bacteria is altered, for example, after your child uses antibiotics or experiences diarrhea, probiotics can help get their gut back on track by replenishing the microbiome with good bacteria. Probiotics can help your children stay healthy by decreasing the number of bad bacteria in the gut and bring back a healthy balance. Taking a good quality probiotic daily can restore, protect and strengthen not only the digestive system but the immune system too.
Aged Garlic Extract: Garlic is tasty and your kids have probably had it in pasta or other foods you’ve cooked for them, but have they ever tried Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) supplements? Even if they don’t love raw garlic, the aging process removes odor and capsules are tasteless so they are easy to take.
Various immune-health supplements and nutrients can empower our immune system to perform at its best, but one nutrient you may not have considered is Aged Garlic Extract. The properties that make AGE such a powerful tool in maintaining cardiovascular health (documented by over 870 published papers) gives us a window into why it also benefits the immune system. AGE supports a healthy inflammation response and reduces oxidation in the body. In moving the system away from chronic immune activation, it frees the body to fight invaders rather than constantly work to do things like push blood through inflamed arteries.4
Get those Greens: We know how important vegetables are to our health but it can be hard to get your kids to eat their greens. Try a powdered green drink mix to fill this “void.” You can add a green drink mix to juice or a smoothie, and work in some added green nutrition into their day. Make it fun by letting them help make the ‘smoothie of the day’. It can be as simple as a banana, berries and a little spinach. Adding greens blend powder will help boost the nutrient value. Look for a powdered green drink mix with nutrients like barley grass, wheatgrass, chlorella, kelp, and spirulina, for the most health benefits. Avoid ones with added sugar and flavors.
Whether indoors, outdoors, or all of the above, these are some simple ways you can entertain your children right now, keep them active, relaxed, focused, and most of all, healthy!
This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.