Healthy Start @ Home

Healthy Start @ Home Videos

Healthy Start @ Home

Discover our Healthy Start @ Home videos with tips and ideas to help you promote healthy eating and physical activities in your home environment. View the videos

Pleasure and benefits of gardening with children

Summer is here and gardens everywhere are growing. If you have a garden, getting children involved in its maintenance is a great way to get them physically active while developing their interest in vegetables and fruits. Here are some benefits of gardening with your children: Gardening is great physical activity! Digging, planting, spreading compost or mulch, pruning, and watering offer many ways to keep children engaged and active! Gardening is a popular activity for both youngsters and seniors alike. If your center is not able to maintain a garden on your own, ask a neighbour for help. Is there a seniors home or a community center nearby? Growing food can increase the variety of vegetables children eat. The wonderment of food production is a great way to introduce new foods. But remember, according to the registered dietician Ellyn Satter; a child’s role in feeding is to decide what to eat from the foods offered. In short, as educators we can offer the experience of growing new foods, talk about the shape, color, size of the new food and avoid pressuring a child to eat it if they choose not to. Want to get started? Check out these links: Early Learning Gardening Guide, A Project of the North Okanagan Early Childhood Development Coalition and the Community Nutrition Program of Interior Health Jardiner à la garderie Nos petits mangeurs

How to be active in the rain

Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors. Here are some ways on how the whole family can be active outside on rainy days: Jump in puddles. Jump over puddles, jump around puddles. Splash each other. Make paper boats and sail them down the sidewalk drain. Catch raindrops in creative ways – on your tongue, hands, fingertips, toes or nose. Go for a hike, walk around the neighborhood or head over to your local playground. For more ideas on how to be active in the rain, please visit the Active for Life website.

How to nurture a Healthy start with active play!

Physical literacy is the ability and confidence to move and participate in physical activity in a variety of environments. It is an important part of a child’s development that can be overlooked due to their young age. It is never too early to start age-appropriate physical activity movements that can strengthen a child’s ability to be active. By giving a child an active start, you are setting them up for success in healthy behaviors that they can pursue over a lifetime. Participating in sports and physical activity in the future will be easier for a child who has had an opportunity to learn and practice fundamental movement skills. These skills include running, jumping, hoping, throwing, skipping, dodging, log rolling, dribbling, stork standing, catching, and striking. Here are some simple ways to encourage physical literacy for your little one(s) that you can try out in your own home. Remember with each activity to keep the focus on fun and the rewards will come naturally for both you and your child.   1. Bathtub Swimmer Age: 1 -3 years old Benefits: gross motor skills, leg coordination, strength Encourage your child to splash in the bathtub by kicking their legs from a reclined and/or sitting position. Variation: have your child push the water back and forth, using their hands as paddles. Support your child’s head if necessary. Source: 2. Toddler Obstacle Course Age: 2 – 5 years old Benefits: agility, balance, coordination Use a variety of safe items such as cardboard boxes, furniture, pillows, etc. to create a fun obstacle course throughout your house. Help your child move through the course, by prompting with ideas if they get stuck or to provide them with a new way of thinking. Participate actively alongside your child to ensure safety and assistance when needed. Once your child feels confident with the activity, encourage them to provide ideas for new items or to create their own obstacle course. Source: 3. Snow Play: Tricky Tracks   Age : 2 – 5 years old Benefits: gross motor skills, agility, coordination Take turns making a path with footprints in the snow, for others to follow along in. Have fun with the trail of footprints by changing directions as you walk, crisscrossing the path, and increasing the distance between the tracks by incorporating jumps. Help your child write their name and age in the snow. Look for animal tracks out in the snow. Use your imagination to create your own unique creature or machine footprints. Read the following poems about snow before this activity to encourage a discussion about how the snow can cause things to look differently, and to generate ideas on the fun that can be had with snow. Tracks in the Snow                                                          First Snow By: Wong Herbert Yee                                                          By : Marie Louise Allen Tracks in the snow                                                                Snow makes whiteness where it falls. Tracks in the snow                                                                The bushes look like popcorn-balls. Who made the tracks?                                                          The places where I always play Where did they go?                                                               Look like somewhere else today Source :

Cooking and Learning with Children

Cooking is a wonderful learning opportunity for children. Don’t be afraid to invite children in the kitchen to help you. Whether it’s at home, at the childcare centre or in the classroom, children have so much to gain from preparing meals and snacks.. Encouraging children to help you in the kitchen  will increase their knowledge and curiosity in several areas. Children will develop math skills by counting and measuring ingredients. Introduce math principles by cutting portions of food. The concepts of subtraction, addition, multiplication and division are easy to demonstrate visually with foods. Help build literacy skills by saying everything you do aloud. Children will better understand the principles of steps and sequences. Teach them new words like cooking instruments and ingredients. Recipes with pictures will help children associate food with words. Fine motor skills will also improve as they practice skills like scooping, pouring, chopping, peeling and stirring. Give children specific tasks depending on their age and skill level.  For example, young children can remove cauliflower florets with their hands, wash fruits and vegetables, and tear off and rip lettuce leaves. The older or more experienced  children can cut soft foods like a banana with a plastic knife or shape cookie dough. Check out page 81 of LEAP™ Food Flair for more excellent examples of what children can do to help you prepare your next meal together. Here is a kid-friendly recipe to get them started in the kitchen: Salad in a Bag (LEAP™ Food Flair, p. 134) What you need: ½ cup (125 mL) Romaine lettuce or spinach leaves, chopped 2 tbsp. (30 mL) Grated carrots 3-4 Mandarin orange sections 2 tsp. (10 mL) Ranch or Italian salad dressing 2 Whole grain crackers 1 Plastic, sealable sandwich bag How to: Set out bowls of prepared salad fixings. Let each child each fill their own bag. Pour in salad dressing and close the bag for them. Children shake their salad then open it and eat with their forks as a snack (with whole grain crackers) or to start a meal. Serves one child  

Make this year’s holiday celebration active!

Looking for ways to spice up family celebrations this holiday season? Why not add some physical activity! Gather all of your family members and go caroling throughout the neighborhood, go skating or tobogganing or even go on a nature scavenger hunt. The LEAP™ HOP Family Resource has a lot of great ideas your whole family can enjoy and easily do indoors! To give the activities a holiday twist, try playing Freeze Dance (page 34) using Christmas carols, wrap and decorate empty boxes and use them as pins for Knock Down (page 44) or make ankle bells (page 104) and while playing Follow the Trail (page 32) have everyone pretend they are Santa’s reindeer visiting houses on Christmas eve. Be creative, have fun and get moving!


Active games for your Halloween party

Need some ideas on how to keep the kids active during your Halloween party? Check out these great ideas from Active for Life: Monster Freeze Dance – Put on “Monster Mash” or other seasonal tunes. Have the children show off their silliest monster dance moves, but they must freeze in place when the music stops. Pumpkin Bowling – Choose small pumpkins with short stem. Set up 4L milk jugs and tape off a starting line on the floor. The children are then to roll the pumpkins at the targets to see how many they can knock down. To make it extra fun, have the children decorate the bottles with stickers, markers and other spooky materials. Musical Pumpkins – Cut pumpkin shapes from construction paper and arrange them on the floor. The children must move from pumpkin to pumpkin while the music plays, just like musical chairs. To keep children from being excluded, allow them to share pumpkins as you remove a pumpkin for each round. By the end of the game, all of the children have to squeeze onto one pumpkin!

A new phase of parent participation

We know parent engagement parent, involvement, parent contribution – are all important concepts in promoting health and wellness of young children.  Healthy Start made no exception in developing its evidenced based programming for early learning settings, by including a parent awareness component. But how do we best engage parents – who we know are busy working, taxiing kids to their activities and just trying to balance life in general? How do we as health promoters, ensure there is a seamless transition of healthy behaviours from the centre to the home and vice versa? How can we encourage more healthy choices at home and in the centre!? Healthy Start will tackle this important issue over the next three years. The initiative will have a chance to build upon its program and pilot some great new ideas to engage parents in more physical activity and healthy eating with their young children. So where do we start? Healthy Start aims to link to already existing, evidence-based programs and models. We will learn and adapt a few of the following: Healthy Together – parent and child workshops, based out of Kelowna, BC. Learning healthy behaviours together is their claim to fame! The Bridge Youth and Family Services Society: Healthy Weights Together MEND SK (Mind Education Nutrition Do it!) developed in the UK, this local, fun, and interactive family programming targets parents and 2-4-year-old children. Healthy Start collaborations will occur with various early years and community stakeholders, Family Resource Centres in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick in both French and in English to help deliver future Healthy Start family wellness programming To pilot a physical activity & parent program based on the 30-30-30 SK in motion project with the U of S College of Kinesiology, U of S. Some other ideas we will be exploring are the development of HSDS back-packs adapted to LEAP resources that can be shared by centres, preschools or family centres and could potentially be incorporated in the public Library system.  We are also interested in testing various projects that touch underserved and diverse populations, in rural and urban settings for parents and children. In the meantime, HSDS will continue to connect with parents through the HSDS newsletter and in social media (Facebook and Twitter).  Please follow us and stay tuned as we begin this important parent engagement work in Phase 3 of the project, as soon as April of this year!



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