Healthy Children - August 2012


News You Can Use

Let’s celebrate the great outdoors! July is National Parks & Recreation Month, which means there is no better time to visit one of America’s amazing National Parks. To find a park near you use the U.S. National Park Service’s Find a Park tool. Want to stay closer to home? Click here to locate a park, garden, or nature center near you.

And speaking of parks and outdoor play, this interesting article gives you five reasons to let your kids play in the dirt. Try to forget about the mess and let your children experience the health and developmental benefits of good old fashioned dirt. And of course, it’s good for adults, too!

Check out these colorful posters from the Early Years Institute. Beautiful, eye-catching, and informative, these posters are perfect to display in your center, child care facility, or office and will keep the benefits of play front and center.

With summer in full swing, it’s time to plan some summer family fun! Our friends at Nature Rocks have put together this fantastic, FREE summer activity guide to help your whole family get outside, explore, and experience the benefits of time spent in nature.

Nutrition Nugget: Crave Your Colors

By eating a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables daily with your child. Fruit and vegetables not only add a variety of flavor, color, and texture to your diet, but also keep your body healthy. Each color offers specific benefits to your health. This month, let’s focus on BLUE!

BLUE, PURPLE and BLACK fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants that help lower risk of some cancers, promote healthy aging, and improve urinary tract health, memory function, and heart health.

July is National Blueberry Month. While you crave your colors this month, add blueberries to your snack or meals. Blueberries are rich in protein, soluble fiber, and ranked No. 1 in antioxidant benefits compared to other fruits and vegetables. They are available all year round and in a variety of forms including, fresh, frozen, juice and dried.

Literacy Connections

Increase oral language and vocabulary development for young children by reading the following books as you enjoy your Blueberry Banana Parfait or other blueberry snacks.

  • Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
  • White is for Blueberries by George Shannon
  • Blueberry Mouse by Alice Low
  • Blueberry Shoe by Ann Dixon


Recipe of the Month

Blueberry Banana Parfait

Makes 4 Servings

2 cups of plain yogurt
1 banana, sliced and frozen
2 cups of frozen blueberries
Line up 4 plastic cups or tall glasses
Spoon 2 tablespoons of yogurt into each glass
Place a layer of sliced bananas on top of yogurt
Spoon 2 tablespoons of blueberries overtop bananas
Repeat the process


Take It Outside!

July can be a real steamer but you can keep your cool with these fun outdoor play ideas. Other tricks to beat the heat – head outside early in the morning or in the evening after dinner and look for shady parks and green spaces in your neighborhood. And don’t forget hats, sunscreen, and lots of water! This month, why not:

Work on wet and wacky balance skills!
Have children walk with a wet sponge on their heads – you can even set up an obstacle course and have them move through it with the sponges on their heads! Try standing on one foot and then the other while keeping the sponge in place. Why not balance the sponge on different body parts – back, elbow, knee, foot. The children will have a blast while staying cool.
Head to the shady forest for a hike, bird watching, or picnic.
It’s amazing how much cooler it is under a lush green canopy. Visit Nature Find to locate a green space near you. Want to know what critters to look for in the forest near you? Check out the zip code based field guides at eNature.

Reprinted from