Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How to Make Healthy Eating Fun: Games for Kids

Recently I had started a section on Reader's Write. I am amazed to see the topics and posts from my readers. If there's anyone who'd like to contribute do feel free to let me know. Here's a lovely post on how to make healthy eating fun!


It can be tough to convince your child to eat his or her fruits and veggies. It’s especially difficult to achieve this with positive reinforcement rather than punishment when your child consistently leaves healthy food on the plate after a meal. However, even though encouragement takes time and energy, it’s important to make healthy eating a positive experience for your child. You can make sure that both the process and the results of healthy eating are rewarding for kids by using games to teach them about eating fruits and veggies. The following are some examples of games that kids enjoy, but with the addition of fruits and veggies in a fun and interactive way. Try one or more of these games with your child and his or her friends the next time you have a play date.

Musical Chairs

This is a fun game for kids because it’s competitive and involves lively music. Add the element of healthy eating by playing a song about enjoying a balanced diet, eating fruits and veggies, or some other aspect of good eating habits. There are several good examples of healthy eating songs at groovypyramid.com, such as “From the Ground Up”, which focuses on understanding and following the food pyramid. Others, like “At Least 5”, encourage kids to get at least five servings of fruits and veggies daily and “Secret Agent H20” helps kids remember to drink enough water. The songs are fun for kids to listen to and they send positive messages about eating and drinking in a healthy way.

Go Fish

To play this game, you’ll need to make some cards with pictures of fruits and veggies instead of different kinds of fish. The kids can then play a game of “Go Fish” with cards that help them remember how tasty and healthy fruits and veggies are. They will also be actively saying the names of healthy foods, helping them internalize the message that they’re good to eat. You can easily find clip art images of fruits and veggies or cut them out of magazines, then tape them onto an old deck of regular playing cards. The kids will enjoy the game and learn something while they play, and you won’t have to put in too much effort.

Memory Match

You can use the cards you made for “Go Fish” to play a matching game. This is a great idea if you want to play one-on-one with your child or if he or she is playing with one friend. Simply count up 18 pairs of fruits and veggies, shuffle them, and arrange them face-down in a 6x6 square. Players can only turn over two cards at a time, so the object is to remember where each fruit or veggie is located so that they can be correctly matched. The player with the most matches wins, and if it’s a tie, play for best out of three.

Treasure Hunt

At snack time, hide a healthy treat in a “secret” location. Now, simply draw a treasure map and let the kids find their “treasure” – fruits and veggies. If you’re willing to create a more elaborate treasure hunt, write down a clue that will lead the kids to a location that has another clue, and so on until the treasure is found. The message that healthy food is “treasure” will help kids remember that fruits and veggies are important.

Mazes

For a solitary game that still teaches the value of healthy eating, download and print some mazes for your child to try. Draw an unhealthy food (or use a doughnut or cupcake sticker) at each dead end and add some fruits and veggies at the end of the maze to represent the goal. Children who enjoy mazes will have fun with this game while they learn that unhealthy foods are bad and healthy ones are good.
 

7 comments:

  1. These are great ideas. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Wonderful tips! Fun & nutrition in one :)

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  3. You sure have tricks up your sleeves!

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  4. Great tips :-) Hope you have a great week ahead!

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  5. The maze idea is clever -- I've not thought of that one! Also, I always cut cardboard pictures of food off of packages before throwing them away, and then let my 4-year-old arrange "good food choices" and "bad food choices" on a toy plate. It has the added bonus of simultaneously teaching him food groups as we talk about building a healthy, balanced plate!

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  6. Great tips, will add these with my "playtime" with my kid. What I do on our playtime is what I call the "airplane landing" :) and it works every time!

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