Written by Rachel Achmad, Program Outreach Coordinator
Everyone’s excited about vacation, but the change in routine can be hard on families. Stir in some shaken-up sleep schedules, add a generous dose of holiday sweets, and you have a recipe for UN-happy holidays.
So…for our holiday gift to you, FoodPlay offers Five Healthy Activities families can do together over the winter break.
1. Gingerbread Bird House
Create a gingerbread house for the birds. Construct a basic gingerbread house – you can even use graham crackers – and instead of candy, use peanut butter and birdseed to decorate. Hang outside and watch the birds enjoy your gift to them! This house will surely be irresistible to squirrels and other neighborhood animals, so hang out of their reach.
2. Dog Days of Winter
Offer to take the dogs of an overwhelmed neighbor for daily walks. You and your kids will get some exercise, and your neighbor will be grateful to have one less task on busy days filled with holiday cooking and preparation. Studies show that spending time with dogs makes people happier and can lower blood pressure!
3. Nightlight Hike
Instead of driving around town looking at holiday lights, why not walk? Choose an area with clear and safe sidewalks, bundle up, and take a nighttime stroll to get your blood moving while you enjoy the decorations of the season. Bring along a thermos of hot cider or tea to keep chills from nipping.
4. Operation Candy Cane
Deployed military personnel are always glad to get donations of wrapped candies. Many American households use candies for decorations, which then get tossed away, uneaten. Those items could bring a taste of the holidays to someone far from home, so gather them up and ship them to a soldier. Note: ship hard candies that will not melt – no chocolate. Donate to a soldier you know personally, or click here for information on shipping through Operation Gratitude:
5. Treat Trade
Our final suggestion may be healthier for the spirit than the waistline…but if you’re weary of the cookies and treats at your own house after a few days, organize a swap with friends. Everyone brings a plate of treats and lots of good cheer. On arrival, hand everyone a plastic container and then “shop” from each other’s offerings.
From everyone at FoodPlay…have a happy winter break and a healthy New Year!