When some homeschool moms come to see me for their written narrative and I ask them about what did they teach or do for health I get a panicked look. I assure them that they have been teaching health all along, but that it is advised that they have a plan to cover specifics topics throughout the year. So, what kinds of topics do I suggest?
Disease Prevention- Discuss with your son the importance of covering his mouth when he sneezes or coughs. I just came up with this idea to make the point of germs being airborne. You will need:
1 taper candle
Light the candle and place it on a table. Have your son gently blow one time in the direction of the candle. See how his breath made the candle flicker. Have him continue to blow (or cough) as he backs up one foot. Continue this until the fame no longer flickers due to his blowing (coughing). I think you will be surprised at how far germs can be spread by not covering your mouth (up to 18 feet according to a few internet sources).
Of course, the same idea goes for sneezing. According to wonderopolis.org, sneezes can actually travel as far as 200 feet! Ewww. Have a discussion on which technique is most effective in stopping the spreading of germs. Is it sneezing into the hand? How about the elbow? Or is it a facial tissue or a handkerchief? Here is a Mythbuster video about testing these various methods “Catching your sneeze”.
Washing Your Hands helps to lessen the spread of disease as well. If you have a daughter who loves to cook, how about whipping up a batch of agar to grow bacteria? By making your own and then swabbing areas of your house that she thinks collects germs, she will be excited to see the bacteria begin to grow. Mad About Science has the recipe for you to make your very own agar. CLICK HERE As part of the experiment, have your daughter create a list of suggestions on places throughout your home where germs will be bountiful. Swab away! (Right after I finished writing this paragraph I went and disinfected my toilet handle. lol)
Eating Healthy Growing up, the FDA called the guide to eating healthy, the Food Pyramid, but now the title is Choose My Plate. Harvard has a great visual that explains the guide in more depth. Too bad potatoes and French fries don’t count. 😦
Have your family make a list of healthy snacks and meals that they will enjoy. We are not big bean eaters here, so making a black bean soup would be a waste of money and time. Choose dishes your family will enjoy. Try being adventurous and add a new vegetable every couple of weeks. As an adult, my vegetable eating has expanded beyond corn, broccoli, and cauliflower. Have you tried zoodles (zucchini noodles) or spaghetti squash? These are both fun for the children to try and they have such a mild taste that you can’t really taste the squash themselves.
Ideas for expanding the healthy lifestyle and incorporating school are:
- Create a bar graph-Ask each family member what is their favorite vegetable. You can have three choices to make it easier (corn, green beans, peas). Share the results at the dinner table and serve the overall favorite.
- Write a menu using the Healthy Eating Plate as your guide. Purchase the ingredients and have your son or daughter help if possible,
- Create placemats with the Healthy Eating Plate as the design. You can do this by tracing one of your plates onto a piece of copy paper and copying the design and categories onto your plate. Your daughter may wish to decorate her plate’s border. If she isn’t writing and reading quite yet, make a photo collage of each category using grocery ads for pictures. Have the placemats laminated for longevity.
Exercise With the beginning of winter upon us, getting outside to burn off steam can be difficult. How about some of the activities I mentioned in my previous PE blog? If you would like your son to get some stretching and flexibility exercises, here is a YouTube video that is for young elementary students pretending to be different animals from around the world: CLICK HERE I know you want to work out with your kids :), so here is a video for all of you: Kids Workout Video.
Rest! It is extremely important for your son to get a good night’s rest. By allowing your body to rest, it gives it time to repair itself as well as rejuvenate and be ready to go for the next day. Without the proper amount of sleep, he cannot perform as well with his schoolwork and other activities. According to sleepfoundation.org, school-age children need between 9-11 hours and teens need 8-10 hours. If your son is having trouble getting to sleep, try increasing his level of activity during the day. I found this to be true with my sons.
Have a great day!