Healthy Kids

News, Tips & Resources for Healthy Happy Families

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All They Seem to Do is Play!

You may see your child playing at school or day care and think that’s all they do. That may be true. And it’s a good thing!

According to experts at Zero to Three, the nonprofit National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families, “There’s a lot happening during playtime. Little ones are lifting, dropping, looking, pouring, bouncing, hiding, building, knocking down, and more. And while they are having all this fun, they are also learning. They are learning how to solve problems (such as how to get the block tower to stand up) and discovering new concepts, like what sinks and floats. They are experimenting with new roles and language during dress-up time, and figuring out how to use their bodies in new ways on the playground.”

Notes Zero to Three, “Play is the true work of childhood. When you join in your child’s play, she is also learning that she is loved and important and fun to be around. This gives her the self-confidence she needs to build loving and supportive relationships as she grows.”

For more information on behavior and development, go to Although the focus is on younger children, much of the information remains true for older preschoolers. The group has a free email newsletter, podcasts and a wealth of information for parents and caregivers.

Help Kids Learn Science & Healthy Eating with Fun & Easy Activities


Let kids select a new fruit, vegetable, or recipe to sample. Have them taste the food and rate it

based on visual appeal, smell, taste, and texture using a scale of 1 to 5 where 5 is the best.


Make these dice to explore different kinds of vegetables. Create fun activities with them for exploring. Try rolling the dice and color matching the vegetable to clothing or something in the room. Or, roll to choose one new vegetable to buy at the store. Roll again to find which vegetable ingredient you'll add to the salad or stir-fry you make together.


Lemon juice, which is nearly clear, turns brown when you heat it. To test this out, try squeezing a little lemon into a dish, then use a Q-tip or a paint brush to write a message on white paper. Let it dry completely, until your message disappears. Ready to reveal it? Just stick the paper in the hot sun or next to a hot light bulb (be careful not to burn yourself ) and watch your words appear.

Why? The simple answer is chemistry. Even though it doesn’t taste sweet, lemon juice contains sugar, which are carbon compounds. You can’t see these compounds at room temperature, but heat releases the carbon. When carbon comes in contact with air, it turns brown.

Simple "Sushi" for Kids

Created by Ariana Lugo, age 9, for the Healthy-Lunch-Challenge Cookbook

Ariana’s mom, Tania, says, “Sushi for Kids is a recipe that I have been trying with my kids, and they love it. It’s easy to make, healthy, and fun to prepare with the kids,” she says. “They usually prepare it and serve a papaya shake on the side.”

In the Colorado winter, you could try a smoothie with bananas, yogurt and frozen strawberries! Try other variations of Ariana's recipe using your families favorite ingredients. Roasted turkey, tortillas, or even fruit leather could form your rolling material. Any you might be surprised -- your kids might like the traditional seaweed sushi base!

Makes 1 serving


2 slices oven-roasted ham

4 ounces low-fat cream cheese 1 cup cooked white rice

1/2 avocado, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced

1 small tomato


On a plate, evenly spread the cream cheese on the ham slices. Divide the rice between the slices and press it into the cream cheese. Place the avocados and tomatoes in the center of each slice of ham. Roll the ham tightly around the filling, and cut each roll into 4 pieces.

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What is the Right Amount of Sleep?

Sleep is more than just a welcome break for new parents. Parents who guide their children toward good sleep habits are making sure they grow up healthy and reach their full potential. Research shows that children who do not get enough sleep risk irritability, obesity and poor academic success. Children who get enough sleep, studies show, behave better, and do better in school. What is the right amount of sleep? How do I help my child get the right amount of sleep?

Establish a healthy sleep routine that can last a lifetime…

  • Have regular naptimes and bedtimes to make sure your child gets enough sleep.
  • Try not to cut back on naps to get them to sleep through the night - they will get overtired and sleep poorly.
  • Sleep time is not screen time. Turn off the television and any other screens one hour before bedtime and make your child’s room is a screen-free zone.
  • Put your toddlers to bed drowsy to help them learn to fall asleep on their own.
  • Teach your child to fall asleep without milk In a bottle or sippy cup - it’s bad for their sleep and their teeth.
  • Help your child sleep with a cool room (less than 75 degrees), a bedtime story and calming music.
  • Mothers, fathers, grandparents and other caregivers can become role models for healthy sleep. Show your children that sleep is a priority for your family. If you are worried about your child’s sleep patterns, talk to a doctor. Making sure your child gets enough sleep will help them establish healthy sleep habits that will last them a lifetime.