Create a Hero Garden

Let your child's imagination come alive with his or her own interactive garden!

An interactive garden like the “Hero Gardens” we built with children in our Siblings Program at Mott Children’s Hospital is a great activity to try at home with your kids because it provides plenty of imaginative fun, and you probably already have most of what you need in your home or yard already!  These gardens are simple and quick to make, but can bring hours of enjoyment over the summer, as your child changes and adds to his or her garden to reflect different things you do, explore and learn together over the summer.

Check out our “how to” video, and let us know how it works for you!  We would love to see pictures of your own “Hero Garden” – you are welcome to post them to our Facebook wall, or tag #mottchildren in any photos you share on Instagram or Twitter.

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Taste a rainbow

Let colors help diversify your child's diet

mott blog - taste a rainbow post imageAs a pediatric dietitian, a common question parents ask me is how to get their child to eat more fruits or vegetables. Summer is a great time to teach children about the value of eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. A trip to the supermarket, farmers’ market or your own garden can quickly show the plentiful options. When children are involved in choosing foods and preparing meals, they are more likely to eat what is served. You might be surprised at what your child will eat when he or she helps to make it!

Using colors can be a good way to increase your child’s intake of fruits, vegetables and other nutrient-rich foods. This is a fun way to introduce new fruits and vegetables while providing a variety of essential nutrients. Different colored fruits and vegetables provide various nutrients. For example, orange fruits and vegetables provide beta-carotene, which our bodies convert into vitamin A, an important nutrient for vision. Green vegetables supply vitamin K, which our bodies use to build strong bones. Other colored fruits and vegetables provide other important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Here are some ways to use colors to teach your kids about food, while increasing their intake of fruits and vegetables:

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Keeping curiosity alive during the summer

mott blog - keep learning post imageSchool may be out, but learning never ends. That doesn’t mean sitting your kids down for a classroom session each day. It means simply incorporating learning into everyday activities and encouraging your child’s natural curiosity. When your child shows interest in a topic and asks you questions, use that as an opportunity to encourage his or her inquisitiveness.

If your child is in school, most teachers will include progress report comments on areas in which your child may need improvement. Keep those areas in mind when engaging in learning opportunities throughout the summer. Seek out activities that focus on those specific areas. If it’s something like memorizing multiplication tables that might not lend itself to casual engagement, get some flash cards and set aside practice time or use a fun online site (search multiplication table games, there are many fun, free options).

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Safety first when it comes to water

mott blog - water watcher post imageThere’s nothing like a cool dip in the pool or lake on a hot summer day, but children and water can be a dangerous combination. In fact, drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death in Michigan for children ages 1 to 4 years old. You can have your water and your safety too, just take the proper precautions.

One of the most frequent drowning or near drowning scenarios we see at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital Emergency Department is what I call the diffusion effect — when several adults are in the area, but each thinks someone else is watching the children. In reality, no one is closely watching the children.

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Win an iPad mini!

...and other weekly prizes, from Camp Little Victors!

mott blog - camp - ipad miniAs if the activities, recipes, videos and safety tips weren’t enough … each Camp Little Victors camper can also gain entries into weekly raffles for fun prizes!

And, for a grand finale, in week six we’re giving away an iPad mini to one lucky camper!

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What’s really in the juice box? 5 Tips for picking healthy drinks for kids

This summer has been full of steamy hot days, leaving many kids craving hydration. What seems tasty and refreshing, however, isn’t always the best choice. Ditch the unnecessary sugar and offer the fluids your family really needs.

Here are five ways to help pick healthy beverages for your child:

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