Campfire Treats

Healthy camping treats, and some new spins on old campfire classics

Photo courtesy KidzWorld Kitchen

 

Camping has been a longstanding summer tradition throughout my childhood and adult life. My favorite vacations have always been our trips to the northwestern coast of Michigan with friends and family, spending our days on the pristine beaches of Lake Michigan, followed by evenings of unwinding by the campfire.

And if a camping trip isn’t in the cards, maybe you can pop the tent in the backyard and make some of these treats over a backyard campfire, or on the grill!

It is so easy to pack the car full of processed convenience foods for quick and easy traditional camping treats. Your family will feel better, though, if you plan some healthy treats into your camping adventure. And the good news is, there are plenty of ways to have all the nostalgia of the classic campfire treats and still feed your family the good stuff their bodies need. Here are some ideas:

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Activities that help develop motor skills

Play-based exercises you can do at home!

mott blog - motor skill development activitiesSometimes what looks like “play” can be really important ways to exercise your child’s fine motor skills and gross motor skills.

Fine motor skills involve the small muscles of the body that enable such functions as writing, grasping small objects, and fastening clothing. They involve strength, fine motor control, and dexterity.  These skills are important foundations for school activities as well as in life in general. Weaknesses in fine motor skills can affect a child’s ability to eat, write legibly, use a computer, turn pages in a book, and perform personal care tasks such as dressing and grooming.

Turning blank spaces into healing places

New “Healing Wall” project provides distraction for patients

One of the new healing murals being installed in C.S. Mott Children's Hospital

One of the new “healing murals” being installed in C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital

A visit to the hospital is hardly on the list of fun things to do — especially if you’re a kid. Many parents – myself included – have noticed a lack of distractions available for the children who were waiting to see a doctor or have a procedure. I’m sure I am not the first person to have wondered — wouldn’t it be nice to use some of the big, open walls in the new hospital to create something that would be visually interesting for all visitors and something what would engage the children while they wait?

I took my idea to the Mott Patient and Family Centered Care advisory group where the idea was refined with the input of the Mott families and staff. Together, we decided that a mural was a great way to make use of wall space that was currently blank. We discovered an amazing Michigan-based artist, Tracy Leigh Fisher, who had created murals in other hospitals as well as individual homes.

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New support group for parents of children with eye disease and visual impairment

Bringing parents together to talk about the challenges posed by pediatric eye disorders

children's vision support groupWhen a child is diagnosed with a serious eye disorder, it can be extremely unsettling to both parent and child.  The parent’s first challenge is to learn about the disease, its treatment, and what this means for the child’s eyesight.  It’s understandable that parents often feel alone in their struggle and are unsure and anxious about what lies ahead.

A group of physicians at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center want to help parents find the resources they need — whether these are aids for low vision or advice on navigating the school system.  Even more important, we realize that parents can benefit greatly from discussing shared experiences with others in a group setting.  It gives them the opportunity to learn about how others in the same situation are handling challenges.

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Is tonsil and adenoid surgery always the answer for children with sleep apnea?

mott blog - sleep apnea tonsilIt’s estimated than 1 to 4 percent of children suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when a child’s breathing is partially or completely blocked repeatedly during sleep.

Symptoms of sleep apnea can include loud snoring, gasps or pauses in breathing while sleeping, and restless or sweaty sleep. These children can also have daytime symptoms, including being tired, irritable or problems concentrating.

Research is increasingly showing that untreated pediatric sleep disorders including sleep apnea can wreak a heavy toll while they persist. If not treated, serious cases of sleep apnea can lead to a variety of problems. These include heart, behavior, learning, and growth problems.

Many children with sleep apnea have large tonsils and adenoids, although obesity and other medical problems can also be a factor. When a child’s tonsils or adenoids are thought to be the culprit, the most common treatment approach has typically been to remove the child’s tonsils and adenoids.

The decision to put a child through any surgical procedure is not one to be taken lightly, however, even with a procedure as  common as this one.

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