Healthy/Not Healthy

Mack is an enigma to me. He is a newly 3 rambunctious and energetic boy, and he functions at top speed ALL THE TIME.  At his age, I was happy to spend every afternoon playing My Little Ponies with my three sisters, so having a young fella of my own is still new to me.  As such, I am always looking for activities that will keep him engaged and excited.

Let me qualify that statement: I am always looking for activities that don’t involve destroying the house or tormenting his sisters with his kung fu moves or constant game of tag.

If it’s a nice day, we go outside and he runs and jumps and climbs and he’s so endearingly happy.  But, yesterday was a rainy day, so while Evie was at school and Vivian took a nap Mack and I had some time together indoors.  Rather than let the iPad entertain him all afternoon, we worked on a quiet age-appropriate activity.  It was a super simple project, but I thought I’d share it here in case other Homemade Mothers out there are looking for ideas to educate and entertain their wily 3 year old boys.

We went through a cooking magazine together and cut out images of yummy-looking food.  Once we had a nice pile, I asked Mack to sort the foods into healthy/not healthy groups.  He really did enjoy the task!  And, it occupied his busy body for a solid 30 minutes!

This activity could easily morph into other topics: Yummy/Yucky. Fun/Not Fun.  Quiet/Loud.  Just depends on whatever images we can find in old magazines.  Anything to keep my little guy busy!

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Written by Maureen

More posts by: Maureen

3 Comments for this entry

  1. Amanda says:

    Although I have a lot of talks with my 3 year old son about “junk” and “healthy” food and I don’t really have a problem with this activity, I wonder if it is teaching what you want. I don’t know what your families policy on junk food is, but we do allow it, in moderation here. (Additionally, my son has an SPD and we’ve found chewy food to be helpful to calm him, which is often junkier.) So I would wonder if my son understood that even foods that are “healthy” can be unhealthy if we eat too much of them. If I were doing this with my son I’d just definitely try to explain why something is healthy or not as well as portion size considerations. But honestly I would probably avoid this particular task because this is a really tough issue for me since I’m obese and my son is very heavy for his age (but he’s tall too, so his height/weight ratio is right on, but his ped still gives me crap all the time). I’m trying to create an honest atmosphere about food choices, but I wonder if I focus on it too much or if some of it will come back to haunt me later if he has mental hangups about food when he’s older.

    I really like classifying projects and using scissors is always popular here, but the quiet/loud idea might have less baggage with it in this house (and I’d make him paste a picture of himself on there under LOUD).

    • Maureen says:

      Thanks for your comment, Amanda! We are all entitled to our opinion, and mine is that there is absolutely no harm in teaching my kids (from a young age) the differences between healthy and unhealthy foods. This activity is absolutely teaching them what I want them to learn: that certain foods are good for their bodies, while other foods are damaging. In our home, every meal is served with at least two sides of fruit/veggie, and snacks might be yogurt, fruit or an occasional granola bar.

      Our policy on junk food is restrictive. Aside from occasional exceptions, we just do not buy processed junk foods. If my kids want a special treat (i.e. chocolate chip cookies), then they ask if we can make a batch together. I want my kids to make healthy choices, and the best way to do it is through education and example.

      I just do not think teaching my kids about healthy choices will give them a mental hang-up when they are older; I teach them about why smoking is bad, and I’m not worried that their lack of exposure to cigarette smoke will cause mental anguish! If anything, encouraging healthy eating habits in childhood might be the best way to ensure they make good choices when they are adults.

  2. Meghan says:

    This is adorable! I especially like that it is a great way to repurpose old magazines. Think I can use the same teaching technique for my boyfriend as well?

    ;)

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