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Posts Tagged ‘ages 2 to 5’

Svenska: En smoothie år 2009

(Bluebery smoothie, Wikipedia, Public Domain)

It can be a challenge to make fresh fruits and vegetables a regular and well-loved part of a young child’s diet, but fruit smoothies are a favorite for children of all ages. Below is a “generic” smoothie recipe that allows a cultural au pair to make quick and flexible smoothies for home lunches and snacks. Be sure to supervise young children carefully, if they help make their own smoothies.

First you need a blender.

  • For each smoothie serving, peel and slice one banana and place it in the blender. (Tip: If the banana has been frozen, it will chill and thicken the smoothie).
  • To the banana add a handful of seasonal or frozen berries (e.g., blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries, singly or as a mixture).
  • Add liquid to cover the fruit. Fruit juices of various kinds (e.g., apple, orange, grape) work well. Soy, almond, or rice milks are another possibility. Experiment with less liquid to make a thick smoothie, or more liquid to make a thin smoothie.

Extra nutritional supplements may be added as desired, to personalize a smoothie. Young children may prefer the plain ingredients above. Older children, who need extra energy for school athletics or other activities, may develop a taste for added ingredients below.

  • Wheat germ increases available B vitamins
  • Bee pollen (watch carefully for allergies with young children) is favored by some to increase general nutritional content
  • Protein powder (e.g., soy, rice, or whey protein depending on desire or sensitivity) adds amino acids that support protein synthesis
  • Spirulina or other greens powders add minerals
  • Juice blends (e.g. ginger and Echinacea) provide gentle levels of herbal ingredients

Blend all ingredients until well mixed. For further information and ideas, you may also enjoy visiting Smoothieweb.

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The prevalence of childhood asthma in the Unit...

(Childhood Asthma, Wikipedia, Public Domain)

Sloan Barrett (2008), in her book Green Goes With Everything, discusses the potential value of using less chemically processed products in the home—especially in caring for a child or baby. For those cultural au pairs and Host Families who prefer a less toxic lifestyle, due to allergies or simple preference, Barrett offers a wide variety of information.

Barrett’s choice of green and nontoxic lifestyle came as a result of an emergency that occurred with her son. When Spencer was three years old, he began to cough. Then his heart began to race wildly. Emergency room doctors responded with strong drugs and a stay in the intensive care unit. Spencer had developed reactive asthma.

As she researched, Barrett learned that asthma is epidemic in the United States. Ashtma has increased 160 per cent in children under 5 since 1980, and some epidemiological studies believe cleaning products are involved (p. 2). Children and babies are more vulnerable because they are smaller, and their immune systems are growing.

Barrett’s book is one of a variety of such titles on the market presently, but it is clearly written, logically organized, and supported. Barrett’s provides a wide variety of credible government and additional references and resources.

____________

Barrett, S. (2008). Green goes with everything: Simple steps to a healthier life and a cleaner planet. NY: Atria.

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play-thumbnail

(photos-public-domain.com, Public Domain Image)

Cultural au pairs often provide enrichment and learning experiences for their Host Children. Below is an activity that targets 1 of the 3 most common learning styles, visual learning.

Homemade Play Dough

Visual art is a creative learning experience for children. It doesn’t matter if they create a masterpiece according to adult standards. It simply matters that they are involved in creating with color and shape.

  • 1 ½ cups flour (use different kinds of flour if the child has food allergies)
  • ¾ cups salt (sea salt is plain, without additives)
  • 3 tablespoons oil (olive and coconut store for a long time)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar
  •  Natural food coloring to suit

Mix ingredients in a pan. Heat slowly until dough “forms.” Remove from heat and stir until the play dough has a “finished” texture. Store refrigerated in a resealable plastic bag.

Encourage the children to create figures and scenes, using different colors to make them realistic. Additional learning styles become part of this activity as the dough is kneaded (kinesthetic), and a story is told out loud (auditory).

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