February is American Heart Month! Celebrate by taking control of your health to prevent heart disease–and make it a family affair!! It is never too early to teach children about how their hearts benefit from a good diet and lots of exercise. By reinforcing an active lifestyle and proper eating habits, you can teach children, by example, how to keep their hearts in good shape. You can, additionally, teach children how the heart works and the importance of taking good care of themselves.
Fresh fruits and vegetables play a big role in keeping your heart healthy. Today’s simple hummus recipe is packed full of nutrients that will keep your heart pumping strong!!
2 cans (15 1/2 ounces each) chickpeas
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini, well stirred
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving (optional)
Paprika, for serving (optional)
- Reserving the liquid from one can of the beans, drain the second can of chickpeas in a colander. Rinse chickpeas well under cold water; shake off excess water
- Process chickpeas and reserved liquid, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, cayenne, and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt in a food processor.
- Transfer mixture to a serving dish. If desired, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with paprika.
This can be refrigerated, covered, up to one week. Use it in sandwiches or as a dip for vegetables and toasted pita bread.
1. FRUIT AND VEGGIE HIDE-AND-SEEK :
Now that you have tried a heart healthy dip with veggies, it’s time to turn your veggies(and fruit) into a fun game!
You will need to print out a copy of the fruit and vegetable pages and shopping carts by clicking on the link here.
Cut them out and laminate for better durability.
Cut out the opening at the top of the shopping cart. Glue or staple the edges of the shopping cart page to a piece of construction paper. Leave the top unstapled in order to remove the cards at the end of the game.
Have a flashlight handy to make this game into a “flashlight hide-and-seek!”
Hide the fruit and veggie cards around the room (no peaking kids!) Don’t hide them too hard—you want to have enough time to work on the language concepts!!
Turn the lights in the room OFF and turn the flashlight ON! —-(if you are addressing the concept “ON/OFF”, this would be a great way to demonstrate this)
As your kiddo finds the cards, have them label the name of each item, then slide the cards into the appropriate shopping cart—(here’s an opportunity to practice the concept: “IN”)
Your student needs to decide which cart to put the card into—all fruits will go into one cart and all veggies go into the other to address the concept of CATEGORIZATION.
Once they have found all the cards, turn the lights back on. Empty out the carts to see if they put the foods in the correct cart. Reinforce the correct category as well as the correct names of each item.
If you are working on the /f/&/v/, use this activity to reinforce these sounds at the sentence level while playing hide and seek :
“I found a fruit” or “I found a vegetable”
2. ”I’m going to the Grocery Store….”
For this AUDITORY RECALL GAME, shuffle all the cards and place them in a pile face down—this game works well with a small group. Have them take turns picking a card off the top of the deck. The first student will start off saying, “I’m going to the grocery store to buy…..” and name the food on their card. Then they will put the card face down in the center of the table. The next child will say, “ I’m going to the grocery store to buy…” and he will repeat the food the other child named, then the one on his own card. Have him place his card next to the one the previous child picked. Play continues until all the cards are used. The object is to try and remember the names of all the cards, repeating/remembering each mentioned item while adding new ones. Only turn the card over to peak if you can’t remember the next food.
3–Here’s a great activity from The American Heart Association —a scavenger hunt to play at home with your family and friends. The only thing needed are some common household objects… and of course your energy!! You can time the game to really get your heart pumping AND it’s a great way to work on direction following and auditory memory (just have someone be the designated direction-giver)…get ready, get set, go!!!