Planning Summer Fun for Kids that Fuels Body and Mind

As summer approaches our family likes to plan great adventures for the kids. Whether we come up with rainy day backup plans, activities that are a quick car ride away, week-long trips or book day camps, we like to find activities keep the kids stimulated and allow them to stretch their minds while they explore the infinite possibilities in the world around us.

Now that summer it here, the advance planning is complete and we need to focus on how we will get through each day happily while maintaining the healthy lifestyle we strive for. Summer days can be long and very active without some advance planning the day can be derailed by hunger and poor planning. Pushing kids out of their comfort zone is great, but you still need to cover the basics. Getting enough rest, sunscreen, the right clothes, and food are essential.

Last night we tried some backyard camping. Backyard camping is loads of fun for all the kids but, in addition to sleeping bags and tents, our recipe for success always involves extra sleeping pads, flashlights, heads lamps, an extra layer even if the weather is balmy.  Packing some yummy, filling snacks is also a must do. If your kid thinks they will need to run inside because they are cold, scared of the dark or famished you significantly lower your chances that they'll go back to the tent for the night. Last night our camping snacks were icy Horizon Super Squeeze pouches in Orange Blast, almonds, and Horizon Colby Cheese Sticks, and raisins. The kids took turns telling stories and sharing snacks. They were happy with tasty treats, we were happy because we knew they were getting protein and food made from organic ingredients. With full tummies, by ten o'clock the whispers faded to soft snores and not a child came calling at the house for an extra bite or even a hug. Today, they have been full of stories from the night and making picture books of their “adventures” in the woods.

Planning a road trip or even packing up for day-camp involves similar planning and strategizing. Here in the Bay Area temperatures can change by 15 degrees if the fog burns off or alternately rolls in. Backpacks are always stuffed with extra layers, hats and sunscreen so our campers have options and are prepared and can focus on the fun, not whether they are hot, cold or damp. Our approach to packing camp lunches and snacks is similar. We've been blessed with at least one picky, somewhat disinterested eater among our brood. In order to assure that all the kids can maintain the energy they need for a day packed full of fun I aim for a variety of healthy foods in their lunch boxes. If they only eat a couple items, even if I've over packed the box, I know they've had enough to get them through the day and maybe even have a snack on hand for the ride home. Tomorrow's camp lunch box includes: Horizon Vanilla Milk Boxes, carrot sticks, sliced turkey, Horizon Cheddar Cheese Shapes, a mini whole wheat bagel, and a tangerine. –More than the picky one would ever eat for one sitting but yummy and enough to sustain him healthfully even if he just picks a few items.

How do you help your kids maintain a healthy lifestyle while fueling their imaginations with great activities?

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This conversation is sponsored by Horizon. The opinions and text are all mine.