ATK Kids

Resources for Keeping Kids Active and Healthy at Home

Here’s a handful of healthy, kid-friendly snacks and physical activities for indoor (or outdoor) fun.

Published Mar. 27, 2020.

Whether you’re an adult or a kid, your world is pretty topsy-turvy at the moment, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. School is canceled, sports and other after-school activities are on hiatus, and playdates aren’t happening, making it a lot harder for kids to be physically active. Exercise and physical activity, along with some healthy food choices, can help kids feel more balanced and bring a little sliver of normalcy to these unsettling times. Our team at America’s Test Kitchen Kids is here to help.

For the past 18 months, we have been working in partnership with BOKS (Build Our Kids' Success)—a free physical activity program designed to get kids active and establish a lifelong commitment to health and fitness to create resources that help kids learn to make healthy and nutritious food choices. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, they’ve created a BOKS at Home resource page on their website. And in this article, we’ve teamed up to bring you some healthy, quick, and easy snack recipes for kids (and their grown-ups) along with some physical fitness games and activities for kids of all ages. 

French Onion Yogurt DipCherry-Almond SmoothiesKale Chips
From left; French Onion Yogurt Dip, Cherry-Almond Smoothies, Kale Chips

3 Healthy, Delicious, Kid-Tested Snacks

Everyone loves to dip—and it doesn’t get much easier than a creamy Yogurt Dip. Kids can stir together protein-packed Greek yogurt, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and fresh chives (or scallions if you’ve got them instead) for a healthier take on French onion dip. (No Greek yogurt? You can swap in plain yogurt, but the consistency will be thinner.) Dip carrot sticks, celery sticks, crackers, or Tortilla Chips

As the weather starts to warm up, Smoothies make for a sweet, sippable, nutritious snack. With five different flavors to choose from, everyone can find a favorite smoothie—will kids blend up Mixed Berry, Cherry-Almond, Strawberry-Peach, Kale-Pineapple, or Tropical Fruit? All of these recipes rely on frozen fruit, yogurt, honey, a splash of juice, and one fresh banana. Start with one of our flavors, or encourage kids to experiment with their favorite fruits. 

Potatoes aren’t the only vegetable that makes delicious chips. Meet crispy, flavorful (and healthy) Kale Chips. Kids can use kitchen shears and their hands to cut and tear the kale into chip-sized pieces before baking them low-and-slow to get them ultra-crisp. Let your young chefs choose their Kale Chips' flavor: plain (with salt), ranch, or sesame-ginger. 

Fruit or Vegetable? BOKS at home

Games and Activities to Get Kids Moving

Our friends at BOKS are here to help your family stay active while you’re at home. Through their website, BOKS is sharing free games and activities to help keep kids active and happy during this difficult time, such as kid-friendly workout videos, yoga and mindfulness activities, and more. All of these resources can be used at home, with just one or a few kids, and require minimal equipment. (They’re fun for grown-ups, too—I’ve tried a few myself!) Here are two fun, active games for kids of all ages. 

Fruit or Vegetable Sprints
In this fun (and educational!) game, kids learn about the scientific difference between fruits and vegetables and then have to decide whether different foods are a fruit or a vegetable by running to different spots. This activity works best in an open play area, yard, or park, where kids have room to run a bit. Here’s how to play.

1. Explain the scientific difference between fruits and vegetables to kids:

  • Fruits are the part of the plant that contains the seed or seeds. Some things we commonly call vegetables, like tomatoes, are actually fruits.
  • Vegetables are the leaves, stems, roots, and even flowers of plants that we eat. Some examples of vegetables are lettuce (leaves) and potatoes (roots).

2. Designate one side of the room as the fruit side and the opposite side of the room as the vegetable side. Tell kids you’re going to call out the name of a food. If they think it’s a fruit, they should run to the fruit side of the room. If they think it’s a vegetable, they should run to the vegetable side of the room. If they’re not sure, they can stay in the center.

3. Play the game using the fruits and vegetables in the list below (or come up with your own!). Ask kids to tell you know they knew something was a fruit or a vegetable.

  • Watermelon (fruit)
  • Avocado (fruit)
  • Broccoli (vegetable)
  • Cucumber (fruit)
  • Sweet potato (vegetable)
  • Pumpkin (fruit)
  • Brussels sprouts (vegetable)
  • Onions (vegetable)
  • Lemon (fruit)
  • Pepper (fruit)
  • Strawberry (fruit)
  • Celery (vegetable)

Move Like an Animal
This activity can be done indoors or outdoors and encourages kids to mimic the (sometimes hilarious) movements of different animals. Here’s how to play.

1. Call out the movements for one of the animals on the list below (or have kids come up with a list of their favorite animals). Kids should move like the animal for 30 seconds before moving on to the next animal.

  • Fly like a bumblebee
  • Jump like a grasshopper
  • Slither like a snake
  • Crawl like a spider
  • March line an ant
  • Soar like an eagle
  • Wriggle like a caterpillar
  • Slide like a snail
  • Swim like a shark
  • Run like a cheetah

The Young Chefs' Club

Every month, young chefs ages 5 and up receive a themed box filled with kid-tested recipes, hands-on activities and experiments, and other creative items, such as art projects, achievement buttons, a kitchen tool or special ingredient, and more.  
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