Middle School Camp
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Welcome to Camp CHW

Week 1 - Middle School
Welcome to Camp CHW, a new virtual camp experience full of healthy living activities for the whole family. We are excited that you have decided to join us and cannot wait to share all the fun that we have in store.

Camp CHW involves two parts. First, you will receive our digital newsletter each week full of activities for the coming week. We will always include a nutrition education lesson and an interactive activity to reinforce the main themes of the lesson. We will also always include several ways to help your children burn off some of their energy. For preschool and elementary tracts, this will generally take the form of movement songs and short games. In addition to exercise ideas, our middle school tract will also include a brief fitness lesson as well.  Each week we will also include Camp CHW homework in the form of a family health handout. Each week will have a goal for you to complete as a family as well as additional ideas, activities, and recipes based on the weekly theme. Most weeks will also include links to more fun activities.

Second, Camp CHW counselors will be available throughout the week within each of Camp CHW’s Facebook groups. (Preschool, Elementary, and Middle School) We will be posting videos of many of the activities included in the weekly newsletters and will be available to answer any questions you may have. We also have some exciting virtual field trips planned as well as several opportunities for interaction. We encourage you to share photos of your experiences as you go along. Make sure that you don’t miss out on the fun and join the groups today! 

Click on the photo below to go to the Camp CHW facebook groups page.
 

MINDFUL EATING

Today’s fast-paced society tempts us with an abundance of food choices. Distractions have shifted attention away from the actual act of eating toward televisions, computers, and smartphones. Eating has become a mindless act ... but it doesn’t have to be.

During this first week we will be focusing on mindful eating. One way to begin to eat mindfully is to simply focus on how we use all five of our senses when eating. Eating mindfully can help you make healthier choices, improve digestion, and enjoy greater pleasure for the foods that you eat.

The first sense we use when we eat food is our vision or sight. We look with our eyes at what is on our plate or the food that is on the shelf at the store. Our mind thinks that the look of something tells us how the food is going to taste.

We use sight to determine initial quality assessment. Sight is used to determine if the food has been properly cooked, is fresh with no brown spots, whether it looks desirable to eat, and should we purchase it. Over the years, scientists have found that even the color of food can change our perception about that food, again using the sense of sight to determine how that food might taste. For example, people perceive that if something is green, it is fresh and has better nutrition.

We also use our nose when we walk into a kitchen or at a barbeque. Our mind thinks the smell of something tells us what that food might be and if we are going to like it or not. There are two main ways our sense of smell is used when eating food. There is a direct way when we smell through our nose. There is also an indirect way that happens once we put the food in our mouth.

Eating with our ears sounds somewhat funny, but when we think about our five senses, we do use our ears when we eat: we listen for the frying of fish or the crunch of potato chips. 

Touch is an easier sense to think about when we are eating. Texture can be felt with your fingers, tongue, teeth and palate. As a baby, texture of food came to us slowly and many times babies had very soft texture foods to start with. Just imagine if all our food was the texture of baby food! 

Finally, how does the food we put in our mouth taste? Taste is one of the main things people think about when we bite into an apple or drink coffee. Five basic tastes can be identified when we eat something:
  1. Sweet - This includes honey, sugar and many other sweeteners.
  2. Salt - This includes table, kosher, and sea salt.
  3. Sour - This can come from lemons, limes, grapefruit, etc.
  4. Bitter - This can come from cocoa, coffee beans, etc.
  5. Umani - Umami was discovered in 1908 and means pleasant to the taste or savory. Umami taste comes from things like soy sauce or parmesan cheese.
 
This week when eating with your children, help them think not only about how their food tastes, but also how it looks, sounds, feels, and smells.

PRACTICING MINDFUL EATING

Help your children practice mindful eating with this fun popcorn investigation. You will need ingredients to make popcorn either by microwaving, air popper, or stovetop. You will also need one copy of the observation sheet linked below for each child. 
 
Click here for a printable pdf. 
Before begining to pop the popcorn, allow your children to observe the unpopped kernels and guide them through recording their observations on the included worksheet.  While the popcorn is popping continue prompting your children to think about what they are observing and work through the remainder of the worksheet. Continue prompting as your children look at, feel, and finally taste the popcorn. 

If you are feeling ambitious, try the raisin mindful eating exercise below. 
 

Place a single raisin on a plate in front of your child. (If you are not particularly fond of raisins, any single food item will work.) Take your child through the script below, varying it as you feel appropriate.

“Look at the (food’s name). What is its shape? What size is it? What color is the (food)?  What smell do you notice? What sensation do you notice in your mouth as you look at the (food)? What’s the feeling in your stomach? Pick up the food slowly. Hold the (food) in your fingers and look at it in your grasp.  What does the (food) feel like in your hand:  its texture, temperature?

Bring the (food) slowly to your lips. Before putting the food to your mouth, pause and be aware of what you are experiencing in your mouth.  Slowly open and place the (food) on your tongue for a moment without biting into it. Feel what you mouth wants to do with this (food). Take a few moments before you bite into it. Feel its texture on your tongue and in your mouth.  What do you taste?

Now bite into it noticing what you taste and what it feels like.  As you continue to taste, try not to swallow the (food) right away.  Does the taste and feeling change as you are chewing? Feel the food going down as you swallow. Refocus on your mouth. Notice your stomach and what it may be feeling. Notice what you are feeling?  Now you have finished your exercise.”

Adapted from: Willard, Christopher, 2010, A Child’s Mind: Mindful Practice to Help Our Children Be More Focused, Calm, and Relaxed, Parallax Press, CA
To wrap up the exercise, ask your child what he/she learned from eating slowly and mindfully.
  • Was eating like this different?
  • How was it different?
  • Would he/she like to do this again?
  • How could focusing attention like this help him/her in other activities? 
For further practice, consider repeating the exercise with other foods. Consider using two foods that differ from one another in flavor and texture and compare your experience with each.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

You know the wonderful feeling you get when you wake up in the morning and stretch your body? Well, that great feeling should also be part of your workout routine.

To get that great feeling you need to add some flexibility exercises to your routine. You know that your range of motion is very important, especially when you’re bending over to tie your shoe or reaching up high to grab a book off a shelf. Without good flexibility, simple daily tasks can become difficult. There are a few different types of stretching.

Static stretching is stretching that has little or no movement. It is held in a comfortable position for about 10–20 seconds. Active stretching, on the other hand, requires the body to move smoothly through a specific range of motion. We’ll be trying out these different types of stretches in our lesson today. Ballistic stretching is a type of stretching that requires bouncing movements. This type of stretching is only for specific sports (for example, martial arts), because it has a higher risk of muscle pulls than the other types of stretching.
 
Here are 10 good reasons to stretch, according to the American Council on Exercise:

STRETCHING…
 
1. Decreases muscle stiffness
2. Reduces your risk of injury
3. Helps your body feel better, especially after playing hard
4. Improves your posture
5. Helps reduce tension (for example, before taking a test)
6. Helps your muscles relax
7. Allows your joints to be flexible
8. Prepares your body to play sports (for example, check out professional athletes before they play—they warm up and stretch)
9. Increases circulation by helping blood and oxygen travel through the body
10. Reduces the risk of lower-back pain
So lets get to stretching! 

(Click here for a printable pdf.)

WEEKLY HOMEWORK

Yes, Camp CHW does have homework . . . but it's fun. This week's family goal is to try three new fruits or vegetables with your child and talk about how each food looks, smells, sounds, taste, and feels. Also check out the recommended books, delicious recipes, and additional activites included in this week's health handout. (Click on the photo for a printable pdf.)

ADDITIONAL ACTIVITES

Mindful Eating Practice Worksheet

Check out the mindful eating worksheet from Education.com and practice mindful eating with the whole family. (Click on photo above for link.)

Preparing Your Home for Mindful Eating

Head on over to The Tao of Dana for some tips on preparing your home environment to promote mindful eating. (Click on photo above for link.)
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Macon, GA 31202 

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