My son’s kindergarten classmates have many allergies. As a result, we aren’t celebrating any birthdays, holidays or the like with food. Rather, we are delighting the children with special treats and experiences that move food from the center of attention. His early October birthday gave me the opportunity to provide each student with a mini pumpkin and a reading from an entertaining book, which I then donated to the classroom so they could continue to enjoy it.
Allergies or not, schools are looking for creative ways to celebrate special occasions that emphasize healthier options and make the celebration less about food. As the holiday season gets underway, I have some ideas to share with you that are all about fun and excitement with creative activities and “better-for-you” food options. (Many of these suggestions also help with allergies are some are gluten free and dairy free, all are nut free.)
Cut a 3 Guiding Stars banana in half and insert popsicle stick. Dip banana “pop” into vanilla yogurt. Lightly sprinkle with shimmery sprinkles to create “icicles.”
‘Tis the Season Trail Mix
Colored Goldfish snacks, dried cranberries and blueberries, dry roasted edamame, pumpkin seeds…these are just a few of the ideas you can find that match the colors of the season. If funds are available, provide students with cool containers that they can be reused for school lunch.
Fruit and Veggie Color Wheel
Using fall and holiday colors as your theme, create a color wheel that will delight the eyes and encourage children to eat their fruits and veggies! For example, a veggie platter can include red pepper strips, green sugar snap peas and sliced jicama.
Star Fruit Fun
Many children have never seen or tried star fruit. Bring in a few so kids can see what they look like whole, then slice and create a plate of “stars” for sharing!
I love these 12 Coolest Holiday Party Games for children age pre-k through 6th grade. They are fun, creative and definitely doable!
Get crafty with one of these Endless Apple Crafts that will engage students in fun activities. Bring in some extra apples so kids can snack on them too!
Have children draw a tree (branches only). Using an array of fall colors, ask students to write something they are grateful for on each leaf and attach to tree. No doubt, their “gratitude tree” will become a Thanksgiving decoration their parents will hang every year.
This activity requires access to an oven or large toaster oven. Ask children to bring in their broken crayons (ideally with paper peeled off, if not this will have to be done in class). Break crayons and place pieces into holiday themed molds. “Bake” at 200 degrees until melted, remove from oven and allow them to harden. Allow kids to bring home their holiday crayons and/or save them for future class work to remind kids of the fun they had!