Combine books and food for fun: Dairy

Help children learn about making deposits into their bone banks by combining a dairy themed book and a snack.

We only get one skeleton and we need to keep our bones healthy. Children need to learn that dairy products can help build strong and healthy bones. Explain to children that their bones are like a bank account, we can consider our bodies a bone bank. It’s important to make deposits early in life and often and to continue. The more deposits that are made, the better the chance of having a bone account to last a lifetime.

New bone forms at a faster rate during the childhood and teen years. Bone mass peak (maximum bone density and strength) is reached around age 30. The years of rapid growth are the best time to make sure bones are healthy and strong. The more calcium bones receive the more likely they are to retain their density and strength. 

Maintaining bone mass, after the age of 35, can be thought of like maintaining your bone account balance. As we get older, density and bone strength begins to be depleted. Our bodies begin to make withdrawals from our bone bank by borrowing calcium from our bones. Not only is making deposits into our bone bank important but so is physical activity. Activities that involve weight bearing, where muscles are forced to work against gravity will help bones to build and maintain strength. Walking, running, basketball, soccer and dancing are examples of weight-bearing physical activities.

Explaining the importance of bone bank deposits to children is a place to begin. Include the explanation along with a weight-bearing activity or two. Then select a book to enjoy before heading into the kitchen. Dairy themed books to enjoy are “Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type” by Doreen Cronin, “Oliver’s Milkshake” by Vivian French or “From Grass to Milk” by Stacy Taus-Bolstad. 

To enjoy dairy in the kitchen, Michigan State University Extension suggests involving children in the recipe selection because there are so many options. Cheese and crackers is simple and to the point. Tossing fruit and adding ingredients into a blender and watching them whirl and mix together may give children a bit more satisfaction in the snack they have helped create. 

The United Dairy Industry of Michigan offers a downloadable coloring book, “Milk from Farm to Table” as well as dairy related information and recipes

Help teach a child about making deposits in their bone bank and while making memories for their brain bank.  

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