Monday, December 18, 2017

Four Ways to Bounce Back After the Holidays

The holidays are a time of food, family… And more food. It’s ok to indulge every once in awhile, but getting back in the groove of a healthy lifestyle after the holidays can feel like a drag.

Luckily, family fun can double as a chance to get active. Little dietary changes can make a world of difference in helping you feel your best.

Before you know it, you’ll be in tip-top shape for your Color-A-Thon this spring!

1. Going on a walk? Don’t leave your family behind.

Walks are for everyone, no matter the fitness or ability level, and they’re the ultimate portable exercise that can be done anytime or anywhere. They’re a great option after a heavy Christmas dinner or just as the day begins. Use it as a chance to explore the neighborhood with your kids. If you have a trail nearby, go geocaching together.

2. Play in the snow.

The next time your kids run outside to go play, don’t sit out. Build a snowman. Run and duck during a snowball fight. Walk up a big hill and take a sled ride down. Even throw on a pair of skates and take to the neighborhood skating rink. You’ll have so much fun, you won’t realize that you’re exercising, but you’ll still get your heart pumping and muscles engaged.

3. Don’t be afraid to get back into routine.

Do you normally eat a salad everyday for lunch? Don’t feel pressured to eat the holiday leftovers. Our bodies thrive with routine, and returning to some sense of structure as soon as possible can help you bounce back. In addition, returning to more balanced meals with carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats can keep up your energy instead of letting your blood sugar crash, which holiday meals tend to do. The same goes for your kids - especially as they prepare to get back into their school routines.

4.Get plenty of sleep.

But don’t sleep in. Returning to your typical sleep schedule will help you feel more rested in the long run than if you go to bed late and sleep late in the day. Yours kids might enjoy the added freedom, too, but help them stick to their schedule as much as possible. Scientists recommend turning off electronic devices before bed, because their lights can disrupt your sleep.

For more health and parenting tips and tricks this winter, head to School-A-Thon’s Facebook page!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

4 Indoor Activities to Keep Your Kids Active

Winter brings many new outdoor activities, like building snowmen, making forts, and exploring a winter wonderland. Minnesota winters, however, can become is cold that outdoor activities become unwelcome - or even dangerous - for kids.

When the weather outside is dreary and frigid and your kids feel antsy, you may wonder how to get them moving while indoors.

Fortunately, with some common household items, and a little creativity, the fun doesn’t have to stop.

1. Grab the Painter’s Tape

Make lines on the floor for some impromptu hopscotch or long jump. Or, tape different shapes, numbers and letters on the floor and play the shape game. Ask your child to run, hop, skip, jump and crawl to the different spots and learn their numbers and letters along the way!

For younger children, you can tape the door frame in the shape of a sticky spider web, then give your child some newspaper to reach and stick or throw onto the web. It’s great for building motor skills.

2. No Construction set? No Problem!

Take advantage of all those leftover holiday or birthday paper cups and plates and bowls, egg cartons, cardboard tubes and ice cream buckets. They make a great impromptu construction set. The more variety of dishes, the better. Your kids will be building tall towers, fun buildings, castles and more in no time!

As another option for those paper dishes, draw some Xs and Os on the plates instead, tape a blank tic tac toe board on the floor and play a giant game of tic tac toe.

3. Have a Dance Party

Dim the lights, dress up in silly outfits and throw on some fun classics, like disco. Find karaoke songs on YouTube and sing along with your children. It’s a great way to make light of a cold day!

4. Don’t Knock the Classics

So much fun can be had with a simple balloon! Challenge your kids to waddle around the room with a balloon between their knees, without dropping it. Multiple kids can play a three-legged race adaptation with the balloon between their hips and build teamwork.

Another balloon game option with multiple children is hot potato, the game where you don’t let the balloon touch the ground. It seems simple, but it can get competitive fast!

Need to feel inspired? School-A-Thon is all about making things fun. Check out our blog for more tips and tricks, from getting your kids off the couch to family cooking how-tos!

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Importance Of Getting A Good Night's Sleep

Now that school is in full swing, getting your children on a schedule that allows for adequate amounts of sleep is crucial. You’ll see the results of too-little sleep in poor behavior, decreased performance, low energy, mood swings, and more! To focus on the positive, we want to outline the benefits you will gain when you and your kids get enough rest. Knowing the importance of a good night's sleep can help you hit the sheets a little earlier and be a little better each day!

Benefits For Your Kids

The biggest benefit of a good night's sleep is better behavior. Our kids need lots of rest; even kids as old as 13 years are recommended to get 11 hours of sleep at night. Getting enough sleep can improve your kid's ability to regulate mood and increase their overall patience. A good night's sleep is very important for your child's learning experience at school. Their brain will be working at full force having gotten enough rest and their memory for absorbing new information will improve. Perhaps most surprising, recent research indicates a good night's sleep can also lower a child's chance of obesity.

Benefits For You

When your kids get enough sleep and their behavior improves, that alone is a huge benefit for your sanity. If you usually have a couple of hours to yourself when the kids go to bed, their earlier bedtime allows you more shut-eye without sacrificing your me-time. With that extra time in the evening, you can prep the kids' backpacks or lunches for the next day, making your school mornings less hectic. Besides these benefits, the largest improvement you will find with better sleep is more energy to take on the day! Anyone with kids knows how invaluable energy levels are with the demands of a busy family lifestyle.

If your family does not have a routine bedtime and you allow the kids to stay up late on a regular basis, reconsider now that you know the importance of a good night's sleep.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

5 Summer Night Games for Kids

There is something special about night games. When it’s dark outside, that’s when the fun games really begin. Enjoy what’s left of this warm weather and get your kids active with these fun night games.

Flashlight Tag

One of the classics! One person is “it” while the rest go hide. The person who is “it” is the one with the flashlight. “It” will count to 10 and then go find the ones hiding. Once you are caught in the flashlight, you are tagged. The last person to be tagged is the winner and the first to be tagged is the next person who is “it”.

Ghost in the Graveyard

Select a pair of players to be ghosts to hide somewhere. The rest of the group is in the “safe” area. The group in the safe area will shout “one o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock…” all the way up until midnight. Then they fan out into the playing area looking for ghosts. Once they spot a ghost, they yell “ghost in the graveyard… run, run, RUN!” That warns everyone to get back to the safe area. At this time, the ghosts are free to leave their spot and chase the rest of the group. If anyone gets tagged by a ghost, they are a ghost the next round.

Glow Stick Volleyball

Everyone gets four glow sticks, one for each wrist and one for each ankle. (Pro tip: You can buy a big pack of glow sticks online for under $10!) Use a glow-in-the-dark volleyball, or use any leftover glow sticks to insert into a beach volleyball. Have fun keeping the ball off the ground by hitting it back and forth, or play a real game if you have a net available.

Outdoor Movie Night

Grab your favorite treats and invite a few of your friends for an outdoor movie night! If you’re a DIY lover, try your hand at making this DIY smartphone projector. Then, all you need is a white sheet or wall to project on and your kids’ favorite Netflix movie.


This game should be played with a small pocket flashlight so that the beam isn’t as easy to spot. One person is chosen to be the firefly and goes to hide in the dark away from the rest of the group. After counting to 20, the players go off in search of the firefly (who is moving from spot to spot constantly). Every 60 seconds, the firefly must flicker their flashlight off and on. Once the firefly is caught, the game is over and a new firefly will be picked.

Make safety the number one priority and set a boundary for kids. If your kids are younger, have them hide with a buddy. Head outside and play with your kids for a fun family night and build lasting memories. After all, the new school year is right around the corner!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

How to Get Your Kids Off The Couch

It may seem impossible to keep your kids active in a not-so-active world. However, there are some things you can do to change that.

What many of today’s parents seem to forget is that they have to lead by example when it comes to getting their kids active. Kids look up to their parents as role models and base a lot of their behavior after what they see and hear. Participating in playtime with your kids make getting active a lot more fun.

Simply going outside and teaching your kid how to ride a bike can be extremely beneficial. You get some quality bonding time in with your child, and you teach your child the importance of physical activity. Kids need at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. This is a crucial first step in ensuring your child can maintain his or her health further into the future.

Next time you’re sitting at home and see your kid has been sitting inside for hours playing on the X-Box or sitting on their phone, ask them to come outside and throw a baseball around. Your child is guaranteed to benefit from the activity and you may just establish a closer relationship with your son or daughter.

  1. Plan a family outing that revolves around physical activity such as going to the park, hiking, swimming, playing soccer, or a variety of outdoor activities
  2. Create a space in your house specifically for getting active. Have supplies in this area such as hula hoops, a basketball hoop, tennis rackets, balls and more. 
  3. Set limits to how much time your kids can spend on devices or in front of the TV. 
  4. Teach your kids one of your favorite childhood games such as Kick the Can, Freeze Tag, or Hide and Go Seek. 
  5. Have a dance party! Who doesn't feel like moving when fun music is playing? 
  6. Have a family contest to see who can get the most steps in one day. You can do this by wearing a FitBit or with a step counter on your phone. 

Make memories with your kids this summer and drop that remote and get active! Follow School-a-Thon on Facebook page for more summer fun ideas.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

4 Questions to Help Your Kids Clean Out Their Closets

The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the bees are buzzing. It’s enough to entice anyone to “spring” outdoors and enjoy the fresh air. The clutter that is lurking in your child's closet when spring arrives is a compilation of an entire season’s worth (or more) of belongings. School-a-thon will help you dive into your spring cleaning and get your kid’s messy closet sorted. Here are some questions to ask yourself and your little helper when starting this endeavor.


Can I Live Without This?
Instead of thinking of what you could use something for, think if you could get away without it. You can probably think of a million and a half crafting projects or other uses for your child’s hoarded odds and ends, but odds are you’re just delaying the inevitable, which is throwing it away or adding it to a future garage sale. Remember, it’s spring cleaning, not spring “Oh, I remember this thing-ing.”

Could We Donate This?
Living without something doesn’t always mean you need to toss it in a landfill and forget about it! Donating a seldom used item can be a wonderful thing and will lead to some pretty nifty tax write-offs. Some of the most sought after belongings to donate are:

  • Jackets
  • Sleeping bags
  • Toys
  • Glasses
  • Clothing


Could This Space be Put to Better Use?
Maybe your cluttered closet could be a new home for arts and crafts supplies, or maybe storing clothing in the closet could allow you to get rid of a dresser and open up the room for more activities. Check out some of these organizational tips to make the most out of your soon-to-be clean space.

When Did I Use This Last? Do I Plan to Use it Soon?
It’s likely that the tennis racket you bought in 2004 that you used twice isn’t going anywhere. Maybe your little trumpet player didn’t make it to Louis Armstrong’s level, and that’s ok. While there are objects of value you’ll find, think about their practicality. Lower stress, greater happiness, and increased self-esteem have been associated with minimalism, so if you don’t have plans on using it, it might be better off for sale or donated.
If you’ve asked all these questions, and followed through with constructive answers, your closets should be organized and in tip-top-shape. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe for more parenting, fitness, and life tips!

Monday, March 27, 2017

How To Power Nap: Increase Your Energy By Laying Down

As a busy parent, it can seem impossible to find the time of day to fit everything in, let alone rest a bit. But carving out the time to nap can be surprisingly beneficial and aid you in getting everything else on your plate accomplished. Learning the secret to the power nap can help you increase your performance and energy levels.

How To Power Nap.jpg

According to, a 10-20 minute nap has the most benefits, some maintained for up to 2.5 hours after waking up. If you sleep longer than 20 minutes, your body can experience up to 30 minutes of impaired function after waking, usually called grogginess. Each body is slightly different, so when trying out the perfect length of your power nap, start by taking a 15-minute rest and see how you feel.

Early afternoon seems to be the best time to nap. Our bodies are naturally programmed for two periods of intense sleepiness, from 2 AM – 4 AM and from 1 PM – 3 PM. If you have a hard time falling asleep quickly, try darkening the room, listening to meditation music, or even swaying in a hammock. It is also important to note that the more regular your naps are, the more effective they become. A person who power naps every day will see the most improvements.

Benefits Of The Power Nap

Did you know regular napping increases your body's ability to control cortisol and other hormones related to stress? Napping can also improve your mood, help you relax, and restore alertness. A 10-minute nap has been shown to increase alertness, cognitive performance, memory, and stamina. If you find yourself always lacking energy and feeling fatigued, working a power nap into your schedule is a better solution than grabbing for another energy drink or cup of coffee.

The research is conclusive: the perfect nap is powerful. Consider catching up on some shut-eye this weekend and see how you feel. Maybe it will become a daily doze.

Follow School-A-Thon on Facebook for more parenting tips and life hacks.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Get Your Kids Excited About Healthy Cooking

There’s something to be said about cooking a wholesome meal for you family, but even more can be said about cooking a healthy meal with help from your family. If you’re looking for a way to spend more time with your little ones while teaching them an invaluable skill - look no further. We’ll cover a few ways to get em’ smiling in the kitchen & eating healthy at the dinner table.

baking-1951256_1920.jpgKeep it Simple
Seeing a 7-year-old whip up filet mignon & lobster would be impressive, but it’s a better idea to find something that’s suitable for your child’s age. You’ll find that recipes involving specific measurements will typically end in disaster. These healthy & easy pita pizzas are a great place to start!

Do Some Prep
A bit of preparation never hurt anyone. Depending on the age of the little one, it can be a good idea to get the chopping & some of the measuring out of the way. They’ll eventually be able to mince onions like a pro, but for now, it’s all about the basics.

Real Ingredients are Best
Cooking real food with your kids is an excellent opportunity to teach them about the benefits of eating healthy. It’s also a great way to get them used to eating a well-balanced diet - which will pay off big time in the long run.

Be Ready for a Mess
Messes happen, especially with kids in the kitchen. We learn from mistakes & it’s a great way to teach them to pick up after themselves – which might even lead to less dirty dishes in the future. Having some paper towels or a washcloth handy. Spare ingredients could be worth your while if your kiddo is particularly accident prone.

Make it a Regular Thing
The only way to improve a skill is through practice. By picking a day of the week to cook a meal, they’ll start to look forward to spending time in the kitchen. You’ll be building on a routine that can turn into a tradition.

Food has an interesting way of bringing people together, and there are many lessons that can be learned in the kitchen. By whipping up some healthy & delicious eats you’ll be teaching your child healthy habits that can last a lifetime.

For more tips on healthy eating be sure to follow School-a-Thon on social media.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Keep the Winter Blues Away by Staying Fit and Active

Keep the Winter Blues Away (1).jpg

We’ve all been there before - especially in the Mid-West. The cold weather blues have become a part of life that often sneaks in unnoticed. As you continue reading, you’ll gain a few tips and tricks on how you and your family can avoid feeling SAD This winter.

Let in the light
Give your kids an added immunity boost by opening the shades! Natural light can offer a variety of health benefits, such as reducing symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder and increasing productivity and energy. In fact, The National Institute Of Health notes that exposure to natural lighting can reduce sick days by roughly 6.5 percent!


Be Active Outdoors
Yes, you read that correctly - there’s no way you’re going to change the weather, so you might as well embrace it! Kids can always find something to do; build a snowman, make a fort, go sledding - there are tons of options. You can always take part in these activities with your kids, or you can learn something new with them. Perhaps Cross-country skiing or snowshoeing is in order. These activities will increase your heart rate and give you a reason to enjoy the scenery.

According to Dr. Emanuel Maidenberg at the Semel institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior, physical activity is an effective treatment for mild symptoms of depression. How often should someone get out and get physical? Studies suggest 3-4 times per week is enough to enjoy the benefits.

Eat Smart
Studies show that Vitamin D deficiencies are common in regions that experience harsher winters. To help your family avoid this common ailment (and a few less common ones) try upping your daily dosage of fortified dairy, citrus fruits, and vegetables. Check out this full list of winter superfoods or try a few of these kid-friendly recipes.

Even if you’re not feeling all that social, Dr. Maidenberg suggests that spending time with others - even for a little bit - is enough to kick some of your cold weather blues. Plan a play date with other kids and their parents, attend local events, or take an art class as a family. There are plenty of ways to socialize during the winter; some just require a bit more research!

Like everything else that’s worthwhile, this takes some effort -but don’t fret! It can be done one reassuring step at a time. You’ll notice your mood change significantly after trying out one of these tips - beyond that point, everything meshes well together. Here’s to a happy and healthy new year from all of us at School-A-Thon!