My almost 2-year-old daughter usually rips off her hat, swats at the sunscreen bottle, and tolerates her sunglasses for less than 5 seconds! Sun safety is a daily challenge in our house. Instead of making sun safety a battle, I decided to find some ways to make it fun and educational. Plan a morning around these activities, or choose one daily for a week to keep your kids excited.
1. Set up a coloring station with pictures of the sun, sunglasses, the beach, or anything related to the sun. While your kids color educate them on how powerful the sun can be and on the importance of protecting themselves from its powerful rays. Focus on the positives of the sun as well, such as its ability to help plants grow. Here are a few free coloring sheets that you can download and print to get you started.
2. If your kids are a little older let them work through these Sun Safety Activity Sheets that include crossword puzzles, word scrambles, mazes and more!
3. Print off this poster and tell your kids you are going to have a photo shoot. Take pictures of your kids wearing their sun hat and sunglasses, sitting under a tree for shade, and putting on their sunscreen. Get them involved by letting them find the perfect shady spot or tree! Print the pictures and let your kids paste them onto the poster. They will feel like stars! Put it in a visible location in the house to remind them how “cool” it is to protect yourself from the sun.
4. Take a trip to the Zoo! Animals have to protect themselves from the sun too. Let your child guess how each animal is able to do this without sunscreen. Then provide them with the answers (Cheat Sheet for You About Animals🙂 and have them work through these fun animal worksheets.
5. Take a trip to the craft store for some UV changing beads (or buy them online). Let your kids make them into bracelets or zipper pulls for their backpacks. Then take them outside into the sunlight and watch them change colors! Although they can’t see the ultraviolet rays, this will help your children see that they are real. If you are still in a crafty mood…decorate sun hats with a glue gun and flowers, ribbon, etc.
6. Let your child raid their closet and dressers. Have them pull out 5 items of clothing that they think would protect them the most from the sun. Then see if they are right. Clothing that is darker in color and more tightly woven/heavier material is more protective.
For more ideas check out the full Children’s Toolkit from The American Academy of Dermatology, the activity sheets and ideas from the Maryland Department of Health, and 52 other ideas from The CDC. These resources are Free and Fun! Let your kids have fun in the sun this summer, but don’t forget to teach them about sun safety too!
From The Mom in Me, MD