Where do I begin? There are so many fun thing for g-free kids out there nowadays!
One of the first online places I’d like to send you and your child to is Schar’s 123Milly.com site. It’s a really cute website where kids can learn about gluten-free foods, try out recipes, play fun games to test their knowledge or just enjoy, learn about cooking in a g-free kitchen, read comics, create & send e-cards and download arts & crafts ideas.
Here is an adorable video for young children, using the Kumquats puppets. Dr. Quiros, a pediatric GI doc at the California Pacific Medical Center was behind the idea to use these puppets to take away the anxiety of kids in regards to celiac testing and diet changes.
Children’s Hospital Boston has an awesome series of twelve videos, all of which are very helpful. Some of the videos have kids talking about what it’s like to be g-free, eating safely away from home, how to shop and cook g-free and much more.
On the very valuable KidsHealth website you can find my favorite online explanation of celiac disease to kids. You can read it yourself or listen to a recording of it. They can also read other fun articles about their bodies like “Are your bowels moving?” and a funny look at “Your digestive system.” And there are some really cool, humorous videos for kids in the “How The Body Works” section. (click on the stomach, for instance, and then “movie” and you’ll see a neat movie about the digestive system.) You’ll also find many other helpful things on this site like “Dealing with feelings” and a bunch of other great topics that will make your child laugh while learning a great deal about how his or her body works.
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness has an area of their website called “Kids Central” where you will find printable games for kids, a list of books to check out, recipes and other articles.
My favorite part about this site is the “Your Stories” section where kids can read about other g-free kids and their experiences.
The Celiac Sprue Association has part of their website dedicated to their Cel Kids Network. Here you will find some simple games
and recipes for kids, and resources for parents and school.
On the Cilie Yack’s Sous Club website you can play online
video games, learn how to make allergen-free playdough, get
kitchen tips, and find out about joining this food allergy support
group that cooks!
On the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center’s website
(under “Books and Educational Material”) you can download this
free book for kids, called: “The Trouble That Jack Had.”
Find out what a R.O.C.K. (Raising Our Celiac Kids) support group is all about. The best site I have found is from the R.O.C.K. Charlotte, NC group, which is chock full of articles and information. Check out their
“We All Just Want To Be R.O.C.K. Stars” video on their homepage, read their product & restaurant recommendations and learn much more on their site. If you are lucky enough to have one in your area, join in and give your child the gift of g-free camaraderie! If not, think about starting a group to meet other g-free kids near you. The Celiac Disease Foundation also has lists of kids groups.
Here is a way that your entire family can help spread Celiac disease awareness: Take part in the annual “Making Tracks for Celiacs” walks/runs that happen around the U.S. every year. Start a team and raise funds which will go to the Center for Celiac Research at Mass General. My family has done this for the past 5 years at two different walks near us. We start an online donation page for people who can’t join us that day, and other friends and family walk with us and hang out at the after-race party. There are always fun events going on like kids activities, basket raffles, prizes for the top fundraisers, and you always go home with a TON of gluten-free samples and coupons.
Give young g-free kids ideas for how to play creatively so that they learn to enjoy and take pride in being g-free. Ideas for gluten-free bakeries, Celiac Superheroes and more can be found in this inspiring post about when gluten-free play and dreams become reality.
Here’s a fun idea: Host a cupcake party! The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) and Pamela’s Products would like to invite you to host a cupcake party to benefit celiac disease awareness and research. Gluten-free cupcake parties are a fun and easy way to help raise awareness. Fill out the form at the link above and Pamela’s Products will provide you with baking mixes, frosting, recipes and other goodies to have fun baking and decorating the cupcakes with your friends. (Add some competition to the mix and make it an “Iron Chef” style bake-off!)
Let your child know how many other kids around the world are on the same gluten-free diet as they are, by showing them this cool online photo album of g-free kids! So many kids feel alone, like no one else understands them or eats like they do. They will enjoy seeing so many other g-free kids of all ages, and reading what each one of them enjoys and how long they’ve been on the GF diet. This is sure to help them feel a sense of camaraderie and belonging, and develop feelings of pride, especially if they see their own picture in there!
These resources will help your g-free kids realize that there are many other children in the world just like them, and will allow them to have fun, learn and help spread awareness.
Please let me know of any other things that can be added to this collection. Thanks!