This past Saturday, April 28 was Maryland Day at the University of Maryland, College Park. If you’re not familiar with Maryland Day, it’s when the college has an open house and invites anyone and everyone. There’s fun for kids, students, parents, really anyone of any age. All of the departments and clubs host activity booths to show off what they do. The Engineering department shows off fun things for kids like blowing giant smoke rings from a large drum and powering light bulbs by pedaling a bike. The Languages department has a booth where you can write your name in different world languages. Dining Services does cooking demonstrations all day at Hornbake Plaza. Even celebrities like UMD Alumni Joy Bauer, MS, RD, the Dietitian for the Today Show, came to help with a cooking demonstration. And, the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources, which includes the Nutrition and Food Science department takes over the area around the Animal Sciences building and renames it Ag Alley. Besides the chance to get free campus-made ice cream, you can learn about terrapins, insects, native plants, and my favorite, nutrition!
The Food and Nutrition Information Center (FNIC) had a booth with several MyPlate activities. This was where I got to play. Kids of all ages could show how they can make a healthy meal using very colorful static cling pictures. If they didn’t want to do that, they could use crayons and markers to draw their food on a paper plate. Another favorite was the scratch-n-sniff cards, where you tried to guess a food by its aroma. It was fun to see how many little kids knew their plate should be half fruits and vegetables! A lot of them also knew that chicken nuggets weren’t the healthiest choice for a protein. The best part about an event like this it makes learning about nutrition fun and without feeling like you are in school.