How to Teach Your Kids the Importance of Water

Oh, the wonders of H20. Here are three ways your family can use water to be hydrated, fit and healthy.

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While back-to-school season may signal an unofficial start to fall, the summer heat is still going strong. This is the perfect time to turn to our most precious resource, water, to help you cool down.

Many of us take it for granted, but water scarcity affects almost every continent and more than 40 percent of the people on our planet. Like a car without gas or a balloon without helium, our bodies simply cannot function without water. In fact, the average adult's body is about 60 percent water, but this number varies according to the way our bodies regulate weight. In obese people, for example, water typically accounts for just 45 percent of weight.

Why exactly do we need water? About two-thirds of our bodies' water is within our cells, where it helps them function properly. The other third is inside our organs, supplying oxygen and nutrients and whisking away waste. No matter how big or small, old or young, we all need to make sure we're getting the amounts of water we need.

So wipe away that sweat and dive head-first into this article for three ways to appreciate the importance of water with your kids. There's no reason you can't stay cool, beat the heat, and get in that precious, quality family time.

Go water bottle shopping. When the kids are running around in the sun with sweaty faces and rosy cheeks, nothing is more important than making sure they drink plenty of water. And although sitting at a desk doesn't shorten their breath quite like a Little League game does, they still need that water at school, too.

Because kids are more likely to drink from a bottle that they like, head to the store together and let them pick out a new favorite water bottle. With a fun color, shape, or design, your kids may be the most hydrated ones at school! Sport your own favorite bottle so they're inspired to do the same, and you can teach them by example the importance of hydration to our health. Encourage them to add berries or a slice of lemon, orange or cucumber to their bottles to spruce up the flavor.

Get active, the aquatic way. You've probably spent most of this summer in the water, embracing your inner fish. Swimming is refreshing and provides you with an awesome full-body workout. But how about trying a few different water-related activities before summer ends? If you don't feel like dipping a toe in the water, go for a walk by the river, hop in a canoe or kayak or take a sailing lesson. Feel like diving right in? Try paddle boarding (hello, toned arms and abs) or surfing. And who doesn't love a classic game of Marco Polo? Slip 'n Slide anyone? Get outside, get active and make a splash together!

Snack on water-rich foods together. Nothing beats a tall glass of water to kick up your hydration, but we can ingest plenty of fluids from the foods we eat, too. Yes, that's right, you can enjoy a juicy peach while hydrating at the same time. Plus, we know that countless studies show that eating fruits and veggies helps fight heart disease and stroke and prevent some types of cancer.

Cantaloupe is about 90 percent water and a refreshingly sweet way to get a dose of Vitamin A, which can help nourish dry skin. Watermelon doesn't arbitrarily boast the word "water" in its name – it's over 90 percent water and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Strawberries are another excellent choice, because they're about 92 percent water and provide significant protection against cardiovascular disease. Refresh and recharge with juicy, delicious water-rich fruits after your aquatic activities.

Hungry for more? Write to eatandrun@usnews.com with your questions, concerns, and feedback.

Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, is the founder and president of Nutritious Life, a nutrition practice based in New York City, and Nutritious Life Meals, a gourmet, healthy, daily diet delivery program available across the country. She is a member of Women's Health Magazine's advisory board and has authored Slim Calm Sexy Diet, The O2 Diet, and The Snack Factor Diet. Her fourth book, The New You and Improved Diet, will be released in December. Her expertise is regularly featured on the Today show, Good Morning America, and Access Hollywood Live, among others, and she hosts "A Little Bit Better" on YouTube's Livestrong Woman channel. Read more of Keri's tips every day on Facebook!