Group of happy kids running through green field

At school, physical activity is linked with academic achievement. Planning opportunities and places for kids to move more helps them achieve more. In or out-of-school physical activity balances eating choices.


Equal parts:

  • School Actions
  • Family Involvement
  • Community Support


  1. Mix together classroom movement, school recess and physical education.
  2. Stir in family involvement (using activities like walking, biking, and weekly tips).
  3. Fold in community support by conducting walkability & bikeability checklists and sharing information with school and community leaders, as well as the media.
  4. Pour into policies and practices and “bake” until well set.

Note: Many communities and schools hold yearly spring walk or bike to school events, which is a great way to motivate kids to move more.

School/Community Resources include:


Build Parental Interest

April 17, 2018

Family Outing to the Grocery Store

This month’s WOWS Newsletter suggests planting a seed to create a plan for nutrition activities; it also includes tips for encouraging parental interest in healthy eating and physical activity. Use the following ideas to increase attendance at events.

  • Consider holding a raffle. Ask for a community donation and offer low-cost tickets for drawing items that offer opportunities for more active playtime such as: a bicycle, baseball, football, basketball or soccer ball, and tickets or gift certificates to water parks, miniature golf, and sporting events.
  • Involve students in a presentation or fun skit (nutrition-physical activity connected). Parents love to come see their children perform.
  • Include food – not a meal, just a tasting to control cost, or ask for community donations.
  • Offer to take and make family photos available. For the photo, have individuals hold their favorite piece of sports equipment or fruit or vegetable.
  • Advertise – promote – advertise – announce – advertise – promote – advertise – announce…

I had the privilege to spend most of a week on The Ohio State Campus last week. From start to finish, the experience was wonderful! My favorites include the beautiful yet super functional Student Union, the amazing Buckeyes football stadium, and the comfortable yet ever accommodating Blackwell Hotel.
Ohio workshop-stadiumjpg

However, one thing stood out as over the top even beyond that list and that was how easy the campus has made it to enjoy active play AND, that the students are enjoying that easy access.

Ohio workshop-bicycles

Bicycles crowd each building front while students attend classes, driving on campus is an acceptable challenge with all the bike traffic, and walking or running is the norm. One afternoon, I was thrilled to see a group of about 30 colleges students challenging each other with double jump rope; wow, that took me back a few years! And to see the enjoyment of such a fun active play by university students was awesome!
Ohio workshop-traffic laws

The other huge stand out was the friendliness and helpful nature of each and every student I came into contact with. The respect and appreciation for themselves and others really was a shining star with the Buckeye students. Could we make a correlation that active students are also more balanced, in tune with themselves and others? Food for thought from the road!


December 20, 2012

principal kids school challenge 09For everyone who works with kids in schools and youth organizations, thank you for making a difference in their lives. It is seen every day in many ways. As our hearts and care go out to those at Sandy Hook Elementary, we look forward to a better tomorrow and a brighter future.

Many hugs and blessings to all,
The Healthy Kids Challenge Team:
Vickie James, Claudia Hohnbaum, Sarah Wamsley, Tammy Simons, and Tiffany Wegerer

English: USDA MyPlate nutritional guide icon

8 great tools for truly interactive health fairs and healthy fundraisers as your back to school planning kicks into high gear! We’ve found these to be so versatile and easy to use that we can’t resist sharing our favorites. If you need something specific and it’s not listed here, feel free to contact me, and I’ll help you find it. Enjoy!

  1. Setting Up for Success
    Interactive, simple and fun healthy eating & physical activity displays, nutrition games, and shoestring budget activities. Great classroom, learning center, cafeteria, parent event, & health fair ideas.
  2. Ready, Set, Cook & Eat
    Plan a fun, interactive event promoting simple kitchen skills and healthy food choices. Three teams compete in a healthy cook-off while an emcee keeps the audience involved. Use for family & consumer science classrooms, afterschool programs, community events, parents’ night, or almost anywhere!
  3. Explore MyPlate
    An event planning guide for an actual walk through MyPlate. Engage all ages with a walk to understand how to eat, move and enjoy a healthy balance. Set up in the cafeteria, gym, parking lot, football field, shopping mall, city park, or anywhere space permits.
  4. Food Cards
    Looking for food pictures to use for health fairs, bulletin boards, nutrition education activities; or for younger kids, food identification? Download a file of 156 common foods from MyPlate. Foods are listed in an index by food group. Each page contains six easy to identify food pictures and their name. Download, laminate, cut and you’re ready.
    Sometimes all you need is a bright, fun incentive for a health fair or fundraiser and these are perfect. For kids: front–Colorful Kids Star Graphics; back– 7 “Healthy Me” goals for kids to choose. For adults: front–Challenge Star Graphics; back–“Healthy Me” goals.
  6. MyPlate Teaching Cards
    A handy set of color coded MyPlate teaching cards. Each card provides a simple Challenge message, tip, and healthy choice example for the MyPlate food groups (and physical activity). A great tool for educators and a smart health fair give away for families! Seven cards are secured by a corner grommet, allowing them to fan-out. English and Spanish versions are available.
  7. Explore MyPlate Wristbands
    Another educational incentive for health fairs, these silicone wristbands have debossed wording which reads: Explore MyPlate – Fruits Veggies Grains Protein Dairy. They come in 5 colors – Orange, Purple, Green, Red, Blue.
  8. Health Works Toolkit
    An ultimate toolkit for health fairs, this kit includes all 7 booklets in the Health Works! Wellness in Academics basic kit plus a set of teaching and display resources. A total teaching tools package for events, classroom, cafeterias, after school and more, including: oversized dice, dancing scarves, cones, oversized scarves, cardboard food models, fruit and veggie bean bag seedies, Explore MyPlate teaching cards, and frisbees.

Making the healthy choice to be physically active or choose foods like fresh fruits & vegetables has gotten harder…To become a healthy society, we need healthy options. Environmental changes can make healthy choices more available. Changing what we eat & drink, making it easier to do the healthy things – that’s the sweet spot for public health.”-Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC Director, during the Twitter #CDCchat on 5/21/12.

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Make it easier to choose health. For some of us, choosing the healthy foods and activities IS simple. But for most of us, well, it’s just…not.

That’s a big part of the reason Healthy Kids Challenge® exists yet today, to help the “most of us” take a step closer to making healthy easier. Not a leap, just a step. Our web site and newsletter and even this blog relentlessly challenge you – individually, as groups, and as communities – to make one small, simple, sustainable change for health.

We are committed to helping make the healthy choice the easy choice. Start where you are today.

We are getting ready to announce the overall winner of the Get Your Plate in Shape Challenge next week, so hang in there. Thanks so much for participating! If you want to peek at all the kids’ plates, they are in a picture album on our Healthy Kids Challenge Facebook page.

Do you need easy to use afterschool or summer programming ideas? I have compiled 6 Easy to Use Afterschool and Summer Programming Ideas to keep you busy planning and prepping. These should build on the information you received in the E-newsletter this week. If you don’t receive our E-newsletter, and you would like to, be sure to sign up for it here.

Each of these activity ideas can be used alone or combine all 6 to make a comprehensive sequence of Healthy6 messaging for your program. Enjoy!

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