Get Kids Involved in Healthy Food Choices and Cooking

  • Lots of great recipes at Kids Health and Super Healthy Kids websites!
  • The Daily Meal offers ideas for healthy and fun food options for birthday parties.
  • Jamie Oliver offers his tips for healthy party food for kids.
  • Organize a healthy food drive to donate to the local food pantry or church.
  • Check out Let’s Move! is a comprehensive initiative, launched by the First Lady Michelle Obama, dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams.

Taking Care of the Environment

  • Start a tree planting group. This site provides information about the Canopy program that brings the benefits of trees to the schools, neighborhoods, and public spaces of the San Francisco Mid-Peninsula.
  • Tree City USA is greening communities across the country. This program is a great opportunity to celebrate the importance of an urban tree canopy and improve care of these vital city trees.
  • Organize a community cleanup day. Use the opportunity to teach kids about recycling.
  • The City of Chesapeake’s recycling information can be found here.
  • National Geographic offers an educational game to teach kids about the importance of recycling.
  • Other resources for organizing a community trash cleanup day:
    • University of Nebraska: A Successful Neighborhood Cleanup
    • Prince William County: Neighborhood Cleanup Tips

Start Youth Sports Leagues

  • How to Start a Youth Sports League by Kim Nunley
  • How to Start a Youth Sports Non-Profit by Helen Harvey
  • Canfit.org: Great guidebooks and handouts. This whole site is worth exploring. Particularly aimed at helping lower-income communities.
  • Christian youth sports league resources. Practical resources and guides for Christian churches that want to start leagues. www.upward.org/
  • National Alliance for Youth Sports. Has strong sections of advice for recreation agencies and parents. www.nays.org/programs/start-smart/
  • Kids Sports League. This Maryland group helped local people start youth sports leagues. The idea would be a good model for any group that wanted to do the same. www.kidssportsleague.com/
  • Start a junior Olympic program. Type “USA Junior Olympic programs” into a search engine to find a wide variety of links to various junior Olympic sports. Junior Olympic programs are eligible for various helpful resources, including grants and events kids can attend.

Add Physical Activity to Afterschool Programs

  • Want to start a program? Here is a roadmap: How to Start an Afterschool Program from the national Afterschool Alliance:
  • Healthy Kids Hub. This is a great collection of activities, information and material sources. A project of Healthy Kids Out of School, sponsored by a wide variety of organizations dedicated to checking child obesity. Check it out! Watch the video to get started.
  • 4-H Health and Fitness curricula:
    Health Rocks. A research-based 4-H curriculum aimed at ages 8 – 14 that targets use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs
    Youth Voice, Youth Choice: Emphasis on healthy eating and physical activity. Includes the free app, Eat $ Move-o-Matic.
  • Build jump rope teams with free jump ropes and curriculum from the Modern Woodsmen.
    The Amateur Athletic Union of the United States (AAU) offers a great jump rope page that will help you enormously. www.aaujumprope.org
  • Jumpnrope.com is full of great resources.
  • National jump rope fundraising challenge has many West Virginia participants
    Download Canfit’s free Active 8 guide
  • Ten things to do to create a strong afterschool program, from the California After School Resource Center:
    Boys and Girls Clubs Triple Play program
  • SPARK: This highly-praised afterschool physical activity program has been considered by several West Virginia programs.
  • Activate America. Y-Move program: 30 minutes of conditioning per session that builds strong cardio-vascular function, agility and balance, bone density and muscle strength.
  • The Kids Run the Nation Program is an inclusive, multi-week, turnkey, youth running program designed to meet the physical activity goals outlined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for children in grades kindergarten through sixth grade.

Create Active Summer Programs

These afterschool advocacy organizations will help you think outside the box:

  • Afterschool Alliance
  • Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities
  • Action for Healthy Kids (grants available)

Get Parents and Kids Exercising Together

If you’d like to help create opportunities for parents and kids to exercise together:

  • Pull together people from agencies and churches to brainstorm: Create a family volleyball or Frisbee league. Have a family jump rope competition. If you have a healthy lifestyle coalition, it’s a lot easier to have this conversation on an ongoing basis.
  • Try the Meetup site to start your own Parents and Kids exercise groups
  • Healthy Kids Hub. This is a terrific collection of activities, information and material sources for afterschool programs. A project of Healthy Kids Out of School, sponsored by a wide variety of organizations dedicated to checking child obesity. Check it out! Watch the video to get started.
  • National groups can help:
    • MOPS: Mothers of Preschoolers or find them on Facebook . There are MOPS chapters at churches all over. It’s easy to start one in your community. Go to the Web site.
    • My Fit Mommy – please click here to see the video on YouTube.
    • PACES DAY: Parents and children exercise simultaneously. Free resources and guidance.

Promote Dental Care and Preventative Maintenance

  • Simple crafts and experiments will teach children how important good hygiene and oral care are for a beautiful smile. Enjoy some toothy fun with these interesting projects from the Colgate website, which you can do with your children at home.
  • The resource materials listed on the Head Start: An Office of the Administration for Children and Families Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center site will help provide oral health education to children, pregnant women, and families. Topics include dental visits, fluoride, nutrition, oral health care, oral hygiene, and safety and emergency first aid.
  • This MySmileKids website has online games and coloring pages for kids to learn about dental health.

Keep Kids on Schedule with Immunizations

The CDC offers easy-to-read schedules for all ages and easy-to-read formats to print, tools to download, and ways to prepare for your office visit.

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