Happy, Healthy Holiday Celebrations!

December 21, 2012

Jump
Students jump for joy in a healthy celebration at this summer's Parent Leadership Institute.

It’s time for holiday celebrations — at school, at home, in community centers and, it seems, everywhere we turn!

As part of HSC’s Fit to Learn professional development program, we work with teachers to create classroom experiences that support wellness, from daily lessons to special occasions. But how can we celebrate without unhealthy treats? It's easier, and more fun, than you might think! This fall, we heard lots of creative ideas from Fit to Learn teachers for celebrating Halloween in healthy ways. Now, we’re thinking about healthy holidays! Check out these tips from Fit to Learn facilitators Rosa Ramirez and Kristi Cox:

One of the easiest ways to make positive childhood memories is by creating holiday traditions. Whether they are old traditions or new ones you create, students will learn to look forward to them.  Here are some fun, health-inspired ideas for holiday traditions:
 

  • Holiday Card-Making Party! Encourage students to share their creativity. Consider giving awards for most beautiful, creative, etc.
  • Snowball Sweep! Divide the gym or a large, open room in half with cones or tape. Divide students into two teams and provide each team with soft balls of varying size (even cotton!) for them to toss onto the other side. (The goal is to throw the ball into the other team’s area, not at other team members!) Each team tries to keep their side clear of “snowballs” by continually throwing them to the opposite side.
  • Spoken Word Holiday Poetry Slam! Students work in groups to create and perform poems (or songs) about holiday themes.
  • Gift-Stacking Relay! Wrap a few boxes of varying sizes and create a fun holiday race! Stack three gifts on top of each other. Each team must take the stack of gifts from one end point (such as a chair) to the other end point without dropping any gifts. Then, the next person must pick up the gifts and take them back to the other end without dropping any! If the gifts fall, then the person must go back to their starting point and begin again.
  • Dance the Santa Shuffle! What is the Santa Shuffle? Have the students create the dance moves  in groups of four, then bring them all together to do the shuffle.


Combine all these activities and more for your own unique holiday party.  There is no right or wrong when it comes to healthy traditions!

Looking for more ideas? Check out this tip sheet  [pdf] in the Go for the Gold resource center.