Happy, Healthy School Holiday Celebrations

December 12, 2014

It’s the holiday season, which means holiday party time at school. With the new “smart snacks” nutrition standards in place, classroom celebrations have become important and exciting learning opportunities for teachers and students to dream up new, health-promoting ways to have a little school day fun. Our holiday wish for you is to have a happy and healthy holiday party at your school or in your classroom without seeming like the Grinch who stole all the candy canes and sugary treats.

At Healthy Schools Campaign, we offer a Fit to Learn professional development program to help principals and teachers incorporate health and wellness into their classrooms and schools. Our Fit to Learn school wellness experts have offered up some tried and true healthy holiday celebration tips for you to tryout at your school. We also included a couple celebration ideas from Fit to Learn teachers and principals.

Enjoy our Fit to Learn health-inspired ideas for the holidays!

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Healthy Pinata! Fit to Learn teacher Claudia Presenti, at pre-K teacher at Courtenay Elementary School in Chicago, fills a pinata with healthy snacks — like baggies of celery, carrots and clementines. “They devour fruit,” she said. Presenti also added that parents have been very supportive of healthy snacks and classroom celebrations.
  • Namaste Does the Nutcracker! Fit to Learn Principal Advisor Allison Slade, from Namaste Charter School in Chicago, has her students do an active version of the holiday classic “The Nutcracker” (pictured above). Students jump and dance their way through the performance with their families in attendance.
  • Spoken Word Holiday Poetry Slam! Students work in groups to create and perform poems (or songs) about holiday themes.
  • Dance the Santa Shuffle! What is the Santa Shuffle? It doesn’t matter; just have students create their dance moves in groups of four, then bring them all together to do the shuffle.
  • Healthy Holiday Recipe Swap! This one’s for school staff who can help each other expand their repertoire of health holiday treats by sharing recipes with one another. This one’s great for school or at home.

All of us at Healthy Schools Campaign wish you and  your students a happy, healthy and active holiday season!