How to End the School Year on a Healthy Note

May 21, 2015

We offer five healthy ways to celebrate the end of the school year.

The end of the school year is a great time to celebrate, but the best way to do that isn’t with sugary snacks.

Since 2012, schools across Chicago have been moving beyond the candy-filled school celebrations with fun and healthy classroom celebration ideas. This move was sparked by Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) district-wide School Wellness Policy and Healthy Snack and Beverage Policy that limits the number of school celebrations that include foods of minimal nutritional value — meaning pizza parties and classroom parties with candy are limited to twice a year, and any food offered as a reward or as part of a school celebration must meet the requirements of the district’s Healthy Snack and Beverage Policy.

Healthy Schools Campaign advocated for both the Wellness Policy and the Healthy Snack and Beverage policy. We worked for years with incredible parent advocates, classroom teachers, principals and community members whose efforts to create healthy schools — one school at a time and through policy change at the district level — built a foundation for these policies.

And to help teachers celebrate the end of the year while sticking to these important policies, we have five great celebration ideas — the fun and healthy way.

  1. Kiah Nolan, a teacher at Morrill Elementary, will host a harvest party with her students. The students will harvest produce from their school garden and enjoy them in the classroom. This provides students a way to celebrate both their work in the classroom and in the garden.
  2. Teachers can create a Rainbow Day, where each student is assigned a color. Students dress in that color and are encouraged to bring a fruit or vegetable of the same color for the entire class to share. Students can split up by color for games throughout the celebration.
  3. Students wear beach gear to school for a Beach Day. Weather permitting, students can play with beach balls outside and eat healthy lunches outside on a beach towel. This can also serve as a starting point for teachers to talk about sun safety with students.
  4. Teachers can create a Hollywood-themed party for their students by creating a red carpet and asking students to dress up. Students can take photos by themselves or with other students on the red carpet. Students can create awards for other students.
  5. Host an in-class awards ceremony and present a wide range of awards, like most artistic, best peacemaker, or “Perseverance Award” for a child who has worked especially hard.

Have other ideas for healthy celebrations? Tell us in the comments.