How’s summer going so far? Is everyone up and moving, or have we settled in to a slow, steady slog? The fabulous PE program at my boys’ elementary school has a way to keep kids motivated to be healthy all summer long.
On the last day of school, each student received a paper to log his MVP characteristics each day of the summer. A MVP knows to Move and stay active, Value Healthy Eating, and Practice Safe Habits. To earn a daily star, the student needed to fulfill five MVP wellness goals:
1. One hour of physical activity per day
2. Eat a minimum of 3 servings of fruit & vegetables a day
3. No more than two hours of screen time per day
4. Drink no sugar-sweetened drinks
5. Sleep 8-10 hours per night
On days all five healthy habits are achieved, the student indicates what activities were done (chosen from a numerical list next to the calendar) and colors in a star on the corresponding day. At the end of each summer month, the parent signs off on the calendar.
Students who earn 60 MVP stars over the course of the summer are eligible for a raffle. (This equates to roughly 2/3 of summer days being MVP days.) One winner from each grade is selected to invite five friends for a Gymnasium Play Day Party with the PE coaches. The event is on a Friday and starts right after school with a lock-in until 8pm. The kids play games, make a healthy dinner, and enjoy the special time with their friends & coaches.
This is an optional program. There is no penalty for students and families who choose not to participate. It is the brainchild of a parent who was looking for a way to keep her son motivated throughout the summer. With the support of our outstanding PE coach– himself a parent of a child at the school– the program was hugely successful in its first year last summer.
So far this summer, my kids have had fun tracking their activity and making sure they get their daily MVP star. As a parent, I think it’s been incredible; my boys are now choosing milk (rather than chocolate milk) when we go out to eat, knowing that they want their star for the day. The commitment level for filling in the calendar is quite low, and the benefits are worth it.
I’d love to know how others keep themselves and their kids on a healthy track through summer vacation.
Good health and great happiness to you!