Last year I wrote a blog post about the Summer MVP program at my boys’ school. It’s an optional program that encourages kids to
- Move and Be Active
- Value Healthy Eating
- Practice Healthy Habits
Specifically, each student was given a calendar of the summer vacation, and on each day there was an outline of a star. The road to becoming a Summer MVP required the kids to follow the wellness guidelines on at least 2/3 of the days of summer vacation and color in the stars on those days. The wellness guidelines for the program were:
- At least one hour of physical activity (can be accumulated in smaller periods of time)
- No more than two hours of screentime
- Five servings of fruits and vegetables
- No drinks other than water or milk
Last summer, my boys both expressed interest in becoming Summer MVPs. Since we follow the wellness guidelines on most days anyway, I thought it would be good for them to keep track of their progress. Perhaps I should have taken a more active role in the star-coloring, because The Monkey (2nd grade) lost his calendar, found it again, tried to remember how he did, and then gave up. The Bear (5th grade) dutifully kept track of his habits, filled in the stars on his calendar, and turned it in when school resumed.
The big reward for being a Summer MVP was a lock-in on a Friday afternoon after school. The party included free play outside, games in the gym, a catered dinner from a local restaurant, and at the end of the evening the kids watch a movie. At least that’s what the adults are told about the evening…..
All I know is when I picked The Bear up from the Summer MVP party at 8.30 last Friday night, he was talking a mile a minute. (Note: This is not unusual.) He had such a blast playing with other 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade Summer MVPs. They played kickball– The Bear’s favorite– climbed the rock wall, wrapped each other up like mummies, ate a healthy dinner, and then made themselves a couch out of gymnastics mats to sit on, all snuggled into their sleeping bags to watch a movie. He couldn’t stop talking about how much fun he had.
The Summer MVP program is the brainchild of the school’s PE coach (whose student-first teaching and commitment to making fitness fun has been the subject of other OnBalance posts) and is supported by a parent coordinator. Their efforts not only help to instill healthy habits in our kids in what could otherwise be a very long and unruly summer, but the party reward is truly meaningful and memorable for the kids. They were nice enough to pose for a photo with my MVP at the end of a very fun night.
If you’d like to start a similar program at your child’s school, please let me know. I’d be happy to give you more information about how you, too, can encourage MVPs!