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KIDS, CLUBS & SPONSORS|
Whether it's a small classroom club, a recess club, an after-school club, or a marathon-affiliated kids running club, all schoolchildren should at one time be part of one of these kid-healthy organizations. At KidsRunning.Com, I hear about many different and wonderful kids' wellness clubs across the nation. I also have the personal experience of leading my own cozy after-school kids running club, The Happy Feet, Healthy Food Kids' Club.
Box-stacle, page 67, Kids Running: Have Fun, Get Faster & Go Farther|
Art by Carol Goodrow
It's our last week. Our family fun run, the Chipmunk Chase, is over. The kids have earned their medals. Most of the children have completed their 26 footprints toward their healthy-habit ribbons. The sponsor thank-you notes have been written. What's to do? Just have fun, of course!
Our last activity will be a kid-made running game (instructions are found in the new Kids Running: Have Fun, Get Faster and Go Farther book). The children are assigned pages 67 and 68 to read at home. They are invited to make a box at home, to add to our Box-stacle course ( a make-shift obstacle/relay course) for our last session. The task? Be creative. Share a fun idea. And make this game a group effort.
QUICK DIRECTIONS for a RUNNING GAME: To play Box-stacle, you just need a lot of boxes with directions for what to do by or around the box AND directions for the type of locomotion you need to get to the next box. When kids create this game, they like to add themes to the boxes. Themes they've come up with? Bears, lions, super heroes, space, jump rope, fish, and more. Just make a few ordinary boxes like the ones in the above graphic, then kids make up their own at home. The game will be more fun than you can imagine. The kids will want to go around the course multiple times.
- The photo on the right is of the first Happy Feet Kids to come to the club with his homemade box. I was very excited that the parents read the notices and the kids did their "homework"!
The Happy Feet, Healthy Food Kids' Club was founded in 2004 when Happy Feet, Healthy Food, my first children's book came out. It's still going strong. Right now, the spring session is coming to an end. And near the end, the children are required to write a thank-you note our club sponsors. This note-writing session is the only time we cut our exercise short, but without our sponsors, we can't run the club as we know and love it. It's our sponsors who enable us to have our T-shirts, books, and allow me to lead the club. The children are still young, and all of them don't totally understand this concept.
One child was drawing a table in an illustration for our sponsors. I asked him what he was making and he answered, "A table where the sponsor is cutting the cloth for the T-shirts."
I tried to explain, "They don't make the T-shirts. I design them and send the design to at T-shirt making company and they make them. The sponsors pay for the tees."
The child changed the picture to a book and wrote, "Thank you for writing the books." "Oh, dear," I thought. And I said, "I write the books."
The child indignantly responded, "Well then just what DO the sponsors do?" - as if to say, "Just what use are they anyway and why are we doing this?"
To me, and to all people who create and implement programs, the sponsors allow dreams to come true. They allow us to change the world for children and start them out with positive affiliations. What better a club to belong to, than a healthy-kids club?
So whether the kids totally understood the sponsors' roles or not, the notes were written and will be in the mail on Monday. And sometime next week, they'll be in the hands of our sponsors, the spelling will be deciphered and they'll be posted on office bulletin boards with pride.
FROM THE THANK-YOU NOTES TO OUR SPONSORS
Paytenne: I love the Happy Feet song.
We sing a verse every club session.
Joe: I like every game that you made. The T-shirts are pretty cool... You are the best.
It gives me a sense of pride to see the endless line of children wearing Happy Feet tees.
Michelle: I love to run.
This is what we want to hear.
Kevin: I like when we get to make the feet.
Happy Feet Kids color in a footprint chart to work towards a ribbon. When their 26 or so healthy-habit footprints are complete, they get to make their own freehand footprints. Some of these are quite creative.
Abbey: I loved how we always did a (running) game every class.
All Happy Feet running games are non-competitive.
Ben: My favorite food is baked beans.
Kids learn about all kinds of healthy foods.
Matt: The Chipmunk Chase was good exercise. I ran 3 miles.
Our fun run is an (x)-K. Kids run as many 1-K laps as they want.
Kathryn: I like hiking.
Whenever possible, we finished our exercise period with a hike in the woods.
Ryan: My favorite thing is the Happy Feet song and when we are hiking, we see the robins sing.
The song starts like this, "A strawberry for you, a carrot for me, bright yellow sun, green trees to see."
Nicholas: P.S. Chips NO, fruit, YES!
Great idea, Nick.
Dominic: My favorite game was Chipmunks and Squirrels.
Like an Easter Egg hunt, this game just keeps kids moving.
Sarah: Thank you for the books.
Each child is given a Happy Feet journal to keep. The other two books are available for purchase or by lending library.
Hamzah: Chips No!!! Fruits Yes!!!
This seems to be the kids' motto.
Abigail: I like Happy Feet so much, that I keep coming.
Abigail came to the fall and spring clubs when she was in first and second grade.
Sam: By the way, I love to eat healthy food.
The club kids are rewarded for bringing healthy foods to club.
If you are a kidsrunning.com visitor, then perhaps you have an interest in building a child's after-school healthy habit club. You can find out more about my club by following the links below. The Happy Feet club is best run by a teacher or leader who is creative, energetic, and enjoys working with kids and families on running and literacy. And it's helpful if you are keen on working with parent volunteers. Interested? Send me an e-mail.
But if the Happy Feet club isn't for you, then check out the other clubs we have on our links page. There are many notable programs. If you spend a little time checking around, you can find one just right for your community and your level of energy and enthusiasm.
Carol's Healtily-Ever-After Children's Books used in the Happy Feet Club
Happy Feet Club Newer Lesson Plans
Happy Feet Club Archives
Other Youth Programs Click here to find Just Run, Marathon Kids, Special Girls' only programs, and more.
pecentral.org for school distance programs from Log-It to the new Coleman, 50 States in 50 Days Program
Thank you to our forever supportive sponsors: nerac.com, cnc software inc., and also to agora, a healthy-eating place who is joining us as the 2008-2009 medal sponsor.