Healthy Classroom Celebrations

Celebrations can occur any time of the year, but are more numerous during the holiday season. Choosing healthy foods during this busy season is challenging, including during parties and events at school. Parents and teachers need to work together to incorporate healthy habits into each celebration. This will help teach students tips that promote wellness for the whole family.

Consider a party without food. Planning other activities will make this feel less strange. A service project is one way to take the focus off food and teach children ways to help others. Celebrations can also include craft projects, a visitor, such as the principal or community partner, or a story.

If food is a must, here are some ideas to get you started on planning a fun and healthy classroom celebration that everyone will enjoy:

  • Use an electronic sign-up sheet so parents can sign up to bring specific items you identify (example: one 12 pack of 8 oz. water bottles).
  • Provide recipes for party snacks, such as rainbow fruit kabobs.
  • Provide parents with a list of easily prepared and served healthy snacks such as: grapes, low-fat cheese or string cheese, whole grain crackers, light or low-fat popcorn, baby carrots, and granola bars.
  • Serve water instead of juice, punch or soda.
  • Print various MyPlate activity sheets for students to complete while they munch.
  • Ask parents to send in some of their favorite, easy, healthy recipes and assemble a “healthy classroom guide” for students to share with their families.

Encourage students to be physically active and to focus on other parts of the celebration instead of food.
  • Have a dance party, allowing students to suggest their favorite songs, or learn a new dance or song.
  • Encourage kids to creatively make up a game. It could be an entirely new game or a fun combination of games they already know.
  • Allow children to have extended recess time as part of the celebration.
There are many more ways to encourage children and parents to help in planning a healthy classroom celebration. For more ideas, visit the Healthy Celebrations Tool Kit
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This institution is an equal opportunity provider. This material was funded by USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP. The University of Maryland Extension will not discriminate against any person because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry or national origin, marital status, genetic information, political affiliation, and gender identity or expression. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nutrition assistance to people with low income. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more about Maryland’s Food Supplement Program (SNAP), contact the Maryland Department of Human Resources at 1-800-332-6347 or apply online at https://mydhrbenefits.dhr.state.md.us/.
© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall