Wellness Wednesday NYC Activity

A Celebration of YOU!

June 24, 2020

  • Theme: Living in Wellness, Part 2
  • Level: Grades K-12

Summary of Activity

It has been quite a school year! As a parent or caregiver, you made it through remote learning: You were a teacher while keeping everything else in your house together. Students, you took on more responsibility in your learning than ever before. We are living through COVID-19, social distancing, and the fight to bring long overdue justice for people of color in the US. This week take a few moments to celebrate all you’ve accomplished – because you are AWESOME. YOU DID IT.

Purpose

This activity is designed to help you and/or your child celebrate your accomplishments. By completing the activity, you will highlight what makes you feel proud, and celebrate together as a family. 

Materials

  • Option 1: Paper, pen, and mobile device with camera if you choose to record a video.
  • Option 2: Crayons, markers, colored pencils, or paint if you choose to draw out responses and decorate the awards.

Instructions

Work with your child to complete the following activity. This activity is meant to be done as a family. A student can also complete it with any trusted older family member, caregiver, or adult living in their household. The best way to do this is whichever way is the most fun for you!

Step 1: Parents/adult household members ask the student questions

First, parents/caregivers/older family members, ask your child the following three questions. You can ask the questions and write your child’s responses, or you can record your conversation on video. You can modify this activity by encouraging your student to write, draw, or act out their responses.

  1. What have you done as a student this year that makes you feel most proud of yourself? For example:
    • I am most proud that I completed all my Math assignments. 

For younger students, you may need to define the word “proud.” You can say: “Feeling proud comes from being very happy because of your own efforts or someone you know.”

  1. What have you done at home that makes you feel most proud of yourself? For example:
    • I am most proud that I helped my mom with chores.
    • I am most proud that I helped my younger sisters and brothers with their work. 
    • I am most proud that I exercised every day.
  2. What did you learn about yourself this year? For example:
    • I learned that I am smarter than I thought I was at the beginning of the year. 

Step 2: Students ask parents/household members questions

Students ask your parents/caregivers/older family members the following three questions.

  1. What have you done this year that makes you feel most proud of yourself?
  2. What have you done at home that makes you feel most proud of yourself? 
  3. What did you learn about yourself this year?

Step 3: Awards!

After you have completed the interview questions, continue the celebration by giving one another an award for “BEST (fill in the blank).”

Parents and caregivers, give an award to your student. Students, give an award to your parent or caregiver. Get creative to really show your appreciation for one another! Some examples of awards are: 

  • BEST HUG GIVER WHEN I’M FEELING SAD
  • BEST JOKE TELLER IN THE HOUSE
  • BEST AT HELPING WITH CHORES
  • BEST AT STAYING FOCUSED WITH SCHOOL WORK
  • BEST AT GOING TO BED ON TIME
  • BEST AT MAKING A DELICIOUS DINNER
  1. Use the templates below.
  2. If you have access to a printer, you can print a copy for each student and parent/caregiver participating in the activity.
  3. If you do not have access to a printer, you can draw the awards on blank sheets of paper.
  4. If you’d like, color the awards using crayons, markers, colored pencils or paint.

Blank Ribbon Image

Blank best reward activity

Closure

We know this has been one of the hardest, most exhausting, inspiring years of our lives. We at the DOE see all your effort in supporting your families. You have done an amazing job and we appreciate each of you. 

Learning from Our Community

June 17, 2020

  • Theme: Our Human Connection
  • Level: Grades K-12 (see different instructions for K-5 and 6-12 below)

Summary of Activity

What can we learn from members of our community? How are we connected in our experiences? This activity will help you connect with your family members and friends by:

  • interviewing a person you choose
  • recording and reflecting on the interview
  • saving a record of the interview that you can revisit in the future

Purpose

This activity is designed to help you and/or your child: 

  • Reflect and learn from your shared experiences 
  • Connect with family and friends

Materials

  • Paper and pencil or pen
  • Phone or other recording device (optional)

Instructions: Grades K-5

Work with your child to complete the following activity.

Step 1: Choose a person you want to interview

  • Think about the different people you can interview. These people can be your family or household members, or friends. 
  • Choose one person you want to speak with about their experience during this time in history.

Step 2: Get ready

  • Get a pencil and paper.
  • If the person you are interviewing does not live with you, you will need to be able to get in contact with them on the phone or computer.
  • Choose three or more questions from the following list. You can also create your own questions!
    • List five words to describe how you feel during this time.
    • What did you do to connect with others during this time? 
    • What will you remember most from this time?
    • What is something you are excited to do with others when this is over?
    • What are you most thankful for?
  • Get ready to take notes!
    • On your paper, write down the questions you chose.
    • Make sure to leave some room to take notes in between the questions. (Students in grades K - 2 may capture their notes as drawings or simple words and phrases. Or, you may take written notes for the student.)

Step 3: Do your interview

  • Ask one question at a time. Take notes on your paper. 
  • Make sure to thank the person after you are done with the interview! You can even write them a thank-you card. Include drawings if you would like!

Step 4: Reflect on the interview

On a separate paper, write down these questions. Make sure to leave some room in between the questions for your responses. (Students in grades K – 2 may capture their reflection as drawings or simple words and phrases. Or, the adult may take written notes for the student.)

  • What did I learn from talking with this person?
  • How did I feel after talking with this person?

Step 5: Show your future self what you have learned

  • Find an envelope or another container. 
  • Place the materials from this activity in that envelope or container. 
  • Decide on a future date to open the envelope or container. Make a note on the envelope or container with a message such as, “Open on ____ (fill in date).”

Closure

You can learn a lot from talking with and listening to those around you, especially when significant events are happening in your city, nation and world. We hope this activity encourages you to talk with more people in your community. Keep those special memories!

Instructions: Grades 6-12

Step 1: Reflect

Reflect on the following questions: 

  • What does human connection mean to you? 
  • Why is it important to develop our human connections while we experience significant events in the local and broader community?

Step 2: Choose a person you want to interview

  • Think about the different people you can interview. These people can be your family or household members or friends. 
  • Choose one person you want to talk with and ask questions about their experience during this time in history. 

Step 3: Get ready

  • Choose how you will conduct the interview. Some options include:
    • Pencil or pen and paper
    • Audio or video recording (phone or other device)
  • If the person you are interviewing does not live with you, you will need to be able to get in contact with them on the phone or computer.
  • Choose five or more questions from the following list. Feel free to create your own questions!
    • How are you feeling about events from the past 2-3 months?
    • What do you find yourself reflecting upon during this time?
    • What has been giving you hope during this time?
    • What challenges have been especially tough for you?
    • Who did you support during this time? In what ways did you support them?
    • Did you have the support you needed during this time? How did you receive that support?
    • What did you learn about yourself and others?
    • What activities or rituals have been most helpful in helping you cope with challenges or feel better, or more connected, during this time?
    • What advice would you give others to help them cope better with what’s happening right now?
  • Get ready to take notes on paper or record your notes.
  • On your paper, write down the questions you chose. If you will be conducting the interview by taking notes on paper, make sure to leave some room between the questions. 

Step 4: Conduct the interview

  • Ask one question at a time. Take notes on your paper or record the interview on your device.
  • Make sure to thank the person after you are done with the interview! You can even write them a thank-you card. 

Step 5: Reflect on the interview and the experience

  • On a separate paper, write down these questions. Make sure to leave some room in between the questions for your responses. You can also choose to record yourself on a device.
    • What did I learn from the interview?
    • How did I feel after connecting with this person?
    • What are some experiences I have in common with the person I interviewed? What are some differences?

Step 6: Tell your future self what you have learned

  • Find an envelope or another container for your notes and materials from this activity. Decide on a future date to open the envelope or container. Make a note on the envelope or container with a message such as, “Open on ____ (fill in date).”
  • If you recorded the interview and your reflection, set a reminder in some way to listen to the recording in the future. Some suggestions:

Closure

Learning about the common and different ways that you and others experience events in your community is a great way to start thinking about ways that you can get involved in your community. How can you use what you learned during this time to help create positive change for yourself and others?

Loving Every Body

June 10, 2020

  • Theme: How Can We Respect and Celebrate Our Differences?
  • Level: Grades K-12 (see different instructions for K-5 and 6-12 below)

Summary of Activity

Recent events have raised many issues around race and privilege. We are experiencing many feelings: anxiety, sadness, anger, and exhaustion. Parents and caregivers have the hard task of taking care of their children while trying to make sense of their own feelings. This week, we recognize all you are going through, and provide some resources for taking care of yourself during this time. 

Teaching young people about racial and cultural identities helps them to learn about their own unique identities. It also helps them to learn about the many identities in their classroom communities. One of the most important steps in helping fight prejudice is helping our kids discuss race, beginning when they are young.

This week’s activity is designed to help your child understand, connect, and work with a diverse group of students. These skills are important in our multicultural, global society.

Purpose

This activity is designed to help you and/or your child: 

Grades K-5

  • Explore your identities and personal experiences with
    • race
    • culture
    • ability
    • family structure
    • religion or spirituality
    • gender identity and expression
  • Share and discuss your own feelings
  • Create your own “identity flowers”

 Grades 6-12

  • Understand the concept of being interconnected
  • Understand intersectionality: A way of looking at how people's social group identities overlap and intersect.
  • Explore how this relates to themselves and others

Materials

  • Paper and pencils or pens

Definitions

Here are some definitions that may be helpful when you explain this activity. 

  • Identity: Describes all of the qualities that make YOU unique/different as a person. 
  • Race: Refers to categories that describe people based on their physical appearance, like the color of their skin. 
  • Culture: The beliefs, ideas, and traditions of a group of people. 

Resources

Books to help students explore identity

Books to help kids discuss race 

Follow along with readings of these picture books on YouTube.

Lessons and activities

Additional resources

Instructions: Grades K-5

Today you will be talking about “identity” and the many different pieces that fit together to shape our experiences and ultimately make us who we are. 

Work with your child to complete the steps below using paper and pencils.

Step 1

In the Identity Flower drawing below, each petal represents a different part of our identity. These parts are: 

  • Family 
  • Gender
  • Race and Culture
  • Ability
  • Spirituality
  • School
  • Neighborhood 
  1. Draw your own Identity Flower on a piece of paper, using pencils or pens.
  2. Write a name at the top.
  3. Parents and caregivers can use themselves, or a familiar character from a book you read together or a film you watched.
  4. Together with your child, talk through each of the petals. Use adjectives, identity terms, and pictures or drawings that could go in each petal.

flower

Step 2

  1. Discuss any petals or groups that your child may have questions about.
  2. This is a great opportunity to show positive representations of other family structures, in addition to the nuclear family. For example:
    • two moms
    • two dads
    • trans parents
    • single parents
    • foster and step-families
    • grandparent-headed families

Instructions: Grades 6-12

This activity highlights the idea that people carry many identities at the same time. It also helps you and/or your child explore the “intersectionality” of these identities. Intersectionality is a way of looking at how people’s social group identities overlap and intersect.

In this activity, you and/or your child will respond to statements related to their identities. 

Step 1

Parents or caregivers, read from the list of statements below and encourage your child to choose identities that they feel answers the statements for them. You as the parent/caregiver can show this by answering first with identities of your own. 

If your child has more than one identity that they feel answers a specific statement, encourage them to pick only one as a response.

Suggested identities for answers can include the following; 

  • race
  • gender 
  • gender identity
  • class
  • national origin
  • sexual orientation 
  • religion 
  • religious practice 
  • weight
  • immigration status
  • ethnicity
  • ability 
Statements
  • The part of my identity that I think about a lot is __________.
  • The part of my identity that I don’t think about a lot is __________.
  • The part of my identity that was most important in my family growing up is/was __________.
  • The part of my identity that I wish I knew more about was __________.
  • The part of my identity that makes me feel really good is __________.
  • The part of my identity that most people don’t understand is __________.
  • The part of my identity that is hard to discuss with others is __________.
  • The part of my identity that sometimes makes me feel isolated or alone is __________. 

After your child responds to each statement, you as the parent/caregiver, may choose to discuss the response before moving on to the next statement.

Remind your child:

  • Identity is how you see yourself in the world.
  • You are encouraged to focus on positive identities that show how great you are!

Step 2: Closure

To debrief, you and your child can discuss the following: 

  • How are you feeling after doing this activity? 
  • What was the activity like? 
  • Were there any identities that you wish had existed but were not options? 
  • What did you learn about yourself? 
  • Do you have any questions that weren’t included that you would like to ask?
  • What are some of the things that make you special? 

Building Your Super Friend Toolbox

June 3, 2020

  • Theme: Engaging in Healthy Relationships and Social Connections
  • Level: Grades K-12 (see different instructions for K-5 and 6-12 below)

Summary of Activity

How can we maintain healthy relationships of all kinds—friendships, partnerships, familial relationships—while taking care of ourselves? In this activity, you and/or your child will:

  • learn what a healthy relationship is and what it feels like
  • build a “Super Friend” toolbox to help us nurture our relationships
  • understand how to process our feelings and apply what we learn

Purpose:

This activity is designed to help you and/or your child:

  • better understand what makes a healthy relationship
  • have the tools to nurture healthy relationships
  • be more aware of their needs in relationships

Resources and Materials:

  • A piece of paper and writing utensils.
  • Talking About Relationships, from Planned Parenthood: Online tips for parents about talking to children from preschool to high school.
  • Common Sense Media: Website for parents and educators to help young people use media safely.
  • Respect for All: Learn how to report bullying or harassment to the New York City Department of Education or your school.
  • For students in grades K-5:
    • Friendship Soup: A video from The NED Shows to help students practice friendship skills.
  • For students in grades 6-12:
    • What Makes a Relationship Healthy? A video from Amaze.org, a sexual health education website for teens.
    • LoveIsRespect.org: Helps young people learn about healthy relationships and how to prevent and end abusive relationships. Site includes hotlines to text or call in crisis.
    • NYC Family Justice Center: Call 311 or dial 800-621-HOPE (4673) if you are experiencing domestic or gender-based violence.
  • Day One NY: Services for young people who are experiencing dating abuse.
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 1-800-799-7233 if you need support or text “LOVEIS” to 22522

Instructions: Grades K-5

Work with your child to complete the steps below using paper and pencils. 

Step 1: Draw Your Super Friend

  1. Today we are going to build a Super Friend. Help your child use a pencil to draw a picture of a Super Friend. Their Super Friend can look however they want them to look. Tell your child to leave lots of space around the Super Friend, because we are going to add word bubbles to make the Super Friend talk.
  2. Now let’s give the Super Friend some character. For this step, talk about the following qualities with your child, and help them draw the following symbols. Your Super Friend:
    • loves you for who you are. Draw a heart next to your Super Friend for “love.”
    • treats you equally. Draw an equal sign next to your Super Friend for “equality.”
    • is a good listener. Draw an ear next to your Super Friend for “listening." 

Step 2: Act Like a Super Friend

  1. Now that we know the qualities of a Super Friend, let’s act them out. For this activity, ask your child what a Super Friend would do in the following scenarios:
    • Let’s practice “love.” What would a Super Friend do or say when their friend is really excited about something? Act it out! Your child might give you a high-five, or tell you that they’re excited too. Explain that Super Friends show love by supporting their friends.
    • Let’s practice “equality.” What would a Super Friend do or say when they beat their friend in a board game? Act it out! Your child might give you a pat on the back, or they might say, “It’s okay. You did great anyway!” Explain that Super Friends show equality by respecting each other.
    • Let’s practice “listening.” What would a Super Friend do or say when their friend is sad, and just needs someone to talk to? Act it out! Your child might say “I’m here for you,” or might hold your hand. Explain that Super Friends listen to their friends no matter what—even when the conversations are sad or difficult.
  2. Being a Super Friend isn’t always easy. Sometimes we might mess up. Ask your child what a Super Friend would do when they mess up. Your child might say, “Apologize,” or “Tell them you’re sorry.” Act it out! Explain that Super Friends apologize when they mess up, and they take responsibility for their actions.

Step 3: Feel Like a Super Friend

  1. Now that we know how to be a Super Friend, let’s talk about what it feels like to be in a Super Friendship. Ask your child:
    • What does it feel like when someone supports and loves you?
    • What does it feel like when someone treats you equally or with respect?
    • What does it feel like when someone listens to you?

Your child might say that it feels good, warm, safe, or comforting. Explain that this is what it feels like to be in a Super Friendship. Friendships should never feel scary or unsafe.

  1. Being a Super Friend to ourselves is just as important as being a Super Friend to others. For this activity, ask your child to close their eyes. Tell your child:
    • Wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself a big hug. Make sure that your hug is packed with love. 
    • Now, think about your favorite things about yourself. These are the things you respect about yourself.
    • Now, in your head, ask yourself how you feel. Give yourself some time to listen to your feelings. 

Step 4: Closure

Ask your child to open their eyes. Thank them for participating in this activity. Tell them that whenever they need some love, respect, or a good listening ear, they can come to you. Or, they can practice these exercises on their own in the future.

Instructions: Grades 6-12

Complete the steps below using paper and pencils. (Children who need help can work on this with a trusted adult.)

Step 1: Build Your Super Friend Toolbox

  1. Today we are going to build a Super Friend toolbox. With a pencil, draw a picture of a Super Friend. Your Super Friend can be based on a real person, or you can make up an imaginary person. You can give them a name if you would like to. Leave lots of space around your Super Friend, because we are going to add word bubbles to make them talk.
  2. Now that you have drawn your Super Friend, give them some character. Your Super Friend:
    • likes you for who you are. Write the word “respect” on their outfit!
    • treats you fairly or equitably. Write the word “equity” on their outfit!
    • respects your individuality. Write the word “independence” on their outfit!
    • is someone you can trust. Write the word “trust” on their outfit!
    • is someone you can talk to. Write the word “communication” on their outfit!

These are the qualities that make a healthy relationship. Do you have anything to add? Feel free to include words of your own.

  1. Now, for each scenario below, draw a word bubble to show what your Super Friend would say when:
    • you show them a project that you have been working on, or you tell them about something that interests you
    • they beat you in a game or score higher than you on an exam
    • you tell them that you are not in the mood to hang out
    • you tell them about something embarrassing that happened to you
    • you tell them that something they had said had hurt your feelings

If you are not sure what your Super Friend would say in one of these scenarios, you can leave a blank word bubble, and ask a trusted adult to help you fill it out during the next step. 

Step 2: Check Your Toolbox

  1. Now that you have filled out your word bubbles, start to build your Super Friend toolbox. Find a trusted adult to do the next step with you, or you can check your toolbox on your own.
  2. Ask the trusted adult, or ask yourself, “How would you feel if someone said these things to you?” Then, write the responses under each word bubble. Words like these might describe what it feels like to be in a healthy relationship:
    • empowered
    • loved
    • comfortable
    • supported
    • safe
  3. If you or the trusted adult think that one of your word bubbles might make someone feel bad, scared, or unsafe, try coming up with a new word bubble. Healthy relationships should never feel unsafe.

Step 3: Use Your Toolbox

  1. Let us look at what you have in your new Super Friend toolbox
    • On your Super Friend’s outfit, you wrote qualities such as respect, equity, independence, trust, and communication. You might have added your own qualities, too!
    • In the word bubbles around your Super Friend, you wrote words you can use when you find yourself in a difficult situation with a friend.
    • Under the word bubbles, you wrote feelings that you might feel in a healthy relationship, such as empowerment, love, comfort, support, and safety. You might have added your own feelings too!
  2. How can you apply these tools to your own life?
    • Can you try to embody the Super Friend qualities?
    • Can you use the Super Friend words next time that you feel stuck?
    • Can you check in with your feelings, or check in with your friends’ feelings, to make sure your relationships are healthy?
    • Write down ways that you can use your Super Friend toolbox in your own life.
    • What qualities do I embody that make me a Super Friend?
    • What words can I tell myself when I am struggling?
    • What do I feel when I tell myself these things?
  3. Sometimes your tools might not work, or you might forget to use them. That is okay! Being a Super Friend just means trying your best and apologizing when you make a mistake. You can always edit your toolbox or add new tools if you need to.
  4. By letting your friends know how you feel in your relationships, you can help your friends improve their toolboxes too. You can always try writing in a journal about your feelings first, or drawing a picture, if you need to process how you feel.
  5. Now it is time to practice being a Super Friend to yourself. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Continue your deep breathing. Ask yourself:

Step 4: Closure

Being a Super Friend to yourself is just as important as being a Super Friend to others. Continue thinking about all the positive qualities, words, and feelings that you have. Now wrap your arms around yourself, take one last deep breath, and give yourself a big hug. You are an excellent Super Friend!

Movement Your Way

May 27, 2020

  • Theme: Movement Magic
  • Level: Grades K-12

Summary of Activity

Create a weekly activity tracker to measure your physical activity and achieve your fitness goals. Get creative by making a plan that can be performed in the spaces that you have access to!

Purpose:

This activity is designed to help you set long-term and short-term goals. You will also learn to be mindful of your daily physical activity to increase overall wellness.

Resources and Materials:

You will need something to create your tracker on. This could be any one of these things:

  • A piece of paper and a writing utensil
  • An electronic device: computer, smartphone, or tablet
  • A planner or calendar and a writing utensil

You can also use the Wellness Wednesday NYC goal tracker template: 

Instructions

Step 1: Set your goal

Before you create your plan, think about a personal or family physical fitness goal. Your goal should be:

  • Specific: What type of exercises would you like to complete, or how much time would you like to exercise for? 
  • Measurable: What value can you measure over time to track progress toward your goal?
  • Attainable: Is this a goal that I should be able to complete each day? Is it too hard? Is it too easy?
  • Relevant: Can you reach your goal in the space you have to work with? Keep in mind the equipment and supplies that you have access to.

Example: I want to improve my overall fitness. I exercise about twenty minutes each day, but I would like to do more. My goal is to complete sixty minutes of exercise per day.

If you need some help with creating your goal, check out the daily activity recommendations for different age levels, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Step 2: Create your fitness tracker

You will create a fitness tracker to measure your goal progress for a week. Feel free to use the Wellness Wednesday NYC Physical Activity Goal Tracker template if you do not want to create your own. The template also contains a completed sample.

  • Write your goal at the top of your tracker.
  • Create seven boxes on your tracker. Label one box for each day of the week. Leave space to record these responses for each day:
    • Did you complete your goal (Yes or No)?
    • Reflections for the day, such as activities that you enjoyed, how your body feels, or how you can reach your goal in the future. If you like, you can draw your response.

Step 3: Start moving!

  • For each day, you will try to complete your goal.
  • Set a schedule for when you are going to complete your physical activity, such as in the morning, or after you finish your schoolwork for the day.
  • Use exercise resources to help you with your overall fitness. Wellness Wednesday NYC Workouts of the Day are a great place to start.
  • Check out the resources on the Wellness Wednesday NYC home page for more virtual workout ideas. 

Step 4: Test yourself!

  • In order to track your progress, fill in your fitness tracker at the end of each day.
  • Make a note of whether you reached your goal for the day.
  • Be honest about your goal. If your goal is too easy or too hard, use that information to create a more appropriate goal for the next week.

Step 5: Reflection

  • At the end of the week, think about your goal by yourself or with your family. Discuss the following questions:
    • Did I reach my goal every day?
    • Was my goal too easy, too hard, or, just right? Why?
    • Is there a goal that I would like to reach for next week?
    • How does my body feel after attempting this goal?

Closing

Physical activity helps our body stay healthy, and it can also help to improve our mood. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends sixty minutes of physical activity per day for children and adolescents. You can be a wellness champion by continuing to create fitness goals and trying your hardest to reach them.

Eating a Nutritious Rainbow

May 20, 2020

  • Theme: Nutrition and Food Security During Insecure Times
  • Level: Grades K-12

Summary of Activity

Your body runs on lots of different vitamins and minerals that keep it happy and healthy. Fruits and vegetables have many of these nutrients that your body needs. The nutrients these fruits and vegetables have are different depending on their color.

As a quick way to make sure you’re getting lots of different vitamins, try to eat as many different colors as you can! A fun way to show this on your plate is to make a rainbow fruit salad. If you can find skewers or toothpicks, you can make rainbow kebabs. Get creative with fruits and vegetables to make your own nutritious rainbow of food!

Purpose:

This activity is designed to help you:

  • think about the components of a healthy snack
  • learn about some simple food substitutions that can boost the nutrition of a meal (like colorful fruits and vegetables)
  • use ingredients and household items that you already have on-hand 

Resources and Materials:

  • Eat a Rainbow chart: Learn what it means to “eat a rainbow.”
  • Whatever colorful fruits you like. Some ideas are:
    • banana
    • pineapple
    • canned pear or peaches
    • grapes
    • apples
    • berries
  • Whatever colorful vegetables you’d like. Some ideas are:
    • carrots
    • bell peppers
    • canned beets
    • celery
    • olives
  • A safe cutting knife
  • Any type of plate
  • Optional: skewers or toothpicks (to create fruit or vegetable kebabs) 

Instructions

Step 1: Gather your fruits and vegetables

  • Gather the fruits and vegetables you want to use. Try to find as many colors as possible!
  • Look at the Eat a Rainbow chart to learn more about the nutrients in specific foods.

Step 2: Wash your fruits and vegetables with water

Step 3: If needed, peel your fruits and vegetables

  • Depending on the fruit or vegetable, you may need an adult to help you peel off the skin.
  • Some fruits and vegetables have even more nutrients in their skins. If you aren’t sure if you should peel the skin off, ask your parent, caregiver, or an adult in your household.

Step 4: Cut up your fruits and vegetables

  • Cut up the fruits and vegetables into fun shapes. You can cut them up however you want, they will still be just as good for your body!

Step 5: Arrange your fruits and vegetables

  • Make a pattern when setting up your fruits and vegetables, so you create a colorful rainbow on your plate!
  • You can also slide your fruits and vegetables onto toothpicks or skewers to create healthy kebabs.

Closing

Admire the delicious and nutritious art you made, and enjoy! Eating colorful fruits and vegetable is a great way to make yourself a delicious and nutritious snack.

  • Parents and educators: Check out the ChooseMyPlate website to find more ways to help you, your kids, and your students make healthier choices, based on science. Visit the ChooseMyPlate activity page for quizzes, posters, toolkits, and more.
  • Students: Check out MyPlate Kids’ Place for games, videos, songs, and activities like puzzles and word scrambles that help you have fun and learn about healthy food.

Handwashing Saves Lives

May 13, 2020

  • Theme: Keeping Your Family Healthy
  • Level: Grades K-12

Summary of Activity

If you are sick, what should you do to prevent spreading your illness to others? The handwashing saves lives activity will help you and your family explore this question by

  • watching a video that explains how germs spread, and how to wash your hands properly
  • finding or creating a song to help guide handwashing
  • teaching each other your handwashing song and remembering to sing it each time you wash your hands

Purpose

Learn how to properly wash your hands and create a tool to help you keep washing them properly in the future.

Resources and Materials

  • Wash Your Hands: 30-second video showing how to properly wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Happy Handwashing Song: Animated video of a simple handwashing song, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • 20 Seconds or More, produced by Hip Hop Public Health: A video with more inspiration for stopping the spread of COVID-19, from rapper Doug E. Fresh and well-known music artists, public health experts, athletes, entertainers, and families.

Instructions

Step 1: Learn the handwashing steps

Watch the Wash Your Hands video or review the steps below in order to learn how to get your hands germ-free:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap. 
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. 
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum a song such as the ABCs. 
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water. 
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel, paper towel, or air dry them. 

Step 2: Find or create a handwashing song

Hands need to be washed for at least 20 seconds each time. The song that you choose or create should be 20 to 30 seconds in length.

  • To find a song:
    • Get creative with your choices. You can use a verse of your favorite song or a song that is easy to remember, such as the “Happy Birthday” song.
    • Time yourself singing the song to make sure that your selection is 20 to 30 seconds in length.
  • To create a song:
    • Find or create a tune to sing to. Your tune will need to be 20 to 30 seconds in length.
    • Create the lyrics (words) to your song. Try to make the lyrics related to washing your hands and keeping clean.
    • Time yourself singing your song to make sure it is 20 to 30 seconds in length.

For inspiration, or if you are having a hard time finding a song, feel free to listen to the CDC’s Happy Handwashing Song. Their song uses the tune of “Happy Birthday” but with new lyrics about handwashing. You can also watch 20 Seconds or More, produced by Hip Hop Public Health.

Step 3: Share what you’ve learned

You can be a hero in your community by teaching your family how to properly wash their hands! Teach your family your handwashing song or encourage them to create a song of their own.

  • With the permission of a parent or guardian, film or record your song to share with others.
    • Remember that to ensure safety online, students and anyone under 18 should not post images or videos of themselves on social media without approval from a trusted adult.
  • Remember to sing your song each time you wash your hands. The most important times to wash your hands are:
    • Before, during, and after preparing food 
    • Before eating food 
    • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick 
    • Before and after treating a cut or wound 
    • After using the toilet 
    • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet 
    • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing 
    • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste 
    • After handling pet food or pet treats 
    • After touching garbage 

Closing

By practicing proper handwashing and teaching others how to handwash, you can help save lives.

Where and How Do I Feel?

May 6, 2020

  • Theme: Healthy Minds
  • Level: Grades K-12

Summary of Activity

How can we better manage thoughts and cope with emotions in ways that are healthy? The healthy minds activity will help you and your family/household explore this question by: 

  • reflecting on how you currently feel (physically and emotionally). 
  • talking about emotions and where we feel these emotions in our bodies.
  • learning a relaxation activity to feel calmer in your mind and body. 

Purpose

  • You will better understand the emotional connection between the body and the mind.
  • You will be more aware of what parts of your body and mind need the most attention. 

Instructions

Complete the three steps below using your computer or with paper and pencils. You may also complete the activities without any materials.

Step 1: Where do I feel?

  1. We can feel strong emotions in our bodies. Talk about how the mind and body are connected. For example, a lot of people feel hot in their face when they are angry or that their stomach is in knots when they are nervous.
  2. Think about the following emotions and use the body outline below to point out where you feel them in your body.
    • Computer-only version: Use the outline on the screen to discuss the emotions and point to them on the screen as you talk about them. For example, if you feel hot in your face when you are angry point that out on the body outline.
    • Paper version: Trace the outline onto a piece of paper (or print if available). Assign a different color to each emotion and use that color to fill in where you feel each emotion on the body outline. For example, if you feel hot in your face when you are angry use red to color the cheeks in the body outline.
    • Use the following emotions (read more about talking to younger children about emotions):
      • Anger
      • Love
      • Stress
      • Happiness
      • Sadness

      Where do I feel exercise: outline of a person

  3. Ask “What are you feeling now?”
    • You can use the list of emotions or come up with your own.
  4. Ask “Where are you feeling that?” and point it out on the body outline.
    • If you used the paper version, circle the spot you are feeling.

Step 2: Body Scan

Another way to think of how our body and minds are connected is through a body scan. This activity offers a way to think about the parts of your body that need more attention. It also teaches you a way to relax when you are stressed. This is an exercise that is helpful to use with young people of any age.

Before you start, think about what you did in Step 1. Pay special attention to where you are feeling tension or strong emotion right now.

  • Lie down on your back on a comfortable surface and close your eyes.
  • Squeeze every muscle in your body as tight as you can.
    • Squish your toes and feet
    • Squeeze your hands into fists
    • Make your legs and arms as hard as stone 
  • After a few seconds, release all your muscles while breathing out, and relax for a few minutes. When you breath out, imagine you are blowing out birthday candles.
  • Repeat as needed.

Step 3: Practice 

Knowing more about your feelings and how they show up in your body is an important first step toward a healthier mind. The more you practice this activity, the more it will help you to take more control over your emotions.

Resources to Explore

New York City Resources for Mental Health Support

  • NYC WELL: Confidential mental health information and referral line. Text "WELL" to 65173, call 1-888-NYC-WELL (692-9355) or chat with someone through NYC Well
  • Hitesite: Online directory of free and low-cost behavioral health services.
  • Telehealth: Local providers offering remote mental health services.

Ready, Set, Wellness!

April 29, 2020

  • Theme: Living with Wellness
  • Level: Grades K-12

Summary of Activity

How can we take care of ourselves and others through challenging times? The Ready, Set, Wellness! activity will help you and your family/household explore this question by:

  • reflecting on how you currently feel (physically, emotionally and mentally, and socially)
  • making a wellness commitment that is meaningful to you
  • creating a plan to achieve it.

You can do this activity by yourself, with members of your family or household, or with a friend.

Purpose

  • You will better understand the different areas of wellness in your life by reflecting on how you are feeling physically, mentally and emotionally, and socially.
  • You will write a wellness commitment that is meaningful to you.

Instructions

Complete the three steps below using paper, a journal, notebook or device to write your responses to the questions. You can also choose to draw images to express your thoughts.

Get inspired and design your own journal page: See these ideas and how-to's:

Step 1: Reflection

  • How am I feeling lately in my body, mind, feelings and relationships?
  • Why is it important to take care of my body, mind, and relationships? How might that benefit me?
  • What do I have around me to support me? For example:
    • Space for movement, meditation, or reflection
    • People that can help me
    • Schools or food banks to get free healthy meals

Step 2: My Wellness Wednesday Commitment

Now is the time to take action! Make a Wellness Wednesday commitment to yourself to feel healthy and strong. Pick one or more areas of wellness (physical, mental and emotional, or social) that is meaningful to you. What are you going to do next?

Write it down and post it somewhere you can see it daily as a reminder. Below are examples of commitment statements.

Physical (Body)

Mental (Mind)

  • My Wellness Wednesday commitment is to feel healthy and strong in my mind by writing 5 things to be grateful for each day.

Emotional (Feelings)

  • My Wellness Wednesday commitment is to feel healthy and strong emotionally by keeping a daily journal where I can express my feelings.

Social (Relationships)

  • My Wellness Wednesday commitment is to feel healthy and strong in my relationships by choosing one trusted adult whom I can talk to at least once per week.

Step 3: I Can Do It! Make a Plan

  • Why am I making this commitment to myself?
  • Who can support me?
  • What will success look like for me?
  • When and where will I dedicate time for my wellness commitment?

Step 4: Closure:

Share your plan with a family/household member, a friend, or other trusted person if you would like to.

Resources and Materials

Here are some links to help get your creative juices flowing.

  • For caregivers: Check out the Move This World Journal Prompts starting on page 24 of this Social Emotional Family Toolkit, along with other at-home tools and information.
  • For students in grades K-6: See Scholastic’s Social Emotional Learning Resources for reflection templates and other tools to use in difficult times.
  • For students ages 13-18: Check out Write the World for inspiration on developing a writing practice, including journaling
  • For everyone: See Meditation Moments for virtual reflection spaces from NYC Parks@Home
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