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It’s Not Over Yet! Keep Your Summer Powered Up.

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By Jeannette Duffy, Galewill Design (on behalf of the Network for a Healthy California)

Power Up Your Summer With Children’s Power Play! Campaign. Summer meal programs are great ways to make sure children eat healthy when school is out. As the summer goes on, though, the number of children taking advantage of these meals can decrease. One way to encourage children and parents to continue participation into the dog days of August is to offer, not just meals but, physical activity for children in a safe and fun environment. Children’s Power Play! Campaign from the Network for a Healthy California can provide engaging materials and support to seamlessly incorporate physical activity into your program.

Children gain weight twice as fast during the summer as they do during the school year, but Power Up Your Summer from the Children’s Power Play! Campaign encourages children and their families to get 60 minutes of active PLAY! each day, and to actively monitor their progress towards this goal.

The Children’s Power Play! Campaign’s Idea and Resource Kit is a free kit that includes educational activities and games focused on fruits and vegetables and physical activity. With an easy-to-follow format, any leader—whether a trained educator or a volunteer—can quickly become familiar with the program and its activities. Your children can look forward to activities like The Great Garden Face-Off, where students on a fruit team and a vegetable team race for their garden “home base” whenever fresh produce that fits their category is called. Or Flying Fruits and Veggies!, where students throw flying discs into hoops to earn enough points to meet their fruit and vegetable goal for the day.

In San Diego, the Power Play! Campaign has partnered with San Diego Unified School District Food Services and San Diego City Parks and Recreation to bring nutrition education to over 500 children at 14 summer meal sites. Through an annual Power Up Your Summer promotion, these sites provide summer programs to help kids learn about the importance of eating healthy and being active. In addition to getting nutritious meals, kids also track how active they are in their PLAY! Tracker. A highlight of Power Up Your Summer is the Summer Fun Cafe, a time to celebrate all of the ways kids play with a fun and active BBQ event.

The Network’s Children’s Power Play! Campaign motivates and empowers children to eat three to five cups of fruits and vegetables and get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Children’s Power Play! Campaign is led by the California Department of Public Health to improve children’s health now and reduce their long-term risk of serious health problems, especially obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and some types of cancer. The campaign is funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—known as CalFresh in California—for low-income families.

There are 11 Regional Networks to provide materials, training and technical assistance. Your Regional Network can also help you get started and provide support in implementing Power Play! Contact your Regional Network to learn more. Or, take a look at all of the resources that Children’s Power Play! Campaign can offer your summer meal program or year-round nutrition education program.

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