During the winter term, my fellow nutrition teachers and I presented the CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) program to 382 first graders in elementary schools throughout Douglas County. The CATCH concept is a very simple one. Foods and activities are categorized as GO (good) and WHOA (not an everyday choice).
GO Foods consist of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and proteins. WHOA Foods, on the other hand, are those that are high in sugar, fat and salt. Same goes for physical activities. Students learn that a GO Activity will make your heart beat faster, your breathing deeper and faster, your face get warm and/or rosy, and finally, you’ll start sweating. WHOA Activities — watching TV, playing video games, etc. — do not produce those same body cues.
One of the things that we also stress is keeping screen time to a minimum. Outside of school, it’s recommended that children not get more than two hours of screen time per day. Now this is a challenge in the best of times. In the COVID-19 era, it’s even more difficult.
Many children are online trying to keep up with schoolwork. Parents are right there beside them. This turns into countless hours in front of a screen. In order to keep your and your children’s sanity, check out the following sites for some fun activity breaks.
CATCH has set up a Google Classroom, found at www.catch.org/pages/health-at-home
- , to provide free and easy access to several of CATCH’s evidence-based health, nutrition and physical education materials. These activities require limited space and supervision, and are organized into three sections: Physical Activities, Activity Breaks and Family Health and Nutrition.
- Cosmic Kids Yoga offers interactive adventures which build strength, balance, and confidence. Designed for kids aged 3+, this program gets kids into yoga and mindfulness at an early age. Website:
OSU Hallie E. Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families Physical Education Toolkit Website, accessible at health.oregonstate.edu/hallie-ford/heal/policy/physical-education/toolkit
- , is actually directed at teachers, but there are some great tools for parents, as well. Go to the home page and click to “view resources.” This will take you to a page that has Shape America Mind and Body Calendars on it. These calendars encourage students to stay physically active while working on aspects of mental wellness, too. Thirty-one great activities for the month of May.
- BEPA 2.0 (Be Physically Active 2Day) Toolkit is an OSU Extension Service created evidence-based activity toolkit aligned to physical activity and healthy standards. Found at
- , these easy to deliver at home activities include thirteen fun videos and printable instructions to a number of exercises/activities.
First-graders also learned that they need 60 minutes of GO Activity per day and it doesn’t all have to be done at one time. Encouraging your children and allowing yourself to take several 10 minute breaks throughout the day to engage in some physical activity can totally change your outlook.
Remember, the best way to take care of your family is by taking care of yourself. So stay active while staying at home!