Wellness Wednesday NYC Activity

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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