Professional Development

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Get a Jump on Summer Program Planning: 6 Ideas to Try!

Friday, 16 May 2014 04:15

Summer is a great time to educate kids about healthy lifestyles, role model the behaviors ourselves, and cultivate environments that make it easier for kids to make healthier choices. An engaging summer is also essential! To get the most out of your summer program this year, try these tips from the professionals of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and keep your kids healthy and learning.


  • According to the National Summer Learning Association, all young people experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer. Research spanning one hundred years shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer.

  • Children lose more than academic knowledge over the summer: Most children—particularly children at high risk of obesity—gain weight more rapidly when they are out of school during summer break.

  • Parents consistently cite summer as the most difficult time to ensure that their children have productive things to do.

Here are six tips from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to help you get a jump on summer!

1. Use the Healthy Out-of-School Time Framework and identify opportunities to create a healthy summer. Gather a couple coworkers and try out the online inventory.

2. Host a Youth Forum and invite family and community members; let youth voice and youth leadership build your momentum.

3. Serve summer meals. Learn how to transition from afterschool meals to summer meals with help from FRAC and the No Kid Hungry Center for Best Practices.

4. Start planning a community garden.

5. Explore new outdoor activities. What about a nature scavenger hunt? Search the Resource Database for “outdoor activities.”

6. Stay hydrated with water! Explore lessons on healthy beverages from Food and Fun.

For more healthy ideas for your program, try: Simple Ideas for Making Your Out-of-School Program Healthier.

These tips and ideas are brought to you by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation professionals:
Daniel W. Hatcher, National Healthy Out-of-School Time Advisor (
Jill R. Turley, MS, RD/LD, SNS, National Nutrition Advisor
Michelle Owens, National Student & Employee Wellness Advisor (
Jessica Hay, Manager, Sacramento County (

Image courtesy of chrisroll/FreeDigital

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