AUGUSTA — Students and staff at 31 elementary schools around the state will participate in WinterKids’ second annual WinterKids Winter Games.
The physical and nutritional competition encourages young children to develop healthy habits over the course of the four-week program. Each school will try to earn as many points as possible for the grand prize: — $5,000 donated to their school. In total 7,635 students and 650 teachers and staff from every county in Maine will be participating in the Winter Games.
Each week of the program will feature one challenge, and the percentage of students who complete the challenge will determine how many points each school receives. Students will be challenged to complete five outdoor activities in week one, complete five healthy eating activities in week two, complete these activities at home with their families in week three, and participate in a winter carnival celebrating outdoor activity in week four. Schools will hold additional events to support these goals, like hosting opening and closing ceremonies, collaborating with nutritional organizations, and hosting events focusing on family health.
Schools can earn bonus points by exceeding the minimum activity requirements, inviting guest speakers to school, and including non-teaching staff in the competition.
WinterKids will also grant weekly “Wild Card” bonus points. Schools will submit their favorite moment of the Winter Games from that week (photo, video or text) to a panel of judges. Meteorologist Sarah Long will announce the top three “Wild Card” winners each Sunday morning during WMTW’s Maine’s Total Weather segment.
“The inaugural year of the WinterKids Winter Games exceeded our expectations tenfold. Teachers, students, parents and entire communities embraced this program with enthusiasm and a spirit of friendly competition that is unsurpassed,” sais Julie Mulkern, WinterKids’ executive director. “We are so excited to double the participation in the games this year and see what schools have in store to celebrate winter and stay active.”
WinterKids will be kicking off the Winter Games at the participating Canal School in Westbrook on Monday, Jan. 7. The opening ceremonies will begin at 9:45 a.m. The WinterKids staff and board of directors will attend along with local and state representatives, Maine mascots, sponsors and more. The Winter Games will close on Friday, Feb. 8, and winners will be announced Friday, Feb. 15. In addition to the $5,000 grand prize, there is a $3,000 silver prize and $1,500 for bronze.
WinterKids has helped more than 100,000 Maine children to be active outdoors in the winter through unique programs statewide.
n addition to in-school outreach, the new WinterKids App provides Maine and New Hampshire families with affordable access to winter activities. Visit www.winterkids.org for more information.