WinterKids Winter Games kicks off in schools Jan. 6

WESTBROOK — Students and staff at 32 elementary schools around the state will participate in WinterKids’ third annual WinterKids Winter Games beginning Monday, Jan. 6. This outdoor physical activity and nutrition 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 7,332 students and 1,113 teachers and staff from every county in Maine (two schools per county) will be participating in the Winter Games.
Each week of the program will feature specific challenges, and the percentage of students who complete the challenge will determine how many points each school receives. Students will be challenged each week to complete the following:
* Week 1 — Outdoor physical activity * Week 2 — Nutrition * Week 3 — Family engagement * Week 4 — Winter Carnival
This year’s theme throughout the month is STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math). The first year focused on Winter Olympics, and last year’s theme followed a literacy path. Past winners include Searsport Elementary School in Waldo County and Dayton Consolidated School in York County. Past winners include Searsport Elementary School in Waldo County and Dayton Consolidated School in York County.
Schools can earn bonus points by submitting a weekly wild card, including photos, videos, boomerangs and memes. The final tiebreaker for top schools is a snow sculpture likeness of their school principals.
Participating schools, by county, include:
Androscoggin — Fairview Elementary School, Auburn; Sabattus Primary School, Sabattus.
Cumberland — Harrison Elementary School, Harrison.
Franklin — Spruce Mountain Elementary, Jay; Rangeley Lakes Regional School, Rangeley.
Kennebec — Vassalboro Community School, Vassalboro; Helen A. Thompson School, West Gardiner.
Oxford — Andover Elementary School, Adover; Dirigo Elementary School, Peru.
Somerset — Madison Elementary School, Madison.
“The WinterKids Winter Games have exceeded any expectations we had at the start of the program. Teachers, students, parents and entire communities embrace this program with enthusiasm and a spirit of friendly competition that is unsurpassed and in my opinion a unique quality of our great state and its many counties and communities,” noted Julie Mulkern, WinterKids’ executive director.
WinterKids will kick off the Winter Games at the participating Waterboro Elementary School (a returning school from last year) Jan. 6. The opening ceremonies will begin at 2 p.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 Friday, Jan. 31, and winners will be announced Thursday, Feb. 6. In addition to the $5,000 grand prize, there is $3,000 for silver, and $1,500 for bronze, plus numerous equipment and field trip prizes for participating schools.
WinterKids has helped more than 100,000 Maine children to be active outdoors in the winter through unique programs statewide over the last two decades. In addition to in-school education, the WinterKids App provides Maine and New Hampshire families with affordable access to winter activities and events reach thousands of families annually. Learn more at www.winterkids.org.