JANUARY 27, 2023 — When you’re a kid, every semester is a fresh start. Your report card starts over. Your backpack is cleaned out and ready for class. And if you’re in elementary school, a new Healthy Futures Challenge is about to begin and get kids moving.
The spring Healthy Futures Challenge begins Feb. 1, 2023, in 89 Alaska elementary schools across more than 20 school districts, said Kayla Williamson, challenge coordinator. The free challenge is all about making physical activity a fun healthy habit every day. Kids who participate aim for the daily recommendation of 60 minutes of physical activity — or play every day. They log that activity and win prizes when they're active at least 60 minutes a day for 15 days each month of the challenge.
Alaska’s Play Every Day campaign has been a longtime partner of the nonprofit Healthy Futures program because its ongoing challenge gives thousands of Alaska kids a free, fun way to get out and play. Alaska’s new Fresh Start campaign is also promoting the Healthy Futures Challenge as one if its free programs for better health. The challenge is designed for elementary school kids, but parents, grandparents, and siblings can join in and be active as a family. Kids can log active time in gym class and at recess. They can also count time going for walks with their grandparents, sledding with dad, or going skiing with mom.
Elementary schools in big communities like Anchorage and Juneau participate in the challenge, but so do schools in smaller ones like Diomede, Shageluk and Utqiagvik. It doesn’t matter where kids live, because they’re active wherever, however and whenever they want to move during the Healthy Futures Challenge.
Kids play outside at Fred Ipalook Elementary School in Utqiagvik, Alaska. Fred Ipalook Elementary is one of 89 schools signed up to join the free Healthy Futures Challenge this spring.
Find out if your child's school is signed up for the free challenge. If so, join your child in being active. If not, talk to your principal or teachers about signing up the school for this spring’s challenge. It’s not too late to join in February, March or April this year.
Healthy Futures is planning one more fun event in February. Its annual PLAAY Day will be held Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. From 12-12:30 p.m. that day, Alaska kids and families are encouraged to join a live broadcast and get moving with others across the state. They’ll do a mix of physical activities that include low-impact, advanced and adaptive movements. Alaska kids and families can join this event anywhere — in schools, at home or elsewhere. Find out more and register to join at https://plaay.org/plaay-day/.