Summer vacation is no doubt a welcome break for students and teachers alike. But trends show that it’s not for young bodies, as children become less active, eat more poorly and can regress their reading skills by as much of two months. That’s why first lady Michelle Obama has set her sights on summer vacation as her next target for her Let’s Move initiative, a program which aims to improve the overall health and wellness of American children. Currently about one-third of U.S. children are obese or overweight, a trend that isn’t helped by slackened summer dietary habits.
In an effort to not only promote healthier, more active children, the first lady also wants them to read more, thus the announcement of the “Let’s Read. Let’s Move.” campaign. This targets mind and body.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan supported the program by saying “Research shows that academic achievement stalls and, for far too many disadvantaged children, actually worsens if they are not engaged in high-quality educational activities during the summer.”
To help kids avoid summer learning loss, the program wants kids to read at least five books during their summer vacation.
Additionally, the program encourages kids to get outdoors and stay active all summer long. Parents, youth organizations, educators and other community members are encouraged to “help our kids stay active and healthy – all summer long.” As part of the Obama’s commitment to service, an event this past Tuesday had Mrs. Obama and several congressional leaders packing healthy kits for kids that provided books, snacks and activity equipment to thousands of children.
You can pack such a kit for your own children, or create them to giveaway to those in need. Stock a backpack with some of the following:
- 100% juice boxes
- Dried, unsweetened fruits (raisins, cranberries, bananas, apricots, apples)
- Whole grain cheese crackers
- Jump Ropes
- Sports balls
- Swim Floatees
- Age-appropriate books and/or a library card