Do your kids go to Craig Elementary or Island Christian Academy – both in the small Southeast city of Craig?
These schools are among 20 new elementary schools in all corners of Alaska that have signed up for the spring Healthy Futures Challenge that starts this week. Other new schools that signed up for the free physical activity challenge are in Juneau (Auke Bay, Gastineau, Glacier Valley and Juneau Community Charter) and more remote communities like Thorne Bay, Port Alexander, Hollis and Naukati.
That brings the grand total to 195 elementary schools in 36 school districts that have signed up for the spring Challenge – more schools than have ever signed up for a previous Challenge period. (Healthy Futures and Play Every Day have a goal to sign up 200 elementary schools, so it’s not too late to sign up! Principals or teachers can sign up their schools by visiting the Healthy Futures website.)
Here’s how the challenge works:
In schools that signed up, participating kindergarten through sixth-grade students will hike, bike, jump, run, skate or ski their way to 60 minutes of activity a day. They can count their activity at recess, during gym class, and add in time before and after school and on weekends. If they hit the 60-minute mark at least 15 days of the month and log their activity on a simple form, they will win prizes for each month of the Challenge. The spring challenge runs February, March and April.
There are plenty of low-cost and no-cost physical activities around Alaska to help kids hit their 60-minute goal for the Challenge. Below are a few upcoming events in Anchorage and Palmer.
· The Stud Run – Sand Lake Elementary in Anchorage is hosting its first Stud Run at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 6. They’re calling it the “only lake-based winter wellness fun run” that follows a 1.75 mile lap around the frozen Sand Lake. The untimed run/walk, which is a fundraiser for the school, starts and ends near the dock behind Sand Lake Elementary.
· Nunataq Snowshoe Challenge – Come to the Government Peak Recreation Area in Palmer at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, for the snowshoe challenge. The event includes a free 1K race for kids ages 3-10, with no snowshoes required. “Just line up and have fun!” the website says. Participants also can pay to enter a 5K, 10K and a 50-yard dash.
· Ski 4 Kids – Sign up your children for the annual Ski 4 Kids Day on Saturday, March 5. Kids up to age 14 can participate in cross country ski races, obstacle courses and mock biathlons at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. There’s no participant fee for the event, but a recommended $20 donation. Proceeds go to the Anchorage Parks and Recreation’s Ski Outreach Program and a grant program that provides ski equipment to schools and youth groups.
There are many more physical activity events for families in the coming months. Visit the Healthy Futures calendar to find out what’s happening in your community.