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Healthy Turkey Challenge

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Here’s a Thanksgiving activity for you enjoyment.  
Submitted by Gene Garritt from Barnegat, New Jersey.  K-5



Background: Because of the Thanksgiving Holiday, we wanted to give the children an activity that was related to this holiday and to discuss the relationship between healthy eating, physical activity and weight management. During this activity, the students are provided with a variety of locomotor, fitness exercises, and other individual challenges.


Equipment and Set-Up: We made 100 silhouettes of turkeys on the school’s die-cutting machine and glued them on 6-inch paper plates. You can also use large note cards if you do not have this machine at your school. On each turkey silhouette, I wrote directions for the challenges based on the available equipment, the number of students and space. For our Healthy Turkey Challenge, we used foam balls, carpet squares, basketballs, monster feet and punch balloons. Here are a few examples of our challenges:

- Use the carpet squares to skate across the gym
- Shoot two baskets in a row
- Volley a balloon with your head 10 times
- Use the monster feet to soccer dribble a foam ball
- Skip three laps;
- Sit down on a carpet square and spin around three times

The challenges can be as simple or as complex as you wish. We tried to make the challenges fairly simple so that each student could finish in under a minute.

How We Do It: Divide the cards into four piles and place them on a table or another suitable piece of equipment that keeps the plates off the floor and accessible to students.

The students are directed to select a card from the top of a pile, read it, ask questions if necessary, and return it to the bottom of the pile before trying the challenge. If they cannot complete the challenge after three tries they are allowed to select a different challenge card. If the student completes the challenge, he or she comes to the teacher and states:

“I am a healthy turkey because I just skipped a lap (or made two baskets, or whenever the challenge).”

At this point the student receives receive a poker chip, popsicle stick, or some other token for each healthy turkey challenge he or she completes. The student places the token in his pocket. Students can perform challenges individually or with other classmates. At the end of class all the students count their tokens to see who is the “healthiest turkey.”

Teacher Tips: Prior to playing, we discuss which foods are healthy and which foods are “sometime” or “special occasion” foods. I usually take a few minutes to remind the students to be thankful for friends, family, and their good health.

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