A project of the Afterschool Alliance

Health and Well-Being

The well-being of our young people is top of mind today. Recent studies describe the rise in young people across the country experiencing anxiety, depression, anger, fear, loneliness, stress, hostility, and aggression. Use Lights On Afterschool to showcase how programs support physical and mental well-being or turn your event into a well-being moment!

Afterschool, before-school, and summer learning programs have an important role in supporting both physical and mental health. Your Lights On Afterschool event can raise awareness about the importance of providing programs where kids learn healthful habits for life.

Take Time for Well-Being

  • Host a mindfulness or meditation exercise for students, parents, and/or staff.
  • The Georgia Afterschool Network's Behavioral Health Toolkit provides resources to support students' mental and behavioral health. This guide provides a deeper understanding of various challenges affecting youth today, including bullying and self-harm, as well as ways to identify and help youth cope with these issues. Check out the "Brain Break Activities" feature for ideas to help you focus on mental well-being during Lights On Afterschool
  • Show why afterschool programs keep kids safe. Talk to program participants about substance misuse and prevention. Combine your Lights On Afterschool event with Red Ribbon Week, focusing on education and advocacy around substance use.
  • Find an activity that’s right for you on the Mizzen by Mott app for afterschool. Designed for afterschool educators with support from the Mott Foundation, this free app allows you to search activities by topic, age group, or duration of the activity. Here are a few of the activities we saw that take 30 minutes or less:
    • Group meditation, Tricky Conversations, 20 Questions, Yoga for Worry and Anxiety, Mindful Breath
  • Listen to Committee for Children's podcast, The Imagine Neighborhood, and use their facilitation questions to have a discussion with youth or do some of the activities that they've developed to accompany the podcast.
  • Find inspiration from this WINGS for KIDS webinar that shows tips and techniques to involve young learners in activities that focus on well-being. (Best for students in grades K-5). 
  • Alliance for a Healthier Generation offers activity ideas, webinars, and toolkits to help promote health and well-being in students. 
    • Encourage your students to create vision boards or check out their Self-Care Toolkit

Get Moving and Healthy

  • Host a dance party or issue a physical activity challenge, logging a certain amount of physical activity over the course of the week.
  • Focus on nutrition. Teach students about healthy eating habits by preparing nutritious snacks.
  • BOKS offers a free physical activity program for students of all ages and abilities to get them moving for up to 45 minutes a day. Featuring games, lesson plans, training, and support, this program provides everything you’ll need to design fun physical learning opportunities for your students. Aside from focusing on physical health, BOKS also promotes mindfulness and youth leadership.
  • Calling all gamers: National Afterschool Association's Guide for Creating Outstanding Games has a ton of fun and creative ways to get students moving. Use the guide to organize an indoor snowball fight, silent speedball, or dance games. With customizable activities for all skill levels, games featured include supply lists, instructions on how to play, general rules, and even variations to account for age groups and levels of difficulty. 
  • Alliance for a Healthier Generation offers activity ideas, webinars, and toolkits to help promote health and well-being in students. 
    • Watch their webinar on "Hosting a Healthy Family Cooking Event at Your School" for a fun Lights On event idea, or get outdoors and play Nature-Based BINGO