A project of the Afterschool Alliance

Health and Well-Being

The well-being of our young people is top of mind today. According to a Pew Research Center survey, 59% of parents are more worried about their child's well-being today than they were prior to the pandemic. However, they recognize that afterschool programs provide the holistic support that children need today. Use Lights On Afterschool to showcase the ways programs help instill healthy habits that support physical and mental well-being!

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. Many activities are appropriate for socially-distanced learning or remote application. A few of the activities we saw that take 30 min 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). Watch the webinar here!
  • 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. Not only 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 speed ball, 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
  • Use Lights On to embrace the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) Standards 2.0 from the National AfterSchool Association provides up-to-date, evidence-based, practical quality standards for providing children with healthy food, drinks, and physical activity in out-of-school time. The standards have been recently refreshed to be more user-friendly and practical, with revamped details and recommendations for offering the best of health and wellness programming to young people. Learn more about HEPA