If you liked the idea of my Glow Stick Party, I’m glad to hear it! I had a lot of fun putting that together and the kids had a blast! And to be honest, I was both surprised and thrilled that the school adopted the same celebration (in addition to encouraging healthy snacks for classroom treats) as a monthly option for the entire student body! 🙂
Here’s the video again if you missed it. I like to think that we Nailed the Food Free Party!
This sort of thing doesn’t happen overnight though, and seldom happens on its own, so if you want to see this sort of progress in your own district, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work! I’ve even got a great giveaway at the end to help you throw a great party, so keep reading!
Find Like-Minded People in your School Community
Start by checking to see if your school/district has a Health and Wellness Committee and join it. Here, you’ll find both parents and educators with similar goals in mind, even if their motivations are different.
I recently discovered that all districts are required to have a Wellness Policy and to implement it by summer 2017–though like everything mandated, I’m sure enthusiasm for it (and compliance with already-established policies) varies greatly. Click here to see what the minimum requirements are.
Our school’s committee is headed by the PE teacher, and that is one teacher who is likely to be on your side if you’re looking to reduce sugar (and consequently, allergens) in the classroom. So reach out to your PE teacher if there is no Wellness Committee to join, and see if the two of you can start one, or at least work together on improving health and wellness in your school.
Regardless of whether there’s a committee, find out what your school’s Wellness Policy is, and whether or not it is being implemented. Then work with the committee and/or PE teacher on creative ways to make it work. Try to ramp up enthusiasm for teaching kids to lead healthy lifestyles rather than grudgingly forcing compliance with district/state/national policies.
Lead by Example
People from all walks of life have a hard time adopting new policies–“The Way Things Have Always Been Done” is a powerful force, and if you tack the word “Tradition” on to them, old celebrations carry even more weight. We have a very hard time with cultural change. So it will probably be easier to show everyone how much fun a Food Free Celebration can be before they’ll get it. So come up with a rockin’ food free celebration of your own and offer to sponsor it for your child’s birthday or the next classroom party.
Get creative! Bring in themed crafts, host carnival games, get active with races or sports activities, do a spectacular science experiment, hold a dance contest, use my Glow Stick Party–whatever will make your child and their classmates squeal with excitement. Then throw the party and offer it as a fun way to include all students in healthy, fun celebrations!
Depending on the culture and attitudes at your school, adult attitudes towards your efforts will vary greatly. When countered with “tradition,” it may help to point out that things change all the time.
- Holiday celebrations are modified and even omitted to avoid offending or excluding kids of varying religious backgrounds.
- My kids come home glowing about all of the “100th Day of School” activities they do–that was never a “thing” when I was a kid, but my children love it!
- For the past two years, my kids have had Field Day as a team-building adventure in the fall–and it’s so ingrained as an “end of school year” activity that I had a hard time accepting it. But my kids love the activities and don’t care that it’s at a different time of year from when I celebrated it.
Point out to reluctant educators/parents the things that have changed in your community. Kids will love their own traditions, whatever they may be. Change can be good! So why not make inclusive choices for health and the sake of our children’s future?
To help you along, I’m expanding my relationship with Oriental Trading to include you!
Two lucky winners will win a $40 Shopping Spree from Oriental Trading to help you throw your own party! Use it for a birthday, Easter, an end-of-school-year bash, or any celebration where your allergic kids usually have a hard time with food. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination and OT’s extensive stock of party supplies!
Start here at their Toys Page and see what inspires you!
Or go straight to the Glow Page if you want a Glow Party like I did!
Two winners will receive $40 Shopping Sprees to Oriental Trading. Oriental Trading will also cover shipping (spend your $40 completely on products and they’ll arrive at your door, free!) The Shopping Spree does not include personalized items that include a picture (most text-only personalizations are okay). MindWare items are also not included. You will need to redeem your prize by May 31, 2017.
Enter using the Rafflecopter below! Just imagine how happy your kids will be when you host a school celebration that includes them 100%!!
Good luck! I can’t wait to hear what creative party ideas you come up with!
I received my glow products for free. Regardless, all opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC’s 16CFR, Part 255.