WESTBROOK — On Monday, Jan. 6, students and staff at 32 elementary schools around the state will participate in WinterKids’ third annual WinterKids Winter Games. This outdoor physical activity and nutrition competition encourages young children to develop healthy habits over the course of the four-week program. Each school will try to earn as many points as possible for the grand prize: $5,000 donated to their school. In total 7,332 students and 1,113 teachers and staff from every county in Maine (two schools per county) will be participating in the Winter Games.
Each week of the program will feature specific challenges, and the percentage of students who complete the challenge will determine how many points each school receives. Students will be challenged each week to complete the following: Week 1 Outdoor Physical Activity; Week 2 Nutrition; Week 3 Family Engagement; and, Week 4 Winter Carnival. This year’s theme throughout the month is STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math). Year 2 was Literacy and Year 1 was Winter Olympics. Past winners include Searsport Elementary School in Waldo County and Dayton Consolidated School in York County.
Schools can earn bonus points by submitting a weekly wild card including photos, videos, boomerangs, and memes. The final tiebreaker for top schools is a snow sculpture likeness of their school principals.
“The WinterKids Winter Games have exceeded any expectations we had at the start of the program. Teachers, students, parents and entire communities embrace this program with enthusiasm and a spirit of friendly competition that is unsurpassed and in my opinion a unique quality of our great state and its many counties and communities,” says Julie Mulkern, WinterKids executive director.
WinterKids will be kicking off the Winter Games at the participating Waterboro Elementary School (a returning school from last year) in Waterboro on Jan. 6. The opening ceremonies will begin at 2 p.m. The WinterKids staff and board of directors will attend along with local and state representatives, Maine mascots, sponsors and more. The Winter Games will close on Jan. 31 and winners will be announced on Feb. 6. In addition to the $5,000 grand prize, there is $3,000 for silver and $1,500 for bronze, plus numerous equipment and field trip prizes for participating schools.
WinterKids has helped over 100,000 Maine children to be active outdoors in the winter through unique programs statewide over the last 2 decades. In addition to in-school education, the WinterKids App provides Maine and New Hampshire families with affordable access to winter activities and events reach thousands of families annually. WinterKids major community sponsor is Hannaford. WinterKids Supporting Sponsors are Agren, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Irving Oil, L.L.Bean, Portland Glass, WEX, and WMTW Channel 8 and Maine’s The CW. WinterKids was the 2018 beneficiary of the TD Beach to Beacon Road Race and a 2019 beneficiary of the Maine Marathon. Additional support for the WinterKids Winter Games is provided by The Bingham Program, TD Bank, Subway of Maine, Sam L. Cohen Foundation, The Horizon Foundation, Emera Maine, MMG Insurance, Let’s Go!, Backyard Farms, Johnny’s Seeds, Garmin, Flexible Flyer, University of New England, and the Ski Maine Association. Learn more at winterkids.org.