World Health Day is an annual celebration of people all around the world. It falls on the 7th of April and promotes a healthy lifestyle as well as awareness about health and healthcare in general. Since health is the most fundamental aspect of every individual’s life, we came up with 9 different ways in which both teachers and parents can honor this holiday with their kids.
The inception of World Health Day was back in 1948 at the First Health Assembly, but the official observances began two years later, in 1950. The day is closely related to the mission and work of the World Health Organization as it spreads awareness about a specific theme each year, depending on the WHO’s priority area of concern. This year, the theme of World Health Day is “building a fairer, healthier world.” The motivation behind this theme is the fact that healthcare is not equally accessible to everyone – something that might change.
Along with many other World Health Day activities, it would be a great idea for kids to engage in volunteering and charity activities, as well as local campaigns for helping other kids, honoring this year’s theme. We made sure to include some ideas on how to organize such campaigns! Keep reading to find out more.
9 World Health Day Activities for Kids
Just as good health is important, spreading the message in a fun and engaging way among kids is also essential. Don’t let the topic of health be mundane and boring. Show exciting videos, do some science experiments, and participate in practical activities that teach kids how to take care of their mental and physical well-being. Here are several World Health Day activities from us, that not only honor this day, but will also help you teach long-term health goals.
Organize a Day of Different Physical Activities
Physical activity is an essential part of a healthy life. It has the power to improve overall health, boost the immune system, and reduce the risk of some of the most prevalent chronic and even live-treating diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. While kids are way too young to be thinking about these dangers, their current habits will translate into a specific lifestyle when they grow up. For these reasons, dedicating a whole day to exercise and physical activity once a year (even once a month) is a great way of showing kids that physical activity is important and fun.
During this day, make sure to include many different kinds of physical activities such as football, basketball, handball, rope jumping, running, jogging, swimming, yoga, etc. This is going to show kids that if they don’t like one type of activity, it doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy another type of physical activity. There are many different ways of being active and the message you should teach kids is that they should experiment and try different things until they find something they like.
Promote Healthy Eating Habits
The second crucial aspect of physical health (not counting genetics), is proper nutrition. With fast-food chains being more and more accessible and appealing to kids, learning the value of nutritionally dense food and their body’s requirements should be introduced from a very young age.
Maybe one of the biggest drawbacks of a traditional educational system is that it doesn’t include nutrition as a separate subject just like math, science, history, and others. But, both homeschooling parents and teachers can change this by introducing more units that focus on this topic. This will also help reduce the pandemic of eating disorders among teenagers.
Our team at KidsKonnect understands this, which is why we have a continuously growing collection of Health Facts and Worksheet bundles. With our worksheets, you can teach kids about the human body, specifically the digestive system, and how it maintains us alive and healthy. Then, you can teach them about the nutritive value of different foods, what nutrition is, how it works, and why we have concepts such as the food pyramid.
Engage in Meditation for Mental Health
The distinction between physical and mental health is purely scientific, which might be misleading. We often talk about physical and mental health as if they’re two separate things, which is not true. The mental and physical simply tell us about the different things that can affect our health in general. Just as spoiled food can make us sick, interaction with other people can also make us sick and affect our health. It’s really important for kids to understand that, so they don’t grow up neglecting their mental health as if it’s not a priority.
But, the evidence that our mental health significantly affects the quality of life and even deteriorates our physical health is clearer than ever.
A great way for kids to be comfortable talking about mental health and more importantly, fostering mental health habits, is by participating in group activities with their classmates. Two examples of such activities are virtual guided meditation and kindness cards, both of which we’ll describe below.
Virtual Guided Meditation
The pandemic has forced us to adapt to a new way of communicating. While this can be very limited, many different activities can be successfully adjusted to fit the medium, including meditation.
If you have the conditions to organize a meditation in the classroom, then go for it! But, for all the others who teach virtually, a guided meditation is still a good option for promoting mental health.
First, talk to kids about meditation in general and familiarize them with the practice. Tell them what’s the goal and give them some tips. Don’t force them to participate if they don’t want to. Also, make the whole experience informal and not too serious. Simply, ask them to be in a quiet room, to turn on their speakers, sit in a comfortable position, and focus on the voice. There’s no right or wrong way of doing meditation and the benefits usually come only after continuous practice, which means the goal is to give kids another tool for improving mental health.
Here are 3 examples of guided meditations on YouTube, which you can use.
Check out our article on how to celebrate Mental Health Day where we discuss different activities in more detail.
Play Kindness Cards
Another World Health Day activity that aids emotional well-being is something called kindness cards, a group activity that spreads kindness and puts everyone in a good mood. How to organize it?
Simply, assign each student a classmate, explaining they have to write something good about them. Keep in mind that nobody has to know who’s writing about them – the idea is for this to be anonymous. Also, it’s best if you give limitations on how short or long the text has to be to make sure everyone is equally included. Then, collect the writings and read them aloud in front of the class. Everyone will hear something good about themselves and feel good.
Practice Yoga for Mental and Physical Health
Continuing our streak of World Health Day activities that aid mental health, we recommend doing yoga with kids as a way to be both physically active and mindful. Yoga will help kids improve their motor skills, balance, strength, as well as boost their self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and promote body-mind awareness.
To make sure you safely introduce kids to yoga, you can read the following two books or follow our YouTube suggestions:
- Yoga for Children: 200+ Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises, and Meditations for Healthier, Happier, More Resilient Children by Lisa Flynn
- Yoga For Kids: Simple First Steps in Yoga and Mindfulness by Susannah Hoffman
- YT Video: Yoga for Kids! with Sophia Khan
- YT Video: Yoga For Kids with Alissa Kepas
- YT Video: Yoga for Kids (So Fun!) with Fightmaster Yoga
Teach Kids About the Importance of Personal Hygiene
If there’s anything that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught is the fundamental importance of personal hygiene. Kids need to learn why it’s imperative to wash their hands before eating, right after coming home, after using the bathroom, and so on.
However, keep in mind that learning rules without understanding the logic behind those rules is the recipe for disobedience, which is why we recommend teaching kids about the importance of personal hygiene through lectures on topics such as bacteria, viruses, skin absorption, science experiments that show how many bacteria are on our hands, mobile phones, etc. These are some of the things that can really help kids be more aware of their personal hygiene.
Create a World Health Day Campaign
Finally, the last activity on our list for World Health Day activities is helping students create a health awareness campaign through which they can contribute to the efforts of the World Health Organization. There can be many different campaigns on different health aspects. Here are a few examples:
- Gathering signatures for improving the hygiene conditions in the school.
- Creating infographics on how we can protect ourselves from COVID-19. Our worksheet pack on COVID might be a good resource for this.
- Advocating for more physical activity classes and more resources for equipment for different sports.
- Advocating for healthier food service inside the school.
Encourage Volunteering and Charity Campaigns
Since this year the WHO’s theme is “building a fairer, healthier world,” encouraging kids to volunteer or do a charity campaign is a great way to honor World Health Day. Together the whole class can organize and volunteer in different facilities that take care of people in need. Alternatively, the students can start a campaign asking for donations for charity organizations in the health field. Nurses and other medical staff working with Covid patients would surely appreciate any kind of help – ask what they need most then do a specific campaign that aims to gather the necessary resources.
Before You Leave
Celebrating World Health Day by spreading awareness about the importance of health among kids is one of the most important responsibilities of teachers and parents. Therefore, engaging kids in World Health Day activities should be more than just one day in the year. Hopefully, our article gave you ideas that you can turn into weekly or monthly traditions. For more inspiration, check out our article “Celebrate National Child Health Day With These 4 Activities” where we discuss everyday classroom activities that promote healthy habits.
Beyond that, feel free to follow the links we’ve provided in this article and teach kids about many different aspects of health with our interactive worksheets. Alternatively, you can always visit our main website and browse through our growing collection of worksheets and other teaching resources to find something that better fits your lecture’s topic.
Finally, don’t forget to visit our blog and subscribe to our newsletter as we regularly share new insightful and resourceful articles, such as this one.
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