WESTBROOK — Registration is open for Maine teachers and families to participate in the fourth annual WinterKids Winter Games, a four-week series of fun outdoor physical activity and nutrition challenges for kids. Free resources are available for Maine teachers in kindergarten to grade eight.

“WinterKids has always thought ‘outside of the building,’ and this year is no different. With teachers, parents and superintendents taking steps to allow kids to learn in safe, fresh air settings in the midst of the pandemic,  WinterKids is timelier than ever,” said Julie Mulkern, WinterKids executive director. “In Maine, we have an even greater opportunity to access outdoor spaces in schools and at home — with the abundance of land available to use statewide,” said Mulkern.

WinterKids’ Winter Games will allow for the participation of all kids, whether they are receiving in-person education or learning at home. Embracing outdoor learning helps to avoid the pitfalls of online learning and the negative effects of excessive screen time. WinterKids will provide resources for teachers and parents to get their kids outside and active.

Weekly challenges (outdoor physical activity, nutrition, family engagement and winter carnival) will align with themes of resilience, inclusion, community and service. Families will receive a playbook to use at home and weekly incentives and prizes. There is also a Move, Learn, Explore Facebook group for resource sharing, and downloadable activities on the organization’s website.

“We have adapted the games to be less competitive and more inclusive this year,” said Marion Doyle, WinterKids education director. “Our program accommodates students learning in school or learning remotely at home. It is easy for teachers, families and parents who are now part-time teachers to get their kids outside to move and learn.”

WinterKids expects 400 teachers and 8,000 students and families statewide to participate. Teachers can sign up at winterkids.org until Dec. 14.

WinterKids is a nonprofit organization that helps children develop healthy lifelong habits through education and fun, outdoor winter activity. The organization delivers innovative outdoor programs for families, schools, and communities. Learn more at winterkids.org.

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