It’s no secret that some of the brightest ideas come straight from the minds of kids. Take this year’s back-to-school season, for example, when they took charge of Target’s first kid-created marketing campaign—directing, designing, composing and starring in a series of TV spots and other materials that appeared throughout the season.
To further celebrate their talent and potential, Target asked kids to tell us their ideas (big or small) for helping students across the country live healthier, more active lives. Target pledged to fund up to $5 million to help bring some of their ideas to life. In August and September—through a partnership with DonorsChoose.org, a non-profit dedicated to engaging the public to fund school projects—we collected submissions from K-12 public school kids and teachers throughout the country. As part of our commitment to wellness, we were looking for ideas that focused on promoting healthy eating or increasing physical activity.
And the kids really delivered! So many great ideas, in fact, that Target ended up funding a total of 7,621 projects—supporting more than 760,000 students and nearly 4,000 teachers at 2,400+ schools, many of which are high-need. The donation was the largest wellness-education related investment in DonorsChoose.org’s 15-year history.
Read on to see just a few of the great ideas we’ve funded, and check out the full list here.
Smoothies for Snack Time
Submitted by Mrs. J.’s Kindergarten class, Hallettsville, Texas
“My kindergarteners look forward to their afternoon snack to make it through the day, but they mostly crave unhealthy, sugary snacks. We all know that sugary snacks only keep us going for a little while and then we crash. So the students and I decided having smoothies would be the perfect solution.” Mrs. J.’s class didn't have a way to make the nutritious snacks, so they requested funds for a quality blender and smoothie cookbook for their classroom. Now, the students are learning about nutrition and healthy eating as they select smoothies from the cookbook, then help make them together for the class’s daily snack.
Hokki Stools Make Sitting Fun
Submitted by Mrs. Cartier’s Kindergarten class, Chateaugay, N.Y.
After a new student was having trouble sitting and listening in class, Mrs. Cartier was touched when his classmate suggested getting him a Hokki stool she saw on TV, which promotes movement while sitting. “I was touched by her empathy and understanding of her peer’s needs. So I found one of the stools—and the change was remarkable! A lot of excess energy was being channeled, which allowed the student to stay focused.” The other students love the stool too, so they requested six more for their classroom. Today, the new seating option is keeping the class focused and active throughout the whole day.
From School Garden to Table
Submitted by Ms. Porter’s 7th grade science class, Nashville, Tenn.
“Living in a food desert, my students often complained about the lack of fresh produce available at their local grocery stores. We learn about flower reproduction and photosynthesis each year in class and saw an opportunity to put science into work.” The class requested supplies to create a vegetable garden at their school, which they’ll actively tend throughout the year. Once harvested, they’ll work together to plan how to distribute the food they grow—through marketing and donations—in their community.
Sports Equipment for ‘Pro Day’
Submitted by Mr. Takeda’s 3rd grade class, Waianae, Hawaii
Many of Mr. Takeda’s students dream of playing professional sports—but after one student declined to join in a game of soccer because his family didn’t have sports equipment at home and he didn’t know how to play, his classmates took action. “What if we had a ‘Pro Day,’ and we brought in athletic equipment and had our whole class go through each sport? We’d learn to stretch, run and jump; throw a football, shoot a basketball, kick a soccer ball and spike a volleyball.” After requesting the needed equipment, the class regularly sets up stations and gets active together, along with ongoing discussion about physical fitness and even the scientific applications of sports.
Keep On Pedaling!
Submitted by Ms. Horn and her 10th grade students, Minneapolis
Ms. Horn’s chemistry students come to class ready to learn and wanting to do well. “They try to make good choices about food and our environment, but often, they don’t get to move around as much as they’d like while doing projects and research. Under-the-desk peddles would allow them to do both at the same time.” After adding 10 of the exercise machines in her classroom, students are now having fun exercising as they study—and even getting a little energy out after class.
How Many Steps?
Submitted by Mrs. Mennonno’s 2nd grade class, Plainfield, Ind.
Fascinated with their teacher’s Fitbit—and the story of her recent weight loss and journey to get more healthy—Mrs. Mennonno’s class wanted to try tracking their physical activity and eating healthier for themselves. They calculated out the cost of some new Fitbits for the class to share, along with other equipment. Now, they’re keeping a step chart (getting their math in too) and tracking their average steps each day. “The students are always wanting to beat their steps from yesterday, so they’re easily getting over 10,000 steps in just in seven hours!”
Target’s support for this program is just one example of our ongoing commitment to giving 5 percent of our profit back to communities—today, that adds up to more than $4 million a week. Learn more about how Target supports communities all year long.
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