Shape Up Somerville with After School Enrichment Programs

With the number of hours spent in front of the television increasing and obesity a nationally battled issue for both kids and adults, it’s great to see cities across the U.S. making an effort to address both these issues with integrated initiatives. In the city of Somerville, Massachusetts, the program Shape Up is working to increase daily physical activity and healthy eating through a multi-tiered strategy.

Kids at a Vegetable Circus Somerville After School Enrichment Program

One of the initiatives of this program is to have after school programs with different curriculum. In Somerville, the Vegetable Circus is teaching the benefits of healthy eating to kids while keeping their bodies active through circus arts. Vegetable Circus programming is at four Somerville schools this year. Once a week at each school, Vegetable Circ-ticians spend 1-1 ½ hours with elementary school children.

Kids get the opportunity to learn circus skills like hooping, juggling, contact juggling, clowning, acrobatics, fundamentals of performance, poi and feather balancing at a basic level. At every session, kids are able to work on developing these physical skills while learning about how healthy food powers up their bodies. Nutrition education is interwoven through the sessions and fresh fruit donated by The Fruitguys is shared with kids each week.

The kids get excited about learning new skills and in some cases, the Vegetable Circus has introduced new foods to the kids that they’ve never eaten before, like oranges. Teaching healthy nutrition to kids in after school enrichment programs is a good way to increase their understanding while they’re having fun moving their bodies and learning new physical skills.

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