FOODPLAY, a national touring Emmy Award-winning nutrition theater show, came to West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science on May 11, 2010. With its cast of colorful characters, fantastic feats of juggling, motivating messages, music, magic, and audience participation, FOODPLAY captivated children as they learned how to treat their bodies right with healthy eating and active lifestyles.
During the fun-filled performance, children followed the antics of Johnny Junkfood, whose dream is to become a juggling star, but keeps dropping the balls. The problem – his diet stinks! With the help of the “Coach” of the National Junior Juggling Team and the kids in the audience, Johnny learns how to juggle the foods he eats to wind up with a balanced diet.
As the FOODPLAY story unfolded, children learned how to see through TV commercials, decipher food labels, and make sense of today’s confusing fast food world. Kids witnessed the ten teaspoons of sugar found in a can of cola, and the effects of soda on a dinosaur’s tooth in the old “soak in the Coke routine.” For some cool beverage alternatives, and some even cooler juggling tricks, Coach and Johnny traded passes with an array of milk, water, and fruit juice juggling clubs.
Kids cheered Johnny on as the more he learned, the better juggler he became, successfully demonstrating how easy it is to take five — eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day, that is. Together with the audience, Johnny learned how to eat healthfully at home, school, and on the run, and discovered that you can choose foods that are good for your health and good for the planet too.
Students also learned the importance of fueling up with breakfast and being active every day. And, in the game show segment, “Pyramid Power,” contestants were invited on stage to show their nutrition smarts by building a balanced diet. Body image is also covered, as kids learned that every body is different, and different is a great thing.
Keepin’ the Messages Alive
To keep the learning alive all year long, WMAES received FOODPLAY’s comprehensive resource kit, which provides follow-up materials to everyone involved — teachers, parents, school food service, health staff, and students.Proven Results – It Works!
FOODPLAY receives rave reviews, top awards, and outstanding evaluations showing dramatic improvements in children’s eating and exercise habits. According to the USDA, after FOODPLAY, over 75% of children reported increasing their fruit and vegetable intake, cutting down on soda and other sweets, reading food labels more often, eating breakfast regularly, and enjoying more physical activity! And, schools report that FOODPLAY triggers community-wide excitement for healthy habits, helping get everyone from teachers to parents on board working together to create healthy schools.