Let's Move! Museums & Gardens is a component of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative to raise a healthier generation of kids. Through exhibits, programs, and healthy food service, museums and gardens in all 50 states are taking action to provide fun opportunities for fitness and learning. Visits to museums and gardens are high-impact learning opportunities with the power to make a difference in children's lives and their futures. Click here for a list of participating institutions.
In honor of
National Nutrition Month
the spring issue of the Let's Move! Museums & Gardens newsletter is focused on what museums and gardens can do to support the health and nutrition of your communities. Find out how to get involved with the Summer Meal Programs; encourage your young visitors to submit their best recipes to the fifth-annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge; get resources on the new dietary guidelines released earlier this year with MyPlate; and read success stories of museums and gardens. We hope you will take these ideas and use them in your museums. And when you do, remember to
share your success stories
with us so your museum's good work supporting Let's Move! Museums & Gardens can be highlighted, too.
National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. This is a good reminder that even as your museums and gardens deliver messages about nutrition and exercise throughout the year through programs and exhibits, there are
available to assist you.
Summer Meal Programs in Museums and Libraries
For too many children, summer is a time of nutritional uncertainty, lost physical activity and academic atrophy. When schools are closed and school meals are suddenly unavailable, kids fall behind in reading and math, lose space to play, fall out of touch with friends and teachers, and fall into eating habits that can lead to both obesity and malnutrition.
Museums and libraries bring children together in a safe place and provide programming for kids to engage in during the summer. In addition to programs, many libraries serve meals to children in their community through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). We're hoping museums will get more involved in the Summer Food Service Program either as a site or by providing programming to Summer Meal sites.
- SFSP is a federal nutrition program that provides free meals and snacks to low-income children 18 years and younger when school is not in session. The program can be operated by local government, school districts and nonprofits that are eligible to participate. An organization that participates as a sponsor in SFSP receives a federal reimbursement for meals served to children that meet U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrition guidelines.
- Sponsors can operate one or multiple Summer Meal sites in any qualifying location where children congregate when school is not in session.
- You can also operate SFSP as a site under an existing sponsor. Sites hand out meals to children and keep an accurate count of meals served. Sponsors work with sites to organize meals and attend to the administrative requirements of the programs.
- A site qualifies as either an open or enrolled site. An open site is located in a low-income area where 50 percent or more of the children are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. The site is then open to all children in the community. An enrolled site only provides meals to children enrolled in the program. An enrolled site qualifies if it is located in a low-income area or if at least half of the children enrolled in the program are eligible for free and reduced price school meals.
Participate in a Webinar about Summer Meal Programs for Museums and Libraries:
Join a webinar on April 13th at 2:00 PM Eastern Time to learn more about how your library or museum can get involved in the Summer Meals Program. Hear from museums and libraries about how they've participated with the Summer Meal Programs; get your questions answered and share ideas for ways to participate.
Become a site:
state SFSP agency
and ask if there is a sponsor in your area that will serve additional sites.
Become a sponsor:
to receive information about the training and the application here:
First Lady Michelle Obama recently announced the launch of the fifth-annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. The challenge invites kids ages 8-12, in collaboration with a parent or guardian, to create an original recipe that is healthy, affordable, and delicious. One winner from each U.S. state, territory, and the District of Columbia will win the opportunity to be flown to Washington, DC to attend the 2016 Kids' "State Dinner" at the White House.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services recently announced the finalists for the 2016 National Medal fo
r Museum and Library Service. The National Medal is the nation's highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to their communities. For 22 years, the award has celebrated institutions that demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service and are making a difference for individuals, families, and communities.
The National Medal winners will be named next month, and representatives from winning institutions will travel to Washington, D.C., to be honored in a White House ceremony. Learn more about the 2016 National Medal finalists and see the full list of museum finalists.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion recently launched MyPlate, MyWins. MyPlate, MyWins offers healthy eating solutions for everyday life. This initiative inspires Americans to make and celebrate small, practical changes or "wins" that add up to a healthy lifestyle over time.
If your museum has food service or programming about nutrition, consider incorporating the following messages for visitors:
- Small changes or "wins" make a difference in healthy eating
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
- Focus on whole fruits
- Vary your veggies
- Make half your grains whole grains
- Vary your protein routine
- Move to low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt
- Drink and eat less sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars
for resources including tips from MyPlate nutritionists, daily food plan checklists for kids and adults, and the
interactive food and activity tracking tool.
By Loretta Yajima
|Children gardening in the Children's Discovery Garden
The Hawaii Children's Discovery Center joined
Let's Move! Museums and Gardens (LMMG)
, along with museums across the country, to develop programs that promote healthy lifestyles, eating right, staying active and preventing childhood obesity. To support the goals of LMMG, the museum introduced the Children's Discovery Garden. Goals for the project included:
- Instill in children a strong sense of environmental stewardship
- Connect children with nature and the outdoors as a vital part of their healthy development and well-being
- Provide children with direct experience with nature through active play
- Give children the opportunity to grow food, maintain a garden and eat what they grow
- Encourage families to appreciate and enjoy active outdoor activities and learning through exploration
The educational programs have been greatly enhanced with the addition of our outdoor gardening space, which provides our children with a place where exciting and engaging discoveries and learning takes place each and every day. The children can be seen happily playing outdoors, becoming intimately acquainted with nature, and making new discoveries. The museum has developed a series of gardening projects for children of different ages.
By Eric Jackson
Last year over 1,000 urban youth from Kansas City participated in the Good to Grow garden--a program that blends key plant science standards into an active, learner-centric, hands-on experience about making healthy choices concerning food and physical activity. In response to growing concerns about the health of our youth, staff developed the garden program. Students in grades three through five learn about photosynthesis and pollination, weed and seed the Fun Foods Farm, and learn about the benefits of green exercise while walking the Heartland Harvest Garden. At the end of the program, they reap the benefits from the garden by helping to create a healthy garden snack. The program is tied to Missouri State Science and Health Education Grade Level Expectations. For more information about the program, visit
Students enjoying a sprig of fresh chives. Photo by Connie Harclerode
Animals Eat Smart
By Deborah Staber
The L.C. Bates Museum's mission is to inspire wonder about our natural and cultural worlds. Children and families participate in active, healthy programs while learning about Maine's natural environment. From winter Track Tromps to summer Lady Bug Hikes, museum programs encourage healthy living. The Let's Move! Museums & Gardens project has helped focus the museum's programs on healthy living.
|A pond walk at the L.C. Bates Museum
The L.C. Bates Museum's "Animals Eat Smart" programs engage children in observing and learning about the food chains of animals in the wild. Many of the museum's indoor/outdoor programs focus on the local biomes and their diverse animal life. For example, to inspire healthy activity and fun learning, the L.C. Bates Museum conducts trips to the pond with nets in hand for over 3,500 rural school children each year. This program includes a vigorous hike and first-hand explorations of wetland plants and animals. After observing the pond animals, children participate in a charade game that promotes movement and play as they imitate the activities and food chains of pond life. These pond investigations get kids moving and understanding healthy pond food webs and how the pond "Animals Eat Smart." The children often choose to discuss and compare the diets of the birds eating at the local fast food dumpster compared with those living and eating in a healthy pond habitat. This leads to the children evaluating how they also can eat smart like the pond animals.
Submit a Success Story
Let's Move! Museums & Gardens partners
Let's Move! Museums & Gardens
is led by the Institute of Museum and Library Services in partnership with the American Alliance of Museums, the Association of Children's Museums, the American Public Gardens Association, the American Association for State and Local History, the Association of African American Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Association of Nature Center Administrators, the Association of Science-Technology Centers, and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.