Healthy Heart Programme for Early Childhood Education: Tohu Manawa Ora – Kōhungahunga

Healthy Heart Award Parent Letter 2016

Healthy Heart Award – new tips & activities to do with children


Healthy Heart Hot Tip #32 - A healthy breakfast gives everyone a great start to the day.  Try toast, porridge and/or a fruit smoothie.

Healthy Heart Activity #27 - Design a set of placemats to use at the table.  Help your child to cut out pictures of their favourite healthy foods from magazines to decorate them.  These can then be laminated to make them sturdier.


Healthy Heart Hot Tip #36 - Hold birthday parties at the pool or park so everyone can get active together.

Healthy Heart Activity #24 - Make a shopping list together and visit the supermarket.  Talk about where different foods come from.  Ask your child to find items on the list.


Healthy Heart Hot Tip #28 - Wholegrain and multigrain breads have more fibre and nutrients than white varieties, and will keep you fuller for longer.

Healthy Heart Activity #19 - With the colder weather upon us it can be a good time to do some baking together.  The experience of baking presents opportunities for your child to weigh the ingredients, measure, pour and stir.  And of course ‘tasting’ what they have made.


Healthy Heart Hot Tip #23 - Make snacking on fruits and vegetables fun by providing healthy dips like yoghurt or hummus.

Healthy Heart Activity #8 - Make and chase your own bubbles!  Bend wire into a loop shape and dip it into a mixture of water and dish-washing liquid.  Run around and pop all the bubbles.  Who can catch the most?  Use different body parts to catch them – try your elbow, nose and knee. 


Healthy Heart Hot Tip #1 - Make meals healthier by adding chopped, grated or frozen vegetables.  Try grating up carrots into mince dishes.

Healthy Heart Activity #3 - On a rainy day, make an obstacle course out of furniture and objects.  Create tunnels and hills, then time how quickly the children can race through it.


Healthy Heart Hot Tip #7 - Children have small stomachs, so serve small portions –second helpings are allowed! A portion is about the size of your child’s cupped hand.

Healthy Heart Activity #2 - Learn to say the names of a variety of greetings, foods and sports in different languages.


Healthy Heart Hot Tip #20 - Get outside and be physically active with your children.  You’ll have fun and your hearts and bodies will love you for it.

Healthy Heart Activity #47 - Round up family and friends then head to the park for a game of ‘Kilikiti’.  Kilikiti is a form of cricket, played Samoan style.  Kilikiti was introduced to Samoa in the nineteenth century by visiting sailors and missionaries, and is now a major summer sport for Samoans. 


Healthy Heart Hot Tip #14 - Let your children watch and help with baking and cooking.  You may inspire your very own chef in the making!

Healthy Heart Activity #46 - Teach your children some of the games you used to play when you were their age.  Try Hopscotch, elastics, Cat & Mouse or ball rush! 


Healthy Heart Hot Tip #5Exercising in 10-minute session, i.e. “snacktivity”, can be just as effective as longer workouts.

Healthy Heart Activity #6 - Choose a new vegetable or fruit for the family to try this week! 


Healthy Heart Hot Tip #25 - Reduced-fat milk contains more protein and calcium than full-fat milk.  Choose light-blue, yellow- or green-top milk for everyone over two years of age.

Healthy Heart Activity #39 – This summer try flying a kite at the park or beach.


Healthy Heart Hot Tip #20 - Did You Know?: Light or “lite” foods may refer to a lower fat or salt content, but may also refer to the texture or colour of a food.

Healthy Heart Activity #37: Make some cultural foods at home.  Find the recipes at  The downloadable recipe book, “Kai Lelei” has some delicious Pacific recipes. 


Healthy Heart Hot Tip #11 - Did You Know?: To make 1 Kg of honey, bees have to visit four million flowers, travelling a distance equal to four times round the earth!  Enjoy those honey sandwiches!

Healthy Heart Activity #28: Let the children help with preparing dinner.  Give them activities such as cutting soft foods, grating, stirring, counting vegetables, measuring or pouring ingredients. 


Healthy Heart Hot Tip #3: As well as keeping children active, play is good for brain development.

Healthy Heart Activity #34: Set up your own mini-Olympics at home and have medals for everyone who joins in.  Challenges might include sports, egg-and-spoon race, running races, biking, forward rolls, etc.


Healthy Heart Hot Tip #1: Frozen vegetables can sometimes be better than fresh, as they are frozen straight after harvesting which locks in their nutritional goodness.

Healthy Heart Activity #27: Design a set of your own placemats to use at the table.  Help your child cut out pictures of their favourite healthy foods from magazines and flyers, and get them to decorate them.  These can be laminated to make them sturdier. 


Healthy Heart Hot Tip #24: Rejection of new foods (Neophobia) is common in young children, and is thought to be an evolutionary mechanism to protect them from eating potentially toxic substances.  You may have to try over ten times until a new food becomes familiar.

Healthy Heart Activity #20: Set up a treasure hunt around the house.  Use different ways of moving to find each clue: e.g. slither like a snake, waddle like a duck, etc


Healthy Heart Hot Tip #7: Children have smaller stomachs, so serve small portions - second helpings allowed!  A portion is about the size of your child’s cupped hand.

Healthy Heart Activity #21: Put together a picnic – what will you need to include in the picnic basket?  Have the picnic inside on a rug if the weather isn’t good. 


Healthy Heart Hot Tip #18: Children learn by imitation.  Be a positive role model for your child by eating healthy foods and being active.

Healthy Heart Activity #19: Do some baking together.  Help your child to weigh the ingredients, measure, pour and stir.  Through baking children learn heaps about maths concepts of measurements, changing properties of ingredients, temperature and time. 


Healthy Heart Hot Tip #10: Give fun names to food (e.g. broccoli trees, or potato clouds...).  It can take over 10 attempts for children to develop a taste for something, so keep offering!

Healthy Heart Activity #11: Fill 10 plastic bottles with water and use them for “ten pin” bowling at home.  Put food colouring in the water to make them more interesting!


"Dear Parent, Caregiver,Whanau, and Educators,

We are pleased to announce that Wild things Dunedin will be participating in the Heart Foundation’s Healthy Heart Award for Early Childhood Education: Tohu Manawa Ora – Kōhungahunga.  So over the next six months we will be meeting the criteria to achieve the Whanau Award.

This innovative programme has supported hundreds of early childhood education services to implement a heart healthy environment – and now it’s our turn!  The healthy changes we make will be acknowledged by the Heart Foundation’s Healthy Heart award.

The Healthy Heart Award emphasises the positive impact of early childhood nutrition and physical activity on children’s current and future health and development.  Establishing healthy habits in early childhood provides a foundation for lifelong health and well-being.

We trust you will fully support our involvement in this exciting programme, as your assistance and contribution will help us to achieve our goal.  Visiting Teachers will support educators in actively promoting a healthy approach with children through active movement and nutrition as part of their home base setting.  Please look out for further updates and fun snippets in our Wild Things newsletters and on EDUCA.

If you would like to know more about the details of the healthy Heart Award for Early Childhood Education: Tohu Manawa Ora – Kōhungahunga, visit, or feel free to talk to your Visiting Teacher, educator directly.

From the Wild things Team: Debbie, Jan, Kathryn & Susan"