Healthy Balance

K, 1, 2

This lesson explores the components of healthy living: eating healthy foods and exercise. Children identify their favorite healthy foods and forms of exercise that help them live a healthy life. Focus question: What foods and activity choices are important for healthy living?

PrintTwo 20-30 Minute Class Sessions, Plus time for optional art activities

Learners will:

  • state that exercise and healthy eating are important parts of having a healthy body.
  • keep track of their food and exercise for a week or day.
  • make a pledge to start or continue one healthy habit.
  • read-aloud copies of books by Lizzie Rockwell: The Busy Body Book and Good Enough to Eat (also on YouTube)
  • playground toys: balls, jump ropes, hula hoops 
  • mural/butch paper, one for each small group of 4-5 students
  • 3-4 copies of Self-Portrait Caption Strips (handout) (one strip per child)
  • student copies of My Healthy Food and Exercise Chart (handout) for homework (day or week)
  • ten sheets of white paper
  • drawing materials, markers or crayons
  • poster board
  • community: a group of people who share interests and goals and work together
Home Connection 

Give children a copy of either the daily or weekly My Healthy Food and Exercise Chart (handouts) to complete as homework with the help of family members.


Session One: Seat children in a circle to talk about the different movements they used when they were outside. Ask them to tell what they learned about exercise. Have volunteers tell what they will share with their families about the importance of exercise in healthy living.

Session Two: Ask each child to name a favorite healthy food. Talk about the value of eating a variety of foods.


  1. Session One:

    Anticipatory Set: (Estimated Time: 5-10 minutes)

    Tell the students that the theme of this lesson is having a healthy body. Remind children that to be healthy they need to eat healthy foods and exercise. One way to get exercise that is fun is to dance. Turn on music and have students wiggle and dance. Search for children's YouTube dance videos, like "Wiggle Workout" and "Jack Hartman Exercise."  (Jack Hartman's songs “I Can Do That!” and “I Believe” promote positivity!)  Discuss the movements we can make and how movement can keep your heart, brain, and body healthy.

  2. Tell the children that dancing and other forms of exercise and active play help them grow strong muscles. Also tell children that exercise wakes up their brain and helps them learn. Ask, "How does you body feel after dancing?" (Answers should include variations of feeling awake all over.)

  3. Read aloud the book, The Busy Body Book: A Kid's Guide to Fitness by Lizzy Rockwell. You can also find it read aloud on YouTube. 

  4. Discuss the actions children do when they go out to play and illustrated in the book. Students choose ten different kinds of movement (run, skip, climb, jump, swing, slide, hop, catch) to write on individual pieces of paper in large letters.

  5. Display the ten papers (each one with a physical activity written on it) one at a time around the room. Read it aloud and have children pantomime the activity in the classroom. 

    As a brain break between subjects and activities throughout the day, ask a student to pick an exercise for the class to do for 1 minute (a privilege to choose).

  6. Bring the children to the playground and tell them to be active and to do at least three different movements they practiced inside. Provide jump ropes, balls, and hoops, if possible.

  7. After returning to the classroom, the students write their names on the papers around the room that name the actions they did outside.

  8. Optional: Children work in a group of 4-5 to create a mural on butcher paper showing them playing and exercising on the playground. They label the activities, using the signs around the room to help with spelling. When they are finished, they tell the class about their mural. Display the murals in the hall to encourage other classes to play actively. Put a label over the murals: Healthy Bodies. 

  9. Session Two

    Ask, "How do you feel after you eat a good meal with your family?" Listen to responses and note observations of healthy food and family time making them feel good.

    Tell students that today they are going to learn about another way to have healthy bodies: eat healthy foods. Tell them you're going to read a book and they have to listen for what foods are healthy, how much to eat, and what different foods do for our bodies. Read aloud the book by Lizzie Rockwell (or watch YouTube version) Good Enough to Eat. After reading, talk about what they learned about healthy foods and what they do for our bodies. 

    From the book they learn nutrients are the parts of foods that your body uses to do its work. Every food contains at least one nutrient, but healthy foods contain many nutrients. Talk about the different kids of nutrients, what they do, and what foods contain them. Record key facts on a chart. 

    For the next week, after lunch each day, talk about what veggies and fruits they ate. You may keep a tally of the healthy foods or nutrients the class ate. Depending on the age of students and teacher discretion, pass out the My Healthy Food and Exercise chart. The students can track their food/exercise as homework or when they come into school for morning work.

  10. Give children Self-Portrait Caption Strips (handout) to make a pledge about a new healthy habit. Help children with spelling as needed. Display the habits where they can see them and remember for many days - until it becomes a habit. Remind them to tell their families about their pledge. 

  11. Tell the students they learned many things about having healthy bodies. Review with children what they learned about health needs (eat healthy food and exercise) and a healthy community. Discuss what happens if we don't make healthy choices. Reflect on how a healthy community full of healthy people is good for all.

    Tell them that many people in the U.S. have unhealthy habits for many reasons. Some people don't have information, and some people don't have money to buy good food or it isn't sold near their houses. Some people choose unhealthy food because it tastes good and they don't think about how important good health is for all. 

    While we can't make choices for other people, we can share what we know to let our community know we care about them. What do you wish everyone knew about being healthy?

  12. The next time we have a choice of what to eat for a snack, we can choose something easy and unhealthy or take a few minutes longer to cook something or eat an apple, stalk of celery, or a glass of milk. Fast food is often fat food (and more expensive than basic foods we cook at home). 

  13. Distribute poster board and drawing materials, magazines with pictures, scissors, tape or glue. Have children work in small groups of two or three to create healthy living posters that teach others about having healthy bodies and healthy communities.

  14. Display posters around the school and in the neighborhood.

Cross Curriculum 

Children share what they have learned about healthy eating and exercise with the larger community. For example, they may make posters or host a field day.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.