Active children enjoy healthy snacks on tap

GWYNETH HYNDMAN
Last updated 12:45 15/02/2013
Connor Turner
GWYNETH HYNDMAN/Fairfax NZ
Connor Turner, 4, samples some of the healthy food on offer at ABC Invercargill North early childhood centre.

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For the 75 children at ABC Invercargill North early childhood centre, eating healthy and staying active do not just happen during Heart Week.

One of five early childhood education centres in Invercargill taking part in the Heart Foundation's Wear Red for Healthy Hearts competition this week, the Kelvin St centre was alive with strenuous activity yesterday afternoon.

Watching a classroom of children aged 3 to 5 take part in creating Valentines Day heart-themed crafts, leaping around on floor mats and dancing energetically along to a video with two teachers in red sparkly wigs, centre manager Janet Braithwaite said it was pretty normal for the young ones to be bouncing off the walls.

Outside of nap time, movement was encouraged - and when the kids got peckish, healthy snacks were waiting on the tables behind them.

The only thing unusual about yesterday were the red streamers, balloons, paints and playdough, as well as free activity kits, courtesy of the Heart Foundation.

Heart Foundation education setting team manager Justine Munro said Wear Red for Healthy Hearts was a great way for preschoolers to start the year on a colourful and healthy note.

As well as ABC Invercargill North, Lees Street Kindergarten, SIT Early Childhood Centre and Edukids Elles Road also took part in the competition. The YMCA Queens Park Early Learning Centre will be "seeing red" today.

The competition - which has prizes for the most colourful entries, the best healthy food activity and display and best use of physical activity - will finish on February 17.

The "reddest" ECE service in each region will win a visit from the Heart Foundation's mascot, Hearty, and a fruit and vegetable platter.

The Healthy Heart Award is partially funded by the Ministry of Health.

More than 100 ECE services registered for the competition when it was first held in February last year.

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- The Southland Times

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