Defining Health K-3


Defining Health Lesson

Timeframe: Two Lessons of 20min or one of 40min




Children can confuse being “healthy” with being thin. Teachers and parents can help by defining health with them. Students need to see that there are many facets to health such as: feeling happy, being rested, and listening to self-regulating prompts such as hunger, thirst, satiety and so on. Children at this age can see people on diets and confuse this with “being healthy.” At this stage, children are beginning to endorse stigma around size and shape, perhaps believing that persons of thin sizes are healthy or somehow better than persons of larger sizes.

Big Ideas

  • People can be healthy at different sizes.
  • How we define health and how we talk about health are both important.
  • Health includes physical, mental, and social well-being.


Large PAPER and coloured PENCILS or CRAYONS


It is best at this age to connect with day-to-day routines and activities. To get your students thinking about what being healthy means, start by asking them the following questions: What do we do every day? List all of the things we do in a day (in a timeline on the blackboard or chart paper) e.g. – sleep, wake up, eat breakfast, get to school, brush teeth, put on shoes, wash hands, put my stuff away in my room, empty the garbage, play a game at recess, talk to my friend, read a book. Why do we do these things? Answers may include: to have the energy to play and learn; to feel good. Identify that many activities contribute toward being healthy.



  1. From the list of daily activities, have your students help you put them into categories. E.g. Our bodies, Our Feelings, and Safety and Security (multiple categories are important because being healthy is not just about eating and exercising).
  2. Have students draw pictures of the different daily activities. Set up a clothesline in the classroom and hang the pictures according to a daily timeline. Try to get a balance across the pictures of activities reflecting friendship, food, rest, activity all in a positive way.
  3. Alternatively, or on a different day, you can do a math activity graphing how many students brush their teeth, how many went to the park, how many went to a friend’s house, etc. Continue to reinforce that health is not just food and exercise but that they are components of health.


It is not helpful to monitor children’s snacks because many children cannot afford the healthiest forms of snacks.


An important concept for students at this age level is to listen to internal prompts. As a consolidation activity, have students draw an image of themselves with a speech bubble stating i.e. “I am hungry…”, “I am thirsty…”, “I am tired…” with an image of what they are doing to meet that need.


Books (suggested but not required):
“I’m Like You, You’re like Me” by Cindy Gainer
“Get up and Go” by Nancy Carlson

For further information on these book titles, please access the Resources section on our website.

Avoid books such as “Fat Cat & Slobby Dog” or “The Gulps”, which reinforce negative stereotypes. Also avoid books that use the word “diet” and talk about restricting calories.

Help and your fellow teachers!
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