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Creative Activities for a Healthy Start

EatPlayGrow is a new health educational curriculum created through an innovative public-private partnership between the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Children's Museum of Manhattan (CMOM).

The EatPlayGrow curriculum combines the latest science and research from the NIH with CMOM's creative educational approach to teach children ages 2-5 and their parents how to make healthy nutrition and physical activity choices. The new program was adapted from the We Can! Energize Our Families Parent Program, which was originally geared to parents of children ages 8-13.

EatPlayGrow's interactive and engaging lessons incorporate art-making, storytelling, music and movement activities into fun, hands-on educational lessons about the importance of making positive choices in areas that most affect health: nutrition, physical activity, and, based on emerging medical research, sleep.

CMOM piloted EatPlayGrow in New York City and New Orleans in community centers, children's museums, Head Start centers and with childcare providers. Program evaluations yielded significant results, including:

  • Increased knowledge and understanding of portion size;
  • Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables for snacks;
  • Increased consumption of low fat milk over whole milk;
  • Increased understanding that serving larger portions of food do not make a better parent and will not necessarily produce healthier children; and
  • Increased awareness that frozen vegetables can be as healthy as fresh vegetables.

For additional information on the curriculum evaluation, please contact We Can! program staff at NHLBI_WECANTEAM@mail.nih.gov.

EatPlayGrow includes family handouts and a family health journal, which are available in English and Spanish.


PDF Versionpdf document icon (31.2 MB PDF)


About the EatPlayGrow™ Curriculum and the Children's Museum of Manhattan (CMOM)
CMOM and NIH Collaboration Milestones
EatPlayGrow™ Curriculum Advisors

Section 1: EatPlayGrow™ Curriculum Overview
EatPlayGrow™ Curriculum Overview with We Can! Messages
EatPlayGrow™ Curriculum Guide

Section 2: Lesson Plans, Support Materials, and Family Journal
My Five Senses
Fabulous Fruits
Move to the Beat
Energy Balance
I Love My Veggies!
Perfect Portion
Dem Bones
Healthy Beverages
Smart Sleep!
Family Meal
Appendix: Family Health Journal
Additional Information

NIH Publication No. 13-7818
April 2013

Last Updated: November 8, 2013