When the Penguins of Madagascar tell you to do something, you do it!
At least that is what your kids probably think.
First Lady Michelle Obama knows how influential those four show-stealing penguins are, and that is why she enlists their help with a top-secret mission in the video Operation Got Your 6. In the video, the penguins let everyone know how veterans better our communities. They also explain the military lingo Got Your Six, which means standing behind someone.
The campaign works to inform civilians about the importance of our service members, both those who have served and those who currently serve.
The video also promotes the “Take a Vet to School” program, which allows schools to welcome veterans into the classroom to share their stories with students.
Operation Got Your 6 is a cute, quirky way to teach your kids about the significance of our veterans and is a great way to observe Veterans Day. Click on the penguins to watch the video.
First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a Kid Reporter gaggle in the White House Library during the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House, April 21, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Editor’s Note: This post was written by Justin Creppy who, at 6 years old, is the youngest contributor we’ve ever featured on our site! Justin (pictured in a blue shirt with red tie, right) was invited to the White House on Easter Sunday to be part of a special Kid Reporter event hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. Read Justin’s story about his experience.
By Justin Creppy
This year I visited the White House for the first time on Easter, and I was one of seven kid reporters to be in the first-ever Kid Reporter gaggle. My day started with so much excitement! I couldn’t wait to get to the White House, but I didn’t know what to expect, so I kept asking mommy and daddy so many questions.
When I arrived at the Northgate I had to be a big boy and give my name and birthdate to the secret service. That was special and fun. I got a badge and entered the White House lawn area. There was so much to see. I walked past the West Wing and I went to the Vermeil Room that had portraits of first ladies. Then I had press time with First Lady Michelle Obama in the White House Library. Her “Let’s Move” program was the focus for the event’s theme, “Hop Into Healthy, Swing into Shape.” When mommy told me what those words meant, I started telling her that I had a bunch of questions for the First Lady. Can I ask her what exercises she does? What sports do Malia and Sasha play? Do they eat healthy every day? My parents told me to pick 2-3 questions I really wanted to ask because this was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
I was one of the youngest kid reporters, and I got a little nervous when the First Lady entered the room. She was very nice and asked us to sit on the floor and introduce ourselves. I got so excited and asked a question, “First Lady, what do Malia and Sasha do to have fun when you are busy and the President is traveling?” I was happy to learn they are just like all the children in the United States. They like to have fun! Malia plays tennis and runs track. Sasha likes to dance hip-hop and plays basketball. The First Lady also said they like to be normal kids with sleepovers, playdates, and going to the movies.
I also learned so much by listening to the other kid reporters’ questions and learning the importance of eating healthy, being active, and watching only a little bit of television. I had an amazing day, and the First Lady gave all the kid reporters a wristband to enjoy the Easter Egg Roll. I was so happy to see so many kids having fun, running, and playing with their families. I had a fun-filled day that I will never forget!
We’ve all been there, walking through the grocery store while our kids ask us for colorful sodas, chips with cartoon characters on the bag, or cookies advertised on their favorite TV shows. Couldn’t they just once harangue us for a pear, or heaven forbid, some broccoli?
Now parents are getting some back-up – furry, funny back-up to be exact.
“Just imagine what will happen when we take our kids to the grocery store, and they see Elmo and Rosita and the other Sesame Street Muppets they love up and down the produce aisle,” said Mrs. Obama. “Imagine what it will be like to have our kids begging us to buy them fruits and vegetables instead of cookies, candy and chips. That’s what this new collaboration between Sesame Workshop and the Produce Marketing Association is all about.”
Through her Let’s Move campaign, the First Lady has been a longtime advocate for making nutritious foods more appealing, affordable, and accessible.
The fact that Sesame Workshop is licensing Grover, Elmo, Rosita and friends for free is important because unlike a lot of processed food manufacturers, apple, broccoli, and spinach producers don’t have scads of marketing dollars to appeal to our kids in fun commercials or by placing their products in family movies. But the PMA and Mrs. Obama are hoping that when children see a sticker of their favorite Sesame Street character on an apple or next to salad greens they will get more excited about eating a variety of healthy fruits and veggies.
There is research to back this up. Mrs. Obama cited a recent study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. When researchers gave kids a choice between a cookie and an apple, unsurprisingly the vast majority chose the cookie. But when researchers placed an Elmo sticker on the apple, nearly twice the number of children opted for the fruit.
After the announcement Mrs. Obama, Elmo, and Rosita headed out to the White House vegetable garden where they welcomed students from four area schools to help with the fall harvest. The students dug up giant sweet potatoes, cut pumpkins from their vines, and pulled up dirt-covered carrots. Under the guidance of White House chefs the kids assembled turkey, hummus, and salad wraps. While Elmo and Rosita didn’t share the snack, they extolled their love of fresh produce, already doing their part to encourage kids to eat more fruits and vegetables.
District Parents Say Mayor Should See First-Hand School Routes Their Kids Will Tread
Fearing the dangers posed by the new routes their kids will be forced to take after the district shutters 54 neighborhood elementary schools, Chicago Public School parents are calling on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to come to their communities and “walk the walk.” (via Huffington Post)
Head Start Families Left With No Good Options Due To Sequestration
The ripple effects of sequestration are taking hold. And among the first and most affected are hundreds of lower-income parents forced to game out major life adjustments to accommodate cuts to Head Start. (via Huffington Post)
Wisconsin Dad’s Anti-Bullying Facebook Plea Goes Viral After Son Allegedly Tormented At School
His son said he was being bullied at middle school, so Matthew Bent fought back on Facebook. Now, the Kaukauna, Wisc., dad’s plea to end school bullying everywhere has attracted hundreds of thousands of readers with over 900,000 likes and shares. (via Huffington Post)
Family uses medical marijuana to treat severely autistic son
Medical marijuana is a controversial treatment option for adults – let alone children. But Jeremy Echols, of Oregon, says that that the drug is helping his autistic – and severely self-destructive – 11-year-old son, Alex. (via Fox News)
Missouri Lawmaker Wants To Tie Welfare Benefits To Public School Attendance
A Republican lawmaker in Missouri wants to tie welfare benefits to school attendance with a bill that would require 90 percent attendance for children of families receiving benefits. (via Huffington Post)
Judge strikes restrictions on “morning-after” pill
A federal judge on Friday ordered the Food and Drug Administration to make the “morning-after” emergency contraception pill available without a prescription to all girls of reproductive age. (via Reuters)
Lead poisoning toll revised to 1 in 38 young kids
More than half a million U.S. children are now believed to have lead poisoning, roughly twice the previous high estimate, health officials reported Thursday. (via Yahoo! News)
Michelle Obama Slips, Says She’s ‘Single Mother’
First lady Michelle Obama slipped up in a local TV interview Thursday and accidentally called herself a “single mother.” (via ABC News)
What Treatment’s Best for Hyperactive Preschoolers?
Parents of preschoolers at risk for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may first want to try behavior training before they put their children on medications, suggests a new analysis of past studies. (via Reuters)
Kraft Meets With Food Bloggers about Mac & Cheese Yellow Food Dye
Food blogger Vani Hari (www.foodbabe.com), from Charlotte, N.C., rallied the troops Monday in Chicago before heading over to Kraft headquarters for a sit down to talk about “dumping the dyes” from the iconic brand’s U.S. Mac and Cheese. (via FOX News)
Shots Kill Budding Wisdom Teeth, Study Suggests
Could wisdom teeth be a problem of the past? Researchers have found that young children who got shots of anesthetic for dental work sometimes never grow lower wisdom teeth when they are older. (via NBC News)
N.R.A. Details Plan for Armed School Guards
With the Senate set to debate gun control this month, a National Rifle Association task force released a 225-page report on Tuesday that called for armed police officers, security guards or staff members in every American school, and urged states to loosen gun restrictions to allow trained teachers and administrators to carry weapons. (via The New York Times)
Michelle Obama Challenges Kids with Lunch Contest
Children from across the nation will rub elbows with Michelle Obama and dine off fine china in the East Room of the White House this summer as part of a contest to promote healthy eating. The first lady is asking children ages 8 to 12 and their parents to create nutritious lunch recipes that represent each of the food groups for “The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.” (via Yahoo!)
Newtown Children Remain Scared As School Tries to Move on from Sandy Hook Shooting
They relocated the entire student body to a new school unstained by blood. They brought in counselors to soothe shattered nerves, and parents to comfort the distraught. But authorities know they cannot erase the lingering effects of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School – students and faculty members still on edge, still traumatized by the sounds of gunshots and by the horrors they survived. (via Huffington Post)
Michelle Obama ‘Vogue’ Interview: First Lady Says Family is No.1 Priority
Michelle Obama is pushing back against the notion that she and President Barack Obama don’t socialize enough in Washington. The first lady says in an interview in the April issue of Vogue magazine that she and the president were straightforward when they said – before moving from Chicago to Washington in 2009 – that their family, including two young daughters, would be their priority. (via Huffington Post)
Drug Treatment Corrects Autism Symptoms in Mouse Model
Autism results from abnormal cell communication. Testing a new theory, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have used a newly discovered function of an old drug to restore cell communications in a mouse model of autism, reversing symptoms of the devastating disorder. (via Science Daily)
No Attention-Boosting Drugs for Healthy Kids, Doctors Urge
The American Academy of Neurology (AAN), the world’s largest professional association of neurologists, is releasing a position paper on how the practice of prescribing drugs to boost cognitive function, or memory and thinking abilities, in healthy children and teens is misguided. (via Science Daily)
Rare Meat Allergy Linked to Ticks Found in Kids
Some children living in the U.S. Southeast have a rare meat allergy linked to tick bites, according to a new study. Bites from ticks, usually lone star ticks, cause the body to become allergic to a protein called alpha-gal — which also happens to be found in some mammals, including cows, pigs and sheep, the researchers said. (via Fox News)
Indiana Teacher Gun Threat? Lake Station Teacher On Leave Over ‘Guns’ Message On Chalkboard
A northwest Indiana teacher is the subject of a police probe over a threatening message he scrawled on the chalkboard of his classroom. (via Huffington Post)
Transgender Student Rights Would Be Guaranteed Under Proposed California Law
A California lawmaker has introduced legislation aimed at guaranteeing transgender students the right to use public school restrooms and participate on the sports teams that correspond with their expressed genders. (via Huffington Post)
Mom’s Placenta Reflects Her Exposure to Stress and Impacts Offsprings’ Brains
According to a new study by a research group from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, if a mother is exposed to stress during pregnancy, her placenta translates that experience to her fetus by altering levels of a protein that affects the developing brains of male and female offspring differently. (via Science Daily)
Is Baby Still Breathing? Is Mom’s Obsession Normal?
A new Northwestern Medicine® study found that women who have recently given birth have a much higher rate of obsessive-compulsive symptoms than the general population. (via Science Daily)
U.S. Baby’s Cure From HIV Raises Hope, New Questions
The remarkable case of a baby being cured of HIV infection in the United States using readily available drugs has raised new hope for eradicating the infection in infants worldwide, but scientists say it will take a lot more research and much more sensitive diagnostics before this hope becomes a reality. (via Reuters)
Michelle Obama: I Don’t Talk About Weight With My Daughters
Michelle Obama offered a peek inside the first family’s healthy habits on Monday, revealing there’s one thing they never talk about at home: weight. (via Today)
When I was growing up, afterschool was for Skittles, Doritos, and 25-cent juices. When my daughter gets home from school, she pulls the bag of baby carrots out of the fridge and chomps away happily. Times have definitely changed.
If my mother offered carrots as an after school snack, I would have thought that I was being punished. Maybe that’s because she didn’t have as much support as I do. Lucky for me, our First Lady launched the Let’s Move initiative on February 9, 2010, when my daughter was only two years old. That means that I haven’t been the only one introducing her to healthy foods and exercise.
Over the past three years, Let’s Move has inspired schools, childcare providers, and business leaders to improve the health of our nation’s children.
As of January of 2013, more than 10,000 child-care professionals and organizations have registered to implement new criteria for nutrition, physical activity, and limited screen time.
Through Chefs Move to School, 2,400 chefs and nearly 4,000 schools have signed up to work together, teaching kids about healthy eating and helping cafeteria staff prepare healthier meals.
The American Beverage Association has also stepped up and fulfilled their commitment to put clear calorie labels on the front of their products to give consumers better information.
Now, in celebration of Let’s Move’s 3rd anniversary, Michelle Obama has teamed up with Sesame Street’s Big Bird to film two public service announcements encouraging kids to eat healthy and get active.
The new PSAs feature Mrs. Obama and Big Bird in the White House showing kids how easy and delicious it is to eat healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables and demonstrating fun ways to get active like dancing and jumping. Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, will distribute these PSAs to 320 PBS Stations, Sesame Workshop’s partner channels as part of their Healthy Habits for Life Initiative. The PSAs are also posted on the Sesame Street and Let’s Move! websites.
You can also check out our new story, “Active Learners,” which explains just how physical education classes—which are in danger of being cut from many schools—help children perform better academically.