Health Topics

Clever Crazes National Health Program

Animation and Competition Encourage Kids to Stay Healthy

New fitness equipment, expanded play areas and environmental program enhancements are just a few of the ways schools are benefiting from Clever Crazes for Kids (CCK), an online wellness program for children – ages 6 to 12 – that uses animated characters, competitive games and educational challenges to encourage students to adopt healthy lifestyles. Through its incentive competition, the program has awarded $70,000 to schools so far, to strengthen nutrition, fitness, character and environmental programs. features a series of games and educational challenges that enable students to learn while competing with each other in four themed environments: nutrition, fitness, self-esteem and living green. Students can select from a group of avatars that lead them through the games and challenges while modeling behaviors essential to healthy physical, mental and behavioral development. The site’s educational content reinforces language arts, physical education, and STEM-based (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) academic content standards, so educators can feel confident that students are learning.

“Clever Crazes for Kids’ mission is great,” said Cindi Menefield, principal of Woodford Paideia Academy, which received $3,000 through the bi-monthly incentive competition for having the second-highest percentage of students registered on the site during the October – November 2009 period. “Whoever came up with the idea of promoting healthy living through computer games really knows how to meet kids where they are and teach them in their comfort zone.”

Program Gaining in Popularity

The program was launched in August 2009 in Cincinnati Public Schools, which has more than 17,000 students in CCK’s target age group. Since that time, schools all across the country have signed on – making the bi-monthly prize pool even more competitive. CCK’s creator Dianne Dunkelman couldn’t be more pleased with the site’s early popularity.

“We get letters from students and teachers almost every day thanking us for the site,” Dunkelman says. “But the truth is that we thank them for their participation. Our vision is to help students lead healthier lives through proper nutrition, exercise, strong character and sustainable living. In the end, we’ll all benefit from a healthier society.”

Students are Modeling the Healthy Behaviors Among Peers, Parents

CCK was developed by the leadership that launched Speaking of Women’s Health. Recognizing that childhood obesity, low self-esteem, bullying and environmental issues were fast becoming the biggest threats to long-term health, Dunkelman and her team created CCK as a way to help children adopt healthy lives and serve as a model for others around them.

“What we’re finding is that children are taking the lessons of Clever Crazes to heart,” Dunkelman says. “Based on the feedback we’ve received from educators, many students are modeling what they learn on Clever Crazes throughout their school day.”

In the coming months, CCK will launch new content and games to ensure that students continue to be challenged while having fun. The site’s registration process was revamped to allow teachers to easily register entire class rosters with the click of a mouse, and promotional materials are available to encourage parents to allow students to learn and play at home.

For more information about Clever Crazes for Kids, visit