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UNICEF Kid Power
Pros: Videos can bring energy up or down. Kids' activity helps others.
Cons: Limited content. Videos need better tags and descriptions, especially for accessibility.
Bottom Line: This site has a decent library of movement and mindfulness videos that give kids an energizing way to help themselves and some charities.
At first glance, UNICEF Kid Power is a great go-to for giving students short brain breaks during class. Taking a few minutes out at the beginning, middle, or end of class can get kids geared up for a lesson, calm down a rowdy group, or just get students out of their chairs for a short time. The fact that students are earning life-saving, ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTFs) for kids suffering from severe acute malnutrition and also earning coins to support local causes adds some extra motivation. While teachers can track students' participation and offer incentives, that's probably not the best way to use the site. The video library isn't that large, so particularly active students might be seeing the same videos over and over again. Students could game the system a bit by playing a video, muting it, and having it in another tab while they do other things.
Once students are used to the site, teachers can spark further interest by having students research local and global issues. Students can vote for which organizations they want to support in their communities. Then students can do activities in class connected with those causes to give them a better link between what they're doing and what they're supporting.
UNICEF Kid Power is a website with videos focused on movement and mindfulness. While the site is intended mainly for classroom use, teachers can provide class codes to allow kids and their families to participate at home as well. The site's videos feature simple exercises, yoga, meditation, and SEL content. They range in length from around 90 seconds to seven minutes, but most videos fall in the three- to four-minute range, just the right length for a quick brain break. For every 10 videos watched, students earn one ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) packet that'll be donated to children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in different parts of the world. The classroom or team dashboard lets everyone see the progress they're making in real time. UNICEF Kid Power also allows students to raise money for local causes. Students earn Kid Power coins for every video watched, and the weekly coin multiplier enables students to earn additional coins for each consecutive day they participate. These coins can be donated to charities to support members with things like food aid, health care, environmental work, and more.
There's plenty of research to support both short- and long-term benefits of exercise, yoga, and mindfulness practices on learning, stress management, and emotional regulation. What's unique about UNICEF Kid Power is how it combines personal practice of these skills with positive impact on others. This grows compassion, empathy, and curiosity authentically, teaching students about the value of these skills via meaningful action. It makes this easy as well, since most videos take only a few minutes to complete. One issue, though, is that the limited number of videos mean this is best used as a small intervention here or there rather than something students binge. The coins and rewards-based system, however, incentivize the opposite. Some kids might get hooked on earning coins and donating them. This, however, won't lead to the best experience for the students themselves. Of course, with a larger and more varied content library, this could change.
Finally, it's laudable that the site presents large-scale problems but gives kids small, real solutions. Students will likely grasp this easily and excitedly. It must be said, though, that this model of social action is more charity than social activism. It's all well and good to move and meditate and then earn coins that can be donated, but it would be nice to see resources that get students doing things in the real world.