The seventh annual WinterKids Winter Games is set to kick off this month with 16 schools statewide, comprised of 3,300-plus students and 380-plus teachers, who have applied for and been selected to compete for a total of nearly $20,000 in cash prizes for their schools as part of the Competitive Track.

The winning Competitive Track school will receive $5,000, second will receive $3,000 and third place will receive $1,500 in school-wide prize ceremonies. All competitive schools will receive a cash prize based on how they finish, according to a news release from Julie Mulkern, Winter Kids’ executive director.

The games begin at 1 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 8, with an outdoor opening ceremony event at the Williams-Cone School, 19 Perkins St. in Topsham.

In addition, more than 6,000 additional students and 400 additional teachers will participate in the Winter Games as part of a Play-Along Track, which was born during the pandemic to reach children even though they were not in school. This non-competitive edition of the games offers all the same fun activities and lessons without the structure of earning weekly points or meeting deadlines.

Teams (classrooms, recreation departments, individual students) will move, learn and explore with this go-at-your-own-pace track. All participating students have received comprehensive tool kits and weekly incentives that will allow them to take their learning outside for the full four weeks of daily challenges.

“This initiative goes beyond the competition; it’s about fostering a love for outdoor exploration and promoting a healthy, active lifestyle. The Winter Games not only bring joy and excitement but also serve as a reminder of the transformative power of outdoor education,” said Mulkern. “WinterKids is proud to be a catalyst for bringing joy, movement, and a sense of community to classrooms statewide.”

Embracing outdoor learning helps to counteract the negative effects of excessive screen time — particularly for those in elementary school. WinterKids provides resources for both teachers and parents to get their kids outside and active. Learn more at

This year’s Winter Games are made possible because of Hannaford Snack Pals, weekly sponsors Aroma Joe’s, Backyard Farms and Wyman’s, and contributing sponsors Kittery Trading Post, Stockhouse Restaurant and MMG Insurance.


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