Kids Heart Challenge gets kids moving, helping others

  • Isella Karner masters the hula hoop Friday at Kona Hongwanji Preschool Kids Heart Challenge.

  • Paxton Griffey jumps rope with Julie Costa and Tim Brown Friday at Kona Hongwanji Preschool Kids Heart Challenge.

  • Yui Watanabe has fun with the sack jump Friday at Kona Hongwanji Pre School Kids Heart Challenge.

  • Keiki do Zumba with Sunshine Friday at Kona Hongwanji Pre School Kids Heart Challenge. (Photos by Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Keiki do Zumba with Sunshine Friday at Kona Hongwanji Pre School Kids Heart Challenge. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Kokomi Akeo rides a trike Friday at Kona Hongwanji Pre School Kids Heart Challenge. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

The sound of children’s laughter from physical activity rang through the yard at Kona Hongwanji Preschool Friday morning as keiki took part in the American Heart Association Kids Heart Challenge.

The association’s nationwide yearly campaign, previously known as Jump Rope for Life, is designed to teach kids the importance of heart health and focuses on whole body wellness, helping students improve their own health and better their character while raising life-saving donations for the American Heart Association to help kids facing heart-health issues.

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The 2- to 5-year-old keiki at the school spent the last few weeks learning about the importance of physical fitness, making good choices in healthy eating, being kind to others and raising money, earning prizes for the donations they secured. The AHA has developed an app to help kids and parents manage their donations.

School director Leanne Abe said the school has been participating in the event the past four years. The AHA guides the school in setting up the program, which this year includes a social/emotional component. The association provides schools with curriculum and resources to use, leading up to the challenge day.

“We teach them the importance of having healthy hearts and helping children who have heart disease,” said teacher Sharon Yong.

The 46 kids spent one hour engaging in physical activity — kicked off with a Zumba session, followed by jumping rope, riding tricycles, hula hooping and sack jumping.

And having fun.

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“This year we raised about $1,300,” Abe said. “The kids are very into it.”

“And it’s children helping children,” Yong added.

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