Positive reinforcement can be a powerful teaching tool.
Countless studies have demonstrated the efficacy of positive reinforcement as a way to boost participant engagement and make learning experiences more memorable.
One way that I like to use positive reinforcement is through prizes that often communicate key lessons as well. This practice adds an extra layer to my presentations, allowing me to address a subject from yet another angle.
Let me offer an example....
Say I was trying to communicate the importance of replacing sugary drinks with water. In my presentation, I may offer an icebreaker activity, a brief discussion, and a quiz or two. I will have my Sugary Drink Awareness Poster ready, and perhaps I'll add the Beverage Better Banner as well, if the space allows. I'll try to incorporate some movement into the activity or quiz, and in that way I know I will have resources to address verbal, visual, and kinesthetic learning styles.
But I also have a trick up my sleeve. To offer an incentive for participation (or a prize for winners of any game or quiz), I'll also bring a couple Water Wristbands. These will go home with members of the audience, and they'll provide a more lasting reminder of what the group discussed that day. If people wear their prizes, they'll see that key message over and over, which can help make it more a part of their mindset and routine.
Pretty great for a simple little prize, right?
Here's a quick tour of the top 3 prizes that educators are using right now. Which will help make your life easier?
As I demonstrated in the example above, wristbands make great prizes, and they're fantastic learning tools as well. A nutrition or health wristband is a great resource for reminding your audience to make healthy choices, every day. The top wristbands in the shop right now are I Heart Salad, Drink Water, and Take 10,000 Steps Per Day.
Perfect for promoting participation, simple stickers are fun for kids and adults alike. I just created a new Nutrition Facts Label sticker, and both the Healthy Choices and Change It Up Butterfly stickers are perfect for wellness fairs and presentations!
These creative prizes are fun for any audience. Who would have ever thought that you could communicate health messages in tattoo form? Try using MyPlate Temporary Tattoos as prizes for your next group activity or quiz, or hand out Salad Temporary Tattoos at your next cooking demonstration!
And as a special prize for you, dear reader, I have a brand-new printable summer coloring sheet! Get your free copy today!
PS: Since the link to this post was broken at first, I've added one last bonus -- another free handout! This one is all about sodium and the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans...
Here are some other wonderful prizes from the Nutrition Education Store!
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Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.