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Can Associations Reach Kids?

They represent some of the most serious, academic, health-focused industries, but these associations spend resources and time reaching some of the youngest members of society. Here are four tips for how large associations can reach kids' ears.

1) Get the parents and teachers involved


American Lung Association asthma education director Barbara Kaplan says her organization focuses on helping kids with asthma take care of themselves. The association, along with ORCAS, created an interactive game on asthma facts. Parents are encouraged to play and have their own sister site to learn about the disorder. The American Chemical Society built two websites for teachers with curricula for teaching chemistry, all with the intent of helping kids learn and grow the future chemist workforce.

2) Make it fun and interactive


American Chemical Society education specialist Patti Galvan, here with her colleague James Kessler, is part of a team working on a new kids' website to play and learn basic chemistry. Kids guide bugs to a hungry chameleon by making molecules move faster or slower to raise and lower platforms and hot air balloons. Its website also has videos of chemistry experiments kids can do on their own and a “secret science” section on the chemistry behind everyday things like braces, gum, and ice cream. The American Heart Association gets kids jumping and throwing for its Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart. The fundraising school events are athletic and help raise awareness of heart health and community service.

3) Repeat the message in different ways


Yes, it's true. You need to repeat things for kids to listen. You need to repeat things for kids to listen. Barbara says when the American Lung Association was developing Lungtropolis, designers wanted to make sure kids heard and saw messages over and over again in different ways. For example, the game mentions the warning signs of asthma like coughing and wheezing a few times. They're told each time to tell adults when those symptoms are happening. That way kids really get the message.

4) Creatively promote


The challenge with any association creating content for kids is how do you get it to them. Associations are reaching them through parents and teachers, who may be association members. The American Lung Association promotes Lungtropolis through its school campaign, Open Airways. The campaign involves visiting the schools and teaching kids ages 8-11 in small groups about asthma. The American Chemical Society makes sure it has a presence at the National Science Teachers Association's conference on science education, where it promotes some of its free educational resources for grade-school kids.