Community-Based Drug Prevention

Red Ribbon Week Ideas for Middle Schools

3 Ideas for Red Ribbon Week for Your Middle School


If you’re a teacher, a parent, or a principal,  you’re probably gearing up for 2020’s national Red Ribbon Week. And if you’ve got middle school aged kids, you need extra help coming up with ideas this year. Aren’t preteens the hardest to entertain?! Some students still want the fun activities that they remember from elementary school. Some – pretending to be high schoolers already – are expecting a more mature lesson.

Here’s the beauty (and the challenge) of “tweens”  … you’re not gonna please them all. But, if you prepare lots of alternatives, stay positive, and think creatively, you’re sure to impress your young teenagers this Red Ribbon Week.

Still scratching your head? We’ve got your top three things to remember when working with middle schoolers during Red Ribbon Week.


  1. Don’t Shame

    During grades 6-8, the norm is conformity. According to Teaching Tolerance, a common fear for kids between the ages of 11 and 13 is being different. When kids are more worried about “fitting in”, then they are staying sober, no amount of drug prevention education will work.

    As an adult, try not to put middle schoolers on the spot. Don’t assume that every kid is interested in participating in the game or activity and don’t shame students for not playing along. Always ask for consent when sharing personal stories (even positive ones) with the class at large.

  2. Get them Active!

    With COVID-19 keeping most kids at home, everyone has a case of the wiggles… Since  many extracurriculars and sports have been canceled, try to incorporate movement into your Red Ribbon Week Activities. Even virtual classes can get up for a dance break, or a group stretching session to break the monotony of sitting down all day.

  3. Encourage Healthy Habits

    Middle school kids love to hear about what they’re doing right. (Well, maybe that’s not exclusive to middle schoolers…) Set expectations about positive behavior early, so that you can cheer them on when they demonstrate anti-drug behavior.

    Many teachers get better results when they award students for good habits, rather than punishing them or relying on simple rewards. Intrinsic motivation works just as well for academic success as it does emotional and social success! The best thing you can do to prepare your children for a drug-free lifestyle is to show them the benefit of healthy habits.

Get your Middle School in the SmartZone

Not sure how to teach young teenagers healthy coping skills and prosocial behavior? We wrote the book on it. Literally.

substance abuse prevention activity workbook; smartzone

Our workbook for grades 5 – 9 makes meaningful prevention planning easy. The activities guide students to use healthy behaviors to react to problems that good choices can solve.

A brief, but very important ‘homework assignment’ for parents & caregivers helps adults talk about the importance of being drug-free with their kids. When the positive message of healthy coping is enforced at home, at school, and with peers, kids are far more likely to stay sober in their teenage years.


If COVID had delayed your Red Ribbon Week plans, remember that any time is a perfect time for drug prevention that is relevant and memorable.

Get the Workbook

The book titled SmartZone is available for only $15 online!

About Author

Norma Norris
administratorNorma Norris is trained as a Certified Prevention Specialist with an eye to producing relatable prevention information for parents and their children. She is the developer of Reality Tour a parent/child prevention experience, the author of SmartZone Activity Workbook for grades 5-7 available on Amazon and coordinator for I Promise student events in schools.