Kids in Canada have to play more.
According to the ParticipACTION report card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth 2015, kids in Canada received a D-minus in physical activity.
Traci Costa, owner of clothing company Peekaboo Beans, is aiming to change this. She is touring Canada on a mission to remind families about the importance of unstructured play with a program called Pop-Up Play Dates. Costa brought the program to the Birch Hills Civic Centre in Birch Hills on Jan. 15.
“Pop-Up Play Dates is just an initiative to get kids out, get kids social, and get kids active. It’s really about no rules, no structure, kids getting out and having fun. It also brings community together,” she said.
Costa was happy with the turn out for the event. “It’s busy, lots of kids are playing and laughing,” she said. “The response has been overwhelming.”
Costa started her clothing company 10 years ago with a goal of making sure kids felt “empowered and comfortable” in their clothes. But she soon realised that playing contributed to their empowerment too.
Costa has now been running the program for four years and says she gets a lot of joy from watching kids play freely. “It absolutely fills my bucket,” she said.
Technology is having an adverse effect on children according to Costa. She believes initiatives like this can encourage kids to be more active.
“You need champions for every cause and this is our cause. Play is a healthy foundation for children and obviously with the statistics, it’s obviously an issue,” she said.
Michelle McBride, a community stylist for Peekaboo Beans, said it may be hard to come up with ideas in the winter for play time but a little creativity goes a long way.
“It takes some creativity to get them away from TV and away from electronics and get them playing. It’s hard nowadays because kids are naturally drawn to that,” she said.
For McBride, looking at community resources and facilities is a good starting point for parents looking to get their kids more active.
The play-date facilitates creativity with ingenious ways of playing with everyday items. The children are able to do things, like play bowling with some empty water bottles and soft round toys.
Naomi Braaten, brought her daughter along for the playdate and said the event made her daughter “very happy and excited.”
For more information on how to get kids active click here.
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