Every year, Active Healthy Kids Canada issue the results of a survey of the physical activity of Canadian children and youth. The 2012 report card [PDF] is cause for concern. The organization has given a failing grade because only seven percent of Canadian children and youth are getting the 60 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity.
Play has been called the business of childhood. It comes in many forms, but is generally freely chosen, spontaneous, self-directed and fun. Play allows children and youth of all ages to try new things, test boundaries, learn from their mistakes and, perhaps most importantly, enjoy being active…. Unfortunately, the structure and demands of modern Canadian life may be engineering active play out of our children’s lives. Perhaps in a misguided bid to protect and direct them at all times, Canadian kids have lost the freedom to throw open the doors and go play. Researchers agree the decline of play over the past 50 or 60 years has been consistent and substantial….
There was some good news in the report card. Most children in Canada are at least getting some amount of physical activity: 44 percent get 60 minutes three days a week.
The trick is to figure out how best to increase the frequency of that activity. Active Healthy Kids Canada identifies after school and on weekends as “opportune times to encourage outdoor, active play”. Unstructured, active, outdoor play can be invaluable.
In the comments, share some of your ideas about how to get your kids active seven days a week.