Simon Says ... keep the art of play alive: ParticipACTION launches national campaign to Bring Back Play

A recent survey commissioned by ParticipACTION found that more than half of Canadian parents (50.4 per cent) of school-aged children played outdoor active games, such as hide and seek and tag, every day as a child; however, only 19 per cent of their children do now. To help reverse the decline of play, ParticipACTION created a national social change marketing campaign called Bring Back Play to rally and inspire parents and caregivers to motivate children to move more.

The 2012 Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card found that 46 per cent of Canadian kids are getting three hours or less of active play per week, including weekends. This is surprising, as play is not only an easy, accessible and affordable way to get children to meet the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, but it has the potential to improve a child’s physical, emotional, social and cognitive well-being.

ParticipACTION wants to make physical activity a vital and fulfilling part of everyday life, and play is a fun way to achieve this. The Bring Back Play campaign features children playing freely and having fun in various outdoor settings through:
•    A national 30-second commercial spot that will air in both English and French from October 1 to March 31, 2014.
•    Digital banner ads running nationally in English and French.
•    Print ads.
•    A website and social media channels that provide advice and resources to parents and

One unique element of the campaign is the Bring Back Play app - a web-based tool to help parents recall the games they fondly remember playing as a child, teach their children those games and submit more active games to share with other parents. From timeless classics and modern favourites to games from different cultural backgrounds, parents can peruse a list of active games to find new ones to try with their children. The app was developed by ParticipACTION, in partnership with Active Healthy Kids Canada, and is optimized for mobile use, so that parents can access game ideas while outdoors with their children. To access the app, visit – it is easy and fast, and with web browser access, no app store download is necessary.

Canadian parents’ take on play
A recent survey, commissioned by ParticipACTION, of Canadian parents found that:
•    Hide and seek, tag and skip rope were the three outdoor active games parents played the most as children.
•    Almost half of parents (45.1 per cent) have not taught their children to play the outdoor active games they played as a child. Reasons given for this were that their children play organized activities/sports instead (28.6 per cent), their children would rather watch television or play video games (19.3 per cent) and their children are just not interested (19 per cent).
•    Among parents who have taught their children to play the outdoor active games they used to play, top reasons cited for doing so were having fun, spending time together and good health.

About the survey
From September 21 to September 27, 2012, an online survey was conducted among 800 randomly selected Canadian adults who are parents of children aged four to 14 years old and who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error, which measures sampling variability, is +/- 3.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.