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Run. Jump. Play. Every Day.

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Theme #1: Run. Jump. Play. Every Day. 

Theme 1 ran from October 2015 to June 2016 and focused on encouraging kids and families to be more physically active. Physical activity can include active play, active transportation, sports and structured physical activity.

Why "Run. Jump. Play. Every Day."

Regular physical activity is so important for children's development, not just physically, but also socially and mentally. Being active can help children:

  • Improve cardiovascular fitness.
  • Build strong muscles and bones.
  • Learn coordination, movement control and confidence.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Have a less risk of chronic disease in later life.
  • Improve self-esteem and have less depression, anxiety and emotional distress.
  • Improve learning and attention span, and achieve more at school.
  • Have more chances to express themselves, learn new skills and have fun.
  • Build social skills such as cooperation, respect for others, problem solving, athleticism, fair play and teamwork.

 Active Play 

Comes in many forms and varies with age. Active play is any unstructured, child-directed movement that children do for fun - playground games like tag, skipping or ball games for instance. The energy spent in play varies - it may be more or less vigorous than organized sports, but a child tends to do it longer, choosing for themselves when to rest. And it's not just great for a child's growing body - it has social and mental health benefits too.

Active Transportation

Active transportation is any way children move from A to B using their own power. Besides walking and running, it includes things like biking, in-line skating and skateboarding. 

Sports and Other Structured Physical Activity

Children who take part in some form of organized physical activity are more likely to meet Canada's physical activity guidelines. Ontario children in grades 1 to 8 are required to get at least 20 minutes of sustained moderate to vigorous daily physical activity each school day. Elementary and middle school students have physical education classes. Structured physical activities might also occur out of school, including participation in sports teams, martial arts and dance.

Canada's Physical Activity Guidelines

Physical activity is any form of regular movement. For kids of all ages, it should include bouts of moderate to vigorous activity that raises their hear rate. The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines set out levels of activity for children as they grow:

  • Infants (less than 1 year) should be physically active several times daily - particularly through interactive, floor-based play.
  • Toddlers (1-2 years) and preschoolers (3-4 years) should get at least 180 minutes of physical activity at any intensity spread throughout the day. This should increase towards at least 60 minutes of energetic play each day by 5 years of age. Encourage different activities that develop movement skills.
  • Children and youth (5-17 years) should enjoy moderate to vigorous physical activity adding up to 60 minutes daily. At least 3 days a week, kids should:
    • Do vigorous activity that makes them breathe hard and start to sweat, like playing tag, soccer, swimming, or cycling.
    • Do things that strengthen muscle and bone, like hopping, skipping, running, gymnastics, playing and swinging on playground equipment or volleyball.