Take the Pledge to #UnplugAndPlay With ParticipACTION - Toronto Teacher Mom

Take the Pledge to #UnplugAndPlay With ParticipACTION

Saturday, March 29, 2014

"Mom, I'm bored! Can I watch some TV?"

As if I haven't heard that before.

It seems that when the weather doesn't want to cooperate, my kids want to default to staying indoors and watching their favourite shows or playing video games. Because, even though their rooms are a mess, they would much rather vegetate on the sofa and avoid chores for as long as possible. Ask them to invite a friend over to play and suddenly they are oblivious to the television screen. Kids just wanna have fun, right?

Although 92 per cent of Canadian kids say they’d rather play with friends than watch TV, Canadian children watch almost eight hours of screens (computers, smart phones, video games, TV) each day.

Did I read that correctly? Eight hours each day? That's a third of their life! As a teacher and a mother, I find it rather disturbing to learn how much time is wasted in front of the screen. We all know how active play is fundamental to every child’s physical, cognitive, emotional and social development. But do we all now how to encourage the entire family to unplug and play for at least 60 minutes a day?


As part of its national campaign to Bring Back Play, ParticipACTION is asking Canadian families to take the Unplug & Play pledge from March 24-30. They have provided useful resources and tools on their site to help you in your challenge such an Unplug & Play Calendar with seven days of active play ideas and a customizable Certificate of Play to reward kids for an active week. You can also download ParticipACTION’s Bring Back Play app with a collection of outdoor play ideas on the go, such as Sardines - it's like Hide and Seek in reverse!



Since we love keeping our kids active, ParticipACTION offered to help our family Unplug & Play by sending us to Sky Zone Toronto for some old-fashioned fun and fitness. We kicked off the week by leaving our screens at home and literally bouncing off the walls for an hour straight! 



So tell me, how do you encourage the family to unplug and play for at least an hour each day?

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32 COMMENTS

  1. When we were kids we did our homework and we were out of the house from morning til night on weekends and after school til dinner and then back out til bed time. But kids have become over privileged where parents buy them what they want without working for it so here comes, ipads, ipods and cell phones as early as 6 years old. Video games, TV and these tech devices have become the built in baby sitter. I feel when you have children that's your first job, to raise human beings who contribute to society and a parent has to get off their butt and get out and supervise their kids because we have so many nut jobs in this world they can't play safe or without fear, and if it takes working less hours and they don't get those $100 pair of jeans or iPad so what? Maybe some jump the rope, hide and seek, hop scotch and marbles are due.

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  2. Oh wow, sky zone looks like a blast! I don't have any tips on the subject. It's funny that looking back at my childhood, it seems like the last thing any kid wanted to do was stay at home!

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  3. how the times have changed but then back in the day we didn't have any electronics like today and we only got maybe 12 channels on tv if we were lucky, outside playing from sun up till sun down was the way to go. Alot of children today are spoiled and disrespectful and never happy with what they get, I know because I have one, it got so bad I couldn't even raise my voice to her and she would call the police or CAS..oops got off track there...anyways yes I believe children need to do more active things get out and enjoy the great outdoors

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  4. now more than ever it's important to get kids of all ages active and moving

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  5. I love to unplug and play! And skyzone is one of our favourite places for entertainment without a plug ;-)

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  6. Wow 8 hours a day, definitely a trend we need to stop. I personally think everyone in the family spend way too much time with their electronics and we all need to unplug and play! (Judy Cowan)

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  7. I love this idea. Funny, I remember when I was a kid, I was gone out the door first thing in the morning, and had to be back before the street lights were on. I would show up for a quick meal, and off to play again. I didn't watch much TV.
    (Debbie W)

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  8. It is a different world form when I was growing up for sure, you couldn't keep me in the house, Video games... horrible :/

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  9. I worry about our younger generation, they do not get outdoors as much to play and exercise in the fresh air like us old skoolers did...There definately needs to be some balance restored to keep them healthy!

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  10. My 4 year old son could go to the park 3 times a day so it's so easy to get that one hour in each day!

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  11. So today I ran 5K and after that, I took my boys for a walk for 1.5 hours to check out the yard sales and flowers growing on people's lawns.

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    1. That's amazing! I'm training for a trail run next month and my daughter has taken an interest in training with me. It's so nice!

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  12. We have never been in Skyzone. We should try it for sure.

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    1. It's a lot of fun but weekends tend to get really busy.

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  13. We bought a mini trampoline for the kid to play on, it was pretty cheap around $30!

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    1. That's a bargain! I'm tempted to get one, too. The kids would love it!

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  14. Eight hours of screen time is just scary...I used to limit the time that my daughter could play on her PlayStation and that was before we even had a computer. The YMCA in our area had fantastic day camps and Sara loved them. We went for drives, picnics and parks a lot. So much more for children to experience than a screen.

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    1. I agree. Eight hours per day is beyond excessive. This summer, I've enrolled my son in soccer and my daughter in tennis. Plus, we're getting out more for family walks, runs and bike rides. Have to enjoy this weather while it lasts!

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  15. My daughter was given a backyard trampoline from a friend and now her yard is a gathering place for the neighborhood kids.

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  16. 8 hours?? wow, we don't allow that here.. not t.v or computer. We go to the beach, the park, we take the bus to the next town over and hang out at the mall or see amovie.. there's always some sort of event going on. Today we are headed downtown for our 8 year old to see the Old Cars.

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  17. I actually watched an episode on Undercover Boss - Jeff Platt - Skyzone was intrigued with the trampoline exercising for kids. Having a young 10 year old son, I can appreciate the importance of healthy eating/exercise. Wish there was a Skyzone in Edmonton - would be a total hoot. But a quick 20 minute walk to the spray park in Rosslyn Community will have to suffice - exercise and fun/later followed by SUPERSOAKERS with Mommy. *Hope I can keep up lol*

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  18. times sure are different today than they used to be

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  19. this looks like great fun! My daughter really wants a trampoline for christmas!

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  20. When my kids have been tv zombies for too long and they won't get moving I just unplug the tv. Works every time!

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  21. The stats are scary aren't they? With my grandkids, we are often at the beach running around, skipping rocks and hunting for sea glass! We don't have a problem with unplugging at all!

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  22. My daughter often has "screen free" days in her home, the kids read, play together and go outside to get some fresh air

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  23. This a great article! More families need to try this!!

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  24. So glad ParticipACTION is still around! I vividly remember it throughout my childhood!

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  25. I so want to bring my boys here to bounce, bounce and bounce some more!

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  26. Adults can also spend this amount of time - I know I do even during the summer because of my 2 favourite hobbies - reading (ereaders contribute a large amount of time in front of a screen) ) and watching tennis on my laptop. Neither of which were available when I was a child so we were outdoors a lot though this was in Britain and their mild winters

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  27. I can remember doing this when I was in grade school (about 35yrs ago). I am very happy to see that it survived and still going strong for todays children.

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  28. Looks like you guys had fun at the Sky Zone! We try to limit their electronics use to 30 minutes each, after that they are sent outside to enjoy the nice weather

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