The Blog

Worldwide Day of Play

i Sep 21st No Comments by

The following piece was written by Caitlin Perry, a graduate student of Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and former intern of Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey.


On Saturday, September 25, 2011, on-air broadcasting will stop at Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, TeenNick, and Nick Jr., as well as online at Nick.com, Nicktoons.com, TeenNick.com, and NickJr.com. Nickelodeon and its networks are creating this “blackout” in an effort to support Worldwide Day of Play (WWDP). Children require 60 minutes of physical activity every day, and Worldwide Day of Play encourages children and their families to participate in physical activity rather than sit in front of a television or computer screen.

One in three children in the United States is overweight or obese. Increasing physical activity during childhood decreases the risk for overweight and obesity, as well as weight-related health problems later in life. In addition to providing an opportunity to be active, limiting screen time cuts down on the number of advertisements for unhealthy food and beverages that children view. This reduction in exposure to food advertisements may protect children against marketing schemes and play a role in improving their diets.

With overweight and obesity rates increasing in the United States, Worldwide Day of Play is taking a step toward obesity prevention. Families can spend the day being active together, and parents can model and promote physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Outdoor Activities

  • Basketball, soccer, flag football, baseball/t-ball – These organized sports teach children the importance of team work, while offering a fun opportunity to exercise outside.
  • Take a trip to the park – Parks offer numerous ways to be active; swing across the monkey bars, run around, or push each other on the swings.
  • Obstacle course – Parents and children can set up an outdoor obstacle course in their own backyards. Stations may include dribbling a ball around cones, jumping through hula hoops on the ground, playing horseshoes, and sack races.
  • Go for a bike ride – Biking is a great cardio activity that also helps improve balance. Make sure that everyone wears a helmet for safety.
  • Walk after meals – Walking around the block after breakfast, lunch, or dinner encourages both family togetherness and physical activity.

Indoor Activities

  • Jump rope – Jumping rope is a great cardio workout, can be done inside, and is fun!
  • Hula hoop – Have a hula hoop contest; whoever can keep the hoop up longest wins.
  • Take the stairs – Avoid using elevators and escalators while out and about during the day. Use the stairs for an extra physical activity opportunity.
  • Follow the leader – Family members take turns being the leader while the rest of the family follows. The leader can perform different fun and silly actions (jumping jacks, skipping, etc.) while moving around the house.
  • Dance – Turn on some music and get moving!

Encourage your family to participate in Worldwide Day of Play. Keep a tally of your different activities during the day, and see how many different ways you can be active!

Spending time with your family away from the television is not only good for your physical health, but it helps strengthen the emotional health of your family as well. The bonds that form when parents and children play together help protect families during stressful times when child abuse is more likely to occur. Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey commends initiatives like Worldwide Day of Play that promote valuable family togetherness time, and we encourage you to set aside time every day to play with your children.