Barriers to Play

There are a whole bunch of reasons why kids don’t play as much as they used to. Kids today are busier than ever with schoolwork and scheduled activities – and their parents are even busier. The world is believed to be a more dangerous place where kids are not allowed to roam as independently as they once did. Canadian weather can keep kids indoors more frequently, especially when the lure of screens – video games, television, the internet and smartphones – is constant. What might have once been a natural activity for kids, to run outside and play, has frankly been engineered out of modern life.

Abandoned swing (640x427)
Worried About Safety? Explore how this might be keeping kids from playing.
Safety Concerns
Busy parents
No time to play? Get tips on how to make time for playtime.
No Time to Play 
3 asian children lying in snow
Brrr. Wet and Cold? Find out how to warm up winter with play. 
Weather Barriers
Siblings playing video games
Turn it off! We are challenging Canadian families to Unplug & Play! 


With only 5% of kids meeting the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines of 60 minutes of physical activity EVERY day, play might be one of the easiest, most affordable and fun ways for our kids to get moving – if we all make the effort to Bring Back Play.

We’re exploring some of the things that might be holding our kids back from playing more often and are giving parents some ideas on how to break down the barriers that are stopping their children from playing more often.

What’s the value of play?

Active play may be fun, but it’s certainly not frivolous. Play allows youth of all ages to try new things, test boundaries and use their imaginations. In addition to the physical health benefits, active play offers cognitive, emotional and social development benefits. It has been shown to improve and foster motor function, creativity, decision-making, problem-solving and social skills, the ability to control emotions and preschoolers’ speech. And, it’s lots of fun! Unfortunately, 63% of Canadian kids free time after school and on weekends is spent being sedentary. We need to get our kids moving, and we’ve got plenty of great ideas, tips and information on bringing more play into your children’s lives.

Read up on Play

Are you a health professional? Get involved.

Learn more about the Bring Back Play campaign and check out the ParticipACTION Tool Kit for tips, tools and campaign material you can use for your organization.