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Pause to Play

What is ‘Pause to Play’ at School?

Pause to Play Logo

“Pause to Play” is an opportunity for schools to challenge students to turn off their screens (TV, Video games, Computer, iPod, Cell phone, tablet) and spend that time doing a variety of other activities instead. Teachers, students and parents can compete against each other or against themselves to reduce their overall screen time. Teachers are encouraged to participate with their class or the entire school for the challenge, you can judge the winners based on the variety of different types of activities, the creativity and participation. Please see below for a list of resources you can access electronically to support your school. These resources contain curriculum and activity ideas, healthy eating ideas, and physical activity and media literacy resources.

Please feel free to download and print these resources as needed. If you require further assistance, call us at 1-800-660-5853 or email us at promotion@healthunit.org.

Why Participate?

According to the 2016 The ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth:

  • Only 9% of Canadian kids aged 5–17 get the 60 minutes of heart-pumping activity they need each day. 2012–13 CHMS.
  • Only 24% of 5–17-year-olds meet the Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recommendation of no more than 2 hours.

They recommend children/youth remove screens and media devices (e.g., cellphones, computers, TVs) from bedrooms in order to improve sleep and reduce sedentary time.

According to the Ontario Physical Health Education Association, some of the many benefits of physical activity they highlight on their website are that it:

  • Contributes to optimal growth and development
  • Builds healthy bones and muscles
  • Develops strength and endurance
  • Lays foundation for positive attitudes toward physical activity resulting in lasting healthy habits
  • Promotes learning and creativity in school
  • Improves academic performance
  • Increased alertness and mental function
  • Reduced anxiety and stress
  • Enhances confidence and self-esteem and elevates mood
  • Improves attention span
  • Reduces disruptive behaviours
  • Increases positive attitudes regarding school

Steps to Plan a Pause to Play Challenge at School

  • Collect resources and ideas of what activities you can plan for the challenge. Explore the resources below and the links for further ideas.
  • Teachers, principals, parents and students set a meeting to get together to plan school-wide activities. Individual teachers can then plan what they can do in their own individual classrooms. Have their students help plan and lead the challenge. Ideas to plan:
    • Kick Off
    • Schedule of school wide activities and classroom activities
    • Plan how you will track and reward students, classrooms, teachers, entire school
    • Plan final celebration
  • Have students and teachers fill out promise forms.
  • Implement planned activities in the school and classroom.
  • Fill out log sheets to track individual and group activities.
  • Reward achievements and celebrate the positive changes individuals have made.

‘Pause to Play’ Challenge Resources for Schools

Resources for Schools to Send Home

The Health Unit understands that there may be certain situations where computer or screen use might be necessary for your work or school. Do your best to use it less than normal. Avoid screens for recreational use and make use of different lines of communication whenever possible such as talking on the phone, listening to the radio, and face to face communication. Good luck!

Other Helpful Resources for Schools

Several key research studies conducted at the Stanford Prevention Research Center have identified effective methods to decrease children’s TV watching, and have demonstrated the real benefits of cutting back on TV.

If you have any questions please call 1-800-660-5853 or email us at promotion@healthunit.org.

Pause to Play at Home

Do you or your family want to take the Pause to Play Challenge? Pause your screens for one week and try to fill this time in with more physical activity, healthy eating and opportunities to feel good about your body. The Health Unit has many resources with great ideas and helpful, practical tips to make your screen free challenge at home a success. Feel free to download, photocopy, and use any of these resources as needed.

More Resources

More information on Healthy Eating and information for feeding your kids.

The Health Unit understands that there may be certain situations where computer or screen use might be necessary for your work or school. Do your best to use it less than normal. Avoid screens for recreational use and make use of different lines of communication whenever possible such as phone, radio, and fax. Good luck!