Recreation Management - Ideas and Solutions for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

August 2017


Tackling the Active Play Deficit

Recent Rec Report Feature Stories

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Survey Examines Parents' View of Play - July 2017

Kids Swim Free in Tucson This Summer - July 2017

Building Communities to Encourage Physical Activity - June 2017

California Campus Converts Courts to Golf Practice Space - June 2017

Where Are the Nation's Top City Park Systems? - June 2017

KaBOOM! Brings Play to Military Kids - May 2017

USA Basketball Open Court Sessions Get Youths Into the Game - May 2017

Educators Push Legislators to Support Health & Physical Education Programs - May 2017

NFHS Revises Rules for Competitive Spirit Squads - May 2017

Pool & Spa Professionals Fight Immigration Restrictions - April 2017

Grants Available to Boost Dog Parks - April 2017

New Aquatic Management Program Aims to Improve Safety, Efficiency - April 2017

16 Cities Nationwide to Receive Park Improvement Funding - April 2017

Study Confirms: People Pee in Pools - March 2017

Volunteers Get Hands-On History Experience in Virginia - March 2017

Park Hop Inspires Park Usage - March 2017

National Health Campaign Reaches 228,000 Youth in Three Years - March 2017

Outdoor REC Act Signed Into Law - February 2017

Happy 125th B-Day B-Ball! - February 2017

Study Shows Majority—Even Athletes—Are 'Overfat' - February 2017

Gym-Goers Like YMCA Best; Planet Fitness Winning Market Share - February 2017

Georgia State Park Celebrates Its Dark Sky Status - January 2017

Texas Tech Focuses on Functional Fitness - January 2017

Preventing Pool Closings - January 2017

Majority of U.S. Households Visit Attractions - January 2017

City of Henderson Awarded for Water Safety Programs - December 2016

Grant Brings Outdoor Fitness Area to Park - December 2016

Alliance Recommends Actions to Improve Kids' Activity Stats - December 2016

Retractable Enclosures Help YMCAs Cut Costs, Boost Membership - November 2016

Huge Project Seeks to Rebuild Monarch Habitats - November 2016

Report: Camping More Popular Than Ever - November 2016

ACSM Predicts 2017 Fitness Trends - November 2016

CDC: More Than One-Quarter of 50-Plus U.S. Adults Don't Exercise - October 2016

Park District Recognized for Collaboration Efforts - October 2016

Americans Support Increased Local Funding for Parks & Rec - October 2016

High School Sports Participation Up for 27th Consecutive Year - October 2016

National Park Service Celebrates 100 Years of Successful Partnerships - October 2016

Study Shows High Obesity Rates Among Student Athletes - September 2016

Forest Service Celebrates 100-Year-Old Campground - September 2016

Study Shows Artificial Turf Composition Influences Injury Prevention - September 2016

Study Shows Artificial Turf Composition Influences Injury Prevention - August 2016

Council Announces Release of Second Edition of Model Aquatic Health Code - August 2016

Study Finds Seniors, Women Less Likely to Use Parks - August 2016

Level Up Your Park With Pokémon Go - August 2016

By Chandler Garland

At the beginning of this summer, the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) commissioned the 2017 Let's Play State of Play survey to determine just how much time children and tweens spend doing active play. The survey uncovered a larger deficit in activity than America has seen.

Let's Play was launched in 2011 by DPS, in partnership with KaBOOM! and Good Sports, to encourage nationwide play.

"Through Let's Play, we are committed to providing kids and families with the tools, places and inspiration to make active play a daily priority," said Vicki Draughn, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group vice president of corporate affairs. "By providing underserved communities with safe, accessible playgrounds and sports equipment, we're making play possible for more kids and doing our part to help eliminate the play deficit."

The parents of American children and tweens revealed on the survey that America's youth are filling their free time with non-active play, when they have any free time at all. According to the statistics collected in this survey, seven out of 10 parents cite busy schedules as the number-one impediment to active play. America's youth are busier than ever before with demanding school work and extracurricular activities. The push to be involved and excel in grades has left students with very little time to ride bikes through the neighborhood or hit the local playground. More than 50 percent of tweens (roughly ages 10 to 13) recorded on the survey that they wished they had more time to be active and play sports.

In tandem with this issue of time, kids are drawn more than ever to technology and electronics, which encourage inactive play. Roughly 81 percent of percent of kids consider gaming to be part of playtime. Due to this, screen time for kids nearly doubles from weekday to weekend, while active play only increases by an hour on average. Active play has fallen on the national list of priorities for many families, which is a danger to children's health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highly recommends that kids should get at least 60 minutes of activity and exercise every day. Lack of exercise and play leads to high stress, obesity and other diet-related complications.

Since its commission in 2011, the Let's Play initiative has fought to change this deficit and its resulting problems through efforts such as building and improving playgrounds, providing grants for sports equipment, and taking yearly surveys to monitor the state of play. It has been able to provide more than 10 million children with more opportunities to play in safe and accessible play grounds. As of 2017, DPS has invested $28 million in grants for new or improved playgrounds and sports equipment, impacting hundreds of youth-serving organizations across the United States, as well as Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. DPS and its partners are especially interested in providing these services to underdeveloped neighborhoods that otherwise couldn't afford to give children active play opportunities.