Celebrate the Longest Day of Play!

You know that frightening (yet strangely comforting) moment when you hear yourself channel your own parents when you utter a random phrase to your kids? That moment came for me last Sunday when I heard myself (i.e. my mother, circa 1981) call out, “Okay guys – school day tomorrow – come in when the street lights come on!” When the street lights come on…I hadn’t heard that phrase in over 25 years. Wow – brings me back.

So, having had that experience just last week, imagine the nostalgia pumping through my hide-n-seek playing, ring-tossing, swimming, cycling roots when I heard about ParticipACTION’s Longest Day of Play. This annual event is celebrated June 21st  which is the longest day of the year.  And right there, plain as day on their webpage, they mention the street lights phenomenon. Go figure!

My friends and I often comment (more like complain) about how our kids don’t embrace outdoor play the way we did back in the day. We remark on how running outside the moment you woke, begrudgingly heading home for meals after your mom called your name 100 times, then playing till (hopefully a few minutes after) the street lights came on was just life – just the way it was. Why is it not so for our kids? How do we change this? How do we bring back play?

Fortunately, I work for the Halton Region Health Department and have access to highly technical academia regarding the fix for this problem. I’ll try to summarize for you – here goes:


We all know that children learn what they live. Kids mimic what they see grown-ups doing. So, what’s the best way to get those video game-playing, tablet screen-swiping, TV-watching, technology-consuming kiddies outside? Go with them. Play outside together. Let’s make outdoor play as immediately available, effortless and natural in our lives as grabbing a TV remote, game controller or tablet. We can do this!

Since the Longest Day of Play lands on a Saturday this year, the opportunities are endless. Check out the ParticipACTION website for loads of great suggestions to do this thing up right! Cycle, hike, swim, play whatever sports you like, bat around a softball, badminton birdie or break out the bocce balls. Why not celebrate this World Cup year with a family game of soccer?

Whatever you do, do it together. Carpe diem! And if it rains (fingers crossed that it doesn’t) enjoy some active rainy-day fun anyway. Jump in a puddle.  It won’t hurt ya!

After the longest winter of my life, I could not be more thrilled to say, “Happy summer solstice peeps!” Let’s get outside and celebrate the Longest Day of Play!  Enjoy.

Share your plans for the Longest Day of Play:

  • Leave us a comment below
  • Tweet with us @haltonparents
  • Email us at haltonparents@halton.ca
  • Call the HaltonParents line for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). Simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

About this blogger:

Paula D’Orazio RN is a public health nurse with the Early Years Health Program at the Halton Region Health Department. Wanna know more about her?  Read her blogs! She’ll tell ya! (She kinda likes to talk.)



This entry was posted in Children & Tweens, Emotional Well-Being & Mental Health for Your Child/Tween, Emotional Well-Being & Mental Health for Your Teen, Parenting, Parenting Your Child/Tween, Parenting Your Teen, Parenting Your Toddler & Preschooler, Play, Growth & Development, Teens, Toddlers & Preschoolers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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