Active Play

For young children, physical activity means active play. Active play is a child’s context for learning. It helps them explore their world and figure out how they fit into it. Active play helps children grow healthy bodies with strong bones and muscles. Many young children in Cuyahoga County live in environments where there are few opportunities for active play. Sometimes their neighborhoods are unsafe. Sometimes they don’t have the resources that they need to make play happen. Even still, some children lack a role model to teach them how to play.

Healthy Activity | Our Goal:

Early Ages Healthy Stages Coalition will support and expand our network of partners who seek to provide increased opportunities for active play for young children in Cuyahoga County.

Healthy Activity | Strategies for Change: EAHS is working to implement the following strategies to change the landscape of healthy activity for all young children.

The problem. Young children in Cuyahoga County are not getting the recommended amount of physical activity. The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends no screen time for children younger than 2, and 2 hours daily for children older than 2. In the child care setting, recommendations are 30 minutes per week. Like healthy eating habits, preferences for active lifestyles start around age 2 and build the foundation for healthy activity habits as children age. The 2014 Youth Risk Behavior Study found that 51% of Cuyahoga County 7th and 8th graders get the recommended amount of physical activity per week. (PRCHN, 2014)

Healthy Activity | Objective 1. By December 31st, 2020, Early Ages Healthy Stages Coalition will coordinate a county-wide social marketing campaign and event series that coincides with National Screen Free Week to improve community-level awareness of the importance of active play.
  • Promote National Screen Free Week, collecting outcomes and input from multiple coalition members during National Screen Free Week 2017.
  • Plan and orchestrate events for National Screen Free Week for the following program years.
  • Provide resources, materials, and technical assistance to programs and institutions participating in National Screen Free Week.
  • Track outcomes for number of participants and projects completed, as well as an evaluation of attitudes of those participating in the projects.
  • Measuring the number of programs participating in activities in collaboration with EAHS
  • Creation of a social marketing campaign
  • Utilizing social media to track online traffic of the social media campaign
  • Measuring the number of programs participating in the social media campaign
Healthy Activity | Objective 2. By December 31st, 2020, Early Ages Healthy Stages Coalition will collaborate with community partners to modify shared use agreement toolkits for use between early childhood providers and community organizations that can provide safe places for active play.
  • Identify strategic partners and institutions throughout Cuyahoga County that are interested in establishing shared use agreements for early childhood activity.
  • Develop a model in collaboration with these institutions and current tool kits for a shared use “Partnership Agreement” that is specific to early childhood wellness.
  • Identify sites that are available to children, families, and early care and education providers and share event information on an ongoing basis.
  • Generate an updated map of early childhood shared use sites and collect data on use.
  • Creation of new toolkit or modification of existing toolkit
  • Measuring the number of new shared use sites
  • Measuring the number of ECE centers participating
Healthy Activity | Objective 3. By December 31st, 2020, Early Ages Healthy Stages Coalition will provide tools, technical assistance, and seek financial/volunteer support for communities and organizations to update spaces to make them conducive to early childhood play.
  • Hold town hall forums and community meetings within different neighborhoods throughout Cuyahoga County to identify people and places that would have a desire to improve existing spaces.
  • Identify local businesses and subject matter experts willing to provide donations of materials and/or in-kind support.
  • Seek funding support for grants and subcontracts for which community organizations, recreation centers, and community development corporations may apply.
  • Distribute funding and evaluate short and long term use patterns.
  • Measuring the number of spaces updated for safe and active play
  • Measuring the amount of funding raised for community grants
  • Measuring the amount of funding distributed

Healthy Activity | Systems Change Success Story:

Cleveland Department of Recreation sponsors National Screen Free Week activities at all 24 Recreation Centers throughout Cleveland.

Staff members at The City of Cleveland Recreation Department are our local experts in all things physical activity. Over the past few years, Director Jill Lemmerman and her team have been working to make sure that recreation centers serve not only the physical health of the children, but also promote a healthy whole child. In the spring of 2017, EAHS began planning for our first official National Screen Free Week observation. We shared the National Screen Free week pledges and activity ideas and called on all of our partners what they could do to make Screen Free Week 2017 a success. The City of Cleveland Recreation Department answered the call and celebrated without screens at all 24 centers throughout Cleveland. Employees took the Pledge and gave kids attending their programs ideas about what they would be doing without screens. Kids who attended programs took Screen Free Pledges and made decorative wall displays. Baskets were put out for kids to deposit their phones and other devices and spend at least the 2 hours that they were at the Recreation Centers unplugged from their devices and plugged in to the world around them. The Recreation Centers will continue to be key leaders in National Screen Free week for EAHS.