Play Initiatives

Be Active Kids and the North Carolina Early Childhood Active Play Alliance work to increase awareness in the community, as well as with teachers and parents for and about the importance of children's play while increasing the time and opportunity children spend engaged in active play. Over the past 8 years, Be Active Kids and the Active Play Alliance have developed three strong grassroots initiatives to increase play opportunities; PlayDazePlayMobilePlayPods. Through our play initiatives over 100,000 children and families have had the opportunity to engage in active play!

What is Play?

  • PLAY is communication and expression, combining thought and action; it gives satisfaction and a feeling of achievement.
  • PLAY is instinctive, voluntary, and spontaneous.
  • PLAY helps children develop physically, mentally, emotionally and socially.
  • PLAY is a means of learning to live, not a mere passing of time.
  • PLAY, along with the basic needs of nutrition, health, shelter and education, is vital to develop the potential of all children.


Need for Play:

  • North Carolina has the 17th highest rate of childhood obesity in the country. 
  • Children are missing out on the benefits of play that were enjoyed by many generations before, with so many of today’s children being much more structured, supervised and constrained, with few opportunities for free play.
  • Adults’ attitudes towards children’s play range from ignoring it, to dismissing it as trivial or a waste of time, to curbing it as something dangerous or subversive, through to appropriating it as a mechanism for learning or socialization.


Benefits of Play:

Barriers to Play:

  • Health benefits from physical activity
  • Pleasure and enjoyment
  • Emotional regulation
  • Stress response systems
  • Attachments
  • Learning and creativity
  • Lack of time
  • Lack of informal places to play
  • Uninteresting playgrounds
  • Lack of inclusion
  • Fear of risk, injury, litigation and social ridicule


UN Convention on the Rights of a Child- Article 31


  • Preservice Teachers Learn to Use Be Active Kids in Limited Spaces

    I really enjoyed our class meeting. It was interesting to discover that you can do just about anything with children in the classroom where there may not be much space to encourage them to be active.  A change that I will make in my own life is to be more active, as well as my daughter. I will share this information with my friends that have children such as yoga animals, or Simon Says.

    Cathy Sesta, Parent & Child Care Provider
  • Early Childhood Physical Activity Institute

    Thank you for inviting me to be part of this year’s Institute. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the experience. You’re doing amazing work and I hope I’ll be able to continue contributing to it a bunch in the future.

    Rae Pica,
  • Plenty of Resources That I Can Use and Share

    This class was informative, and I look forward to being physically active with young children. On Friday, I volunteered at a Parents Night Out through my daughter's school. When I got there the kids were watching a movie. I got them up to play Simon Says and Red Light Green Light, however, after that I was stuck on what to do. I wish I had the knowledge I gained from this class, to have made it more exciting.

    I enjoyed your Land and Lake Activity.

    Venessa Wright, Parent & Child Care Provider
  • Be Active Kids Trainers Rock!

    I loved the training.  I would have loved it more if I had the other teachers from my center there also.  I am really looking forward to taking my kit to work and sharing it with my staff.  I liked Brittney, she reminded me of myself as far as being very active and motivated.  When I am at work with my little ones we stay busy all day.  I feel like singing my instructions and dancing my actions helps them to focus better on what I need for them to do.  Britney was great and I learned a lot from her. I am always trying to find new little ways to get the kids moving.

    Tiffany Daniel, Sandhill Community College

    The Early Childhood Physical Activity Institute was just wonderful!  Thank you again for including me in such an important effort to create and sustain leaders in EC physical activity. I would love to return to NC anytime that you think I can help. I enjoyed meeting the folks who work with you and hearing about all of the great things that are planned. 

    Linda Carson, Choosy Kids
  • Be Active Kids has Much to Offer

    Congratulations to you and everyone who has been promoting PA for young
    children in NC. You have much to be proud of here. Be Active Kids is an excellent source of ideas for promoting active play in unstructured settings. The Be Active Kids website also has resources on promoting unstructured active play. I encourage folks to review these resources. 

    Diane Craft, SUNY Cortland & Active Play Books