ParticipAction helps kids build their ‘best day’

A new online tool shows youth if their ideal activities are as healthy as they could be.

ParticipAction might be known for telling kids not to visit its website, but the organization has launched a new online tool as part of its mission to get kids to cut down on screen time and get more active.

“Build Your Best Day” is a gamified web platform that lets kids plan their ideal day. Visitors to the site can choose from 180 different activities that range from the everyday – like playing games, dancing and helping with chores – to more fantastical – like playing hockey with a pro, swimming with a mermaid or climbing a beanstalk.

It then shows if their choices provide enough physical activity and sleep they need in a day – or if it provides too much time in front of screen or otherwise inactive. It also offers resources and tips, like letting kids know not to do screen-based activities to close to bedtime.

The strategy and concept was created by Zulu Alpha Kilo, with production of the site handled by Jam3.

The platform was developed in partnership with the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute (CHEO-HALO), the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). It was guided by the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth, developed by these organizations to outline what a healthy 24-hour period looks like for 5- to 17-year-olds.

“Build Your Best Day” breaks the guidelines and activities that correspond to them into four categories – Sweat, Step, Sleep and Sit – to make them easier to understand and remember for both kids and parents, while the illustrated design on the web platform is meant to get kids engaged.

“There’s a ton of hard evidence behind these guidelines,” said Rachel Shantz, director of marketing at ParticipAction. “But we know that kids won’t pay attention if the information isn’t easy to understand and fun to engage with. This experience lets them learn as they play.”

A digital campaign promoting “Build Your Best Day” is currently planned to launch in the fall during back to school season.