The Worldwide Day of Play (WWDOP), an initiative of the entertainment brand, Nickelodeon, is designed to encourage active outdoor play. Every year since 2004, Nickelodeon has designated the Worldwide Day of Play signaling children and families to move away from their television and computer screens by having the Nickelodeon networks and websites go dark for three hours.1
On September 24, 2011, Nickelodeon’s 8th annual Worldwide Day of Play event was held at more than 5,000 local venues across the United States with more than 50,000 children and families attending the event held in Washington, D.C. on the Ellipse, just south of the White House. First Lady Michelle Obama joined more than 25 of Nickelodeon’s television stars as well as several superstar athletes to participate in the daylong activities designed to encourage active and healthy lifestyles. A wide variety of games and activities were offered including baseball, soccer, dance, lacrosse, cheerleading, and martial arts.2
Nickelodeon was joined by 50 partner organizations, Let’s Move!, and the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Some of the partner organizations included NFL Play 60, Major League Baseball, PGA, the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Kiwanas, YMCA, Special Olympics, and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.3 The National Park Service offered free admission to all national parks on that day to also celebrate National Public Lands Day.4
Let’s Move! and the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition had launched the Million PALA Challenge in September 2010 to motivate one million American children and adults to commit to being active for 60 minutes a day for children and 30 minutes a day for adults, five days a week for six out of eight weeks. Mrs. Obama announced at the Washington, D.C. event that the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) has been earned by more than 1.7 million participants, and that the ongoing program has helped to “shine a spotlight on the childhood obesity epidemic.”5
The Worldwide Day of Play began as a part of Nickelodeon’s The Big Help initiative. This kid-led movement for positive change focuses on four key issues: the environment, education, health and wellness, and community service.6
- 1. “Nickelodeon Celebrates Largest Ever Worldwide Day Of Play In Washington, Around The World On Sept. 24.” Nick Press. < http://www.nickpress-worldwidedayofplay.com/ > 30 Sep. 2011.
- 2. “Fifty Thousand Kids and Families Join First Lady Michelle Obama, World-Class Athletes and Nickelodeon’s Stars for Biggest Worldwide Day of Play Ever!” Nick Press. < http://biz.viacom.com/sites/nickelodeonpress/NICKELODEON/Pages/showpdf.aspx?FileName=Worldwide Day of Play Post Show Release_September 24_FINAL.pdf&ListName=Corporate PressReleases&ItemID=136 > 3 Oct. 2011.
- 3. “Worldwide Day of Play D.C. Partners.” Nick Press. < http://www.nickpress-worldwidedayofplay.com/partnerlist.html > 30 Sep. 2011.
- 4. Op. cit., “Nickelodeon Celebrates Largest Ever Worldwide Day Of Play In Washington, Around The World On Sept. 24.”
- 5. Op. cit., “Fifty Thousand Kids and Families Join First Lady Michelle Obama, World-Class Athletes and Nickelodeon’s Stars for Biggest Worldwide Day of Play Ever!”
- 6. Op. cit., “Fifty Thousand Kids and Families Join First Lady Michelle Obama, World-Class Athletes and Nickelodeon’s Stars for Biggest Worldwide Day of Play Ever!”