Hunter Hemmens

Healthy living packed into playboxes in Nanaimo

NANAIMO – Sports, play equipment, books available in city park playboxes.

Organizers are thinking inside of the box, so to speak, to promote healthy playtime for children.

A joint venture between Nanaimo Division of Family Practice, B.C. Children’s Hospital and Nanaimo Parks, Recreation and Environment have teamed up to provide Live 5-2-1-0 playboxes in city parks.

Live 5-2-1-0, which stands for five fruits and vegetables a day, two hours or less of screen time, one hour of physical activity and zero sugars. The boxes, designed to promote healthy play time for children and families, are a pilot project of the Nanaimo Division of Family Practice’s Healthy Cities working group, Nanaimo parks and rec, and SCOPE (Sustainable Childhood Obesity through Community Engagement), an initiative of B.C. Children’s Hospital, focused on the Live 5-2-1-0 health promotion message.

The playboxes are packed with sports equipment and books to promote outdoor activity and reading among children to get them playing outdoors. The items in the boxes are free for people to use in the parks. To gain access, users register with Nanaimo Parks and Recreation to obtain a lock combination.

The boxes are installed in Mansfield Park and Janes Park.

A third box, to be installed in Daynes Park, will be at a program launch event that will be part of an Active for Life expo on Saturday (May 14) at Merle Logan Field from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The steel boxes were provided by Nanaimo Parks, Recreation and Environment, box wrapping was provided by SCOPE, and the boxes are filled and maintained by the Nanaimo Division of Family Practice.

“Our hope is after three months, the community associations will take over management of the boxes,” said Bobbi Marcy, Nanaimo Division of Family Practices operations coordinator. “Get your kids out. That’s what we’re trying to encourage. Get the kids outside with the parents, though. Play together. Play often.”

To learn more or to register for the program, please visit

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