The Tap the Tap: Water Between Meals community initiative was started by an IWK community pediatrician in response to seeing babies and toddlers in the community of Spryfield, Nova Scotia who were experiencing tooth decay, poor and picky eating habits, and an overconsumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, especially juice in sippy cups and bottles. The pediatrician asked IWK Primary Health through their role with the Chebucto Community Health Team and many community partners from the Spryfield area to join a working group to discuss how to address these issues in the community. As a result, the Tap the Tap: Water Between Meals initiative was created to encourage parents and child care providers to offer young children water between meals to quench thirst instead of sugar-sweetened beverages such as juice.
The free resources below were developed for the community initiative. The resources can be used in other communities to promote the importance of offering tap water to toddlers and young children between meals and snacks.
IWK Primary Health would love to hear about how these resources are being used in other communities across the Maritimes and beyond. For more information on the Tap the Tap: Water Between Meals initiative and to tell us about your own community events please contact us at Primary.Health@iwk.nshealth.ca or fill out the evaluation form found here.
A handout for families was created by the Spryfield Community Tap the Tap Working Group. The handout contains information about healthy eating and the benefits of tap water for young children. Click on the links below for a copy of the handout:
To engage youth in the community, the Spryfield Tap the Tap: Water Between Meals working group organized an art contest at the local high school in Spryfield and challenged students to design a mascot to help promote the key messages of the community initiative. Thanks to the artists Jessica Jackson (Tap Man) and Mary Margaret Bennett (Super Squirt) for designing the winning mascots. The mascots were converted to JPEGs to order promotional materials which were distributed at community events. Adult size mascot costumes were made by Ray of Halifax to make appearances at community events. The mascots were also featured on coloring pages and activity sheets designed for young children.
Children’s activity sheets are available to print here.
Connect the Dots Maze - Help Super Squirt find Tap Man Coloring Pages
Trivia questions about water can be used to engage children, youth and families at community events and to promote healthy messages in a fun and interactive way. The questions may need to change slightly to reflect individual communities.
For the Spryfield Tap the Tap: Water Between Meals community event, promotional materials such as temporary tattoos, stickers, magnets and water bottles were purchased to use as giveaways at the event. All promotional materials were branded with pictures of Tap Man and Super Squirt mascots as well as logos to reflect sponsors from the community.
Click here to for mascot templates:
The local high school in Spryfield was involved in creating a video for Tap the Tap: Water Between Meals. The video was created for young children to promote the key health messages about drinking water and can be viewed here:
The IWK Primary Health team also created a series of videos at the IWK Health Centre in partnership with the Health Centre’s therapeutic clown Buddington. These videos can be viewed here:
Hosting a Tap the Tap: Water Between Meals event in the community is one way to encourage and promote the importance of drinking tap water. Summaries of the community events that were held in Spryfield and then later in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia as well as a template for planning your own event can be found by clicking on the icons below:
In March 2014, IWK community pediatricians conducted a presentation about the Tap the Tap: Water Between Meals community initiative. Presenters Dr. Tara Chobotuk and Dr. Heather Rose discussed evidence on the health impacts of beverage choices in children, why advocating for healthy beverage choices among patients is important and the value of a community-driven health advocacy project.
IWK Primary Health, as part of their role with the Chebucto and Dartmouth Community Health Teams would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the Spryfield and Dartmouth Tap the Tap Working Groups in the development and implementation of the Tap the Tap: Water Between Meals community initiative, resources and events. Click on the partner logos below for more information about each partner.Share