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Working together to change for the better
20 April 2017

Working together to change for the better

You might see four-year-old Izzy and her mum out running around or kicking a ball at the local playground. The pair are enjoying a new lease on life thanks to a free service to help them get active and healthy.  

Izzy was referred to the new Healthy Lifestyles Coordination Service after her B4 School Check, and her mum Sarah couldn’t be happier.

“It’s been great…my daughter definitely enjoys getting active. I get in and give it a go too.”

Their story is just like many of us. Their family used to be active, but their busy lifestyle got in the way.

 “We used to be active before I bought my first car over a year ago. Life just gets too much when you’re studying and doing the preschool run. That’s where I really quite struggled: finding that time since my life got busier.”

Justin is the Active Families Coordinator at Sport Canterbury. He supports families like Sarah and Izzy to make changes that will help them live a happier, healthier life.

“Izzy and her mum have done such a great job. They really work together as a family to motivate each other and have fun while getting active.”

“When I first met them we had a really positive and honest chat about their current lifestyle and how we could work together to make a few changes that would make a big difference.”

As part of the new service, Izzy and her mum are visited by Justin every week.

“He’s not judgmental at all,” Sarah says. “When you think about being active, you often think you have to be outside. Justin introduced us to random things that we can do outside, and indoor games for the wet weather.”

One of Izzy’s famous games is the Butterfly Game. Her mum says she’s taught everyone she knows how to play.

“I quite like it too. It’s like a game at the same time as exercise.”

Izzy and Sarah are more active than ever, but admit there is still room for improvement to transform their lifestyle, particularly with diet and healthy eating. Justin has told them about correct portion sizes and Sarah now checks the sugar content by reading labels before putting anything in her supermarket trolley. She’s also started a free Triple P Healthy Lifestyles parenting course to add to her family’s newfound skills.

“I quite like doing it. It refreshes the mind. I’ve found it very helpful.”

Justin urges anyone who wants to be healthier to find ways that the whole family can get active together.

 “We worked on finding an activity that Izzy could enjoy and by the end of my visit she was creating her own games with things already available at the house and telling me and her mum how to play. It was awesome.

“One of their family’s goals was to get to the park regularly to kick a ball around. The last time I saw Izzy and Sarah they were still at the park kicking a ball when I left, and had included another family from the neighbourhood with them.

“Doing little activities like these together can make a really big difference.”

There’s lots of help for families wanting to lead a healthier lifestyle – it might even be free! Speak to your family doctor or contact the new Healthy Lifestyles Coordination Service by phoning 03 374 1603 or emailing   


The Butterfly Game

Want to play along to Izzy’s favourite rainy day game?One person can play by themselves, but it’s a lot more fun with other people. So get the whole family involved!

First, get everything ready

  1. Visit to download and print everything. Look for the ‘Butterfly Game’.
  2. Cut out each butterfly which has a dotted line around it. There are enough for three people so simply print more copies if you have more than three wanting to play.
  3. Cut along the dotted lines shown in the butterflies. You will end up with 5 pieces per butterfly.
  4. Next, roughly cut around each of the activities on the last two pages.

Now, let’s play

  1. Each player will need a full picture of the butterfly. Put this on the ground near you.
  2. Scatter all of the cut out pieces (butterfly and exercises) upside down on the ground so you can’t see what’s on them.
  3. It’s time for the first player to take their turn. Turn over one butterfly piece and place it in the correct position on top of your butterfly image. Take note of the number on this piece.   
  4. Then turn over one activity card. Complete the activity shown for the number of times on the butterfly piece (this can be done individually or everyone together).
  5. The next person takes their turn, doing steps 6 and 8.
  6. Repeat until everyone has completed the butterfly on their sheet.