Helping Families Play Every Day: COVID-19 Response

by East Lothian Play Association in Tranent, Scotland, United Kingdom

We did it
On 27th May 2020 we successfully raised £1,250 ( + est. £200.00 Gift Aid ) with 40 supporters in 28 days

Play helps children stay well and cope with emotions. Our story book illustrates low-cost, easy ideas to help families play every day.

by East Lothian Play Association in Tranent, Scotland, United Kingdom

New stretch target

With additional funding we can provide play packs to accompany the storybook for families most at need. 

Packs would include items for den building and imaginative play, carefully chosen to be open ended so children use their imagination and creativity. 

A play pack would include a sensory foil blanket, pegs, bubbles, chalk, peg dolls. The storybook will provide inspiration for multiple ways to use these items. Combining items from the play pack with everyday things from around the home as our story shows can provide hours of fun while also learning.

The impact of coronovirus on children’s play

Play supports children’s physical and mental wellbeing. It is equally vital for a healthy, happy childhood, during times of crisis. ELPA is aware that this is a highly stressful time for families, particularly those who might be facing disadvantage or who are front line key workers.  Often, in situations like this, play is overshadowed by other priorities or concerns that families might be facing.  The difficulties caused by lack of play include: lack of physical activity, strains on family relationships, loss of routines and sleep patterns, and lack of positive play opportunities which support children’s ability to cope. This adds additional pressure on families already experiencing difficulty. For families with inadequate indoor space or lack of access to outdoor space, and families with additional support needs (parents, caregivers and children), this is a particularly challenging time.  

Why this support is needed now

With the current situation we are facing, it’s even more crucial we support opportunities for children to play. Children use play to understand the situations they face and to explore, understand and manage  their emotions. At this time, children require more opportunities for child-led, responsive opportunities for play which can support them with their mental health and wellbeing.  

ELPA has spoken to the families and support services, and they tell us there is a need for support and resources around children’s play. During this difficult period, there is a need to ensure that children are still able to play at home in ways that support their physical and mental health, and family wellbeing.

Children also regularly tell us just how important play is to them.  Watch the below video clip to hear this in their own words.  This is why we need to ensure that children are still playing despite the restrictions we are facing.


Our project

This storybook has been created for young children (1-5 years) and adults to enjoy together, providing inspiration for play at home. 

To ensure all items are accessible, the book focuses on loose parts play. In loose parts play, children play with everyday items which have no set instructions (wooden spoons, pots and pans, pebbles, twigs, ribbons, cardboard boxes, etc.) Children can bang, build, sort, move and hide these objects. Young children are often engaged in these activities for surprisingly long periods of time.

The book was created from observations of children’s play and conversations with children, families and play practitioners. We worked with community groups before the coronavirus crisis to test ideas, and the story and approach evolved with the people we met. Feedback at these sessions was really encouraging. One participant at a community reading commented:

“I had heard of loose parts play and felt I should try it but had no idea where to start. From the book I can see it's things I have at home and can give it a go.”

The aim of the project is to support more families to “give it a go”, to spark the play together.

 What difference will your help make?

One book costs £2.50 to print and distribute. Every donation will help us to produce more books and reach more families. We are working with schools, family support services and community resilience hubs to ensure this resource reaches families most in need of help right now.

At a time of high levels of anxiety and stress, playing together supports positive relationships within families and feelings of wellbeing. With your help, we can support more families to play every day.

With additional funds, we will be able to create play packs to accompany the storybook and support playful interactions. These packs have been carefully designed to engage children’s creativity and imagination, providing hours of possibilities.  Each play pack costs £8 to produce.


Benefits of the project 

  • Playing helps children cope with new situations, to work through ideas and feelings. 
  • Playing is equally essential to children’s mental wellbeing during times of crisis. 
  • Increasing understanding of the importance of play helps spark ideas for play at home.
  • Observing and engaging with loose parts play can reveal a child’s interests and worries to their parents and carers.
  • Playing  supports positive relationships within families.
  • Playing creates moments of joy and laughter -  during worrying times playing supports our wellbeing and resilience.

Thank you!

Before we go, we would like to take the time to thank you in advance for reading through our Crowdfunder project.  We hope, like us, you can see how beneficial this project will be for children and their families.  Please do consider sharing this with other people who you think might be interested.

Keep well!

From all at East Lothian Play Association

We ask project owners to honour their rewards wherever possible but please note that all pledges are donations and there is no guarantee that you will receive any rewards from the project owner. Please see Crowdfunder's Terms of Use for more information regarding rewards for pledges.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£5 or more

Thank you, Thank you, Thank You!

Donating us £5 will provide 2 families in need with a storybook, supporting them to spend time together, playing every day. All contributors will receive a huge expression of thanks on our social media channels as well as a warm fuzzy feeling in their hearts!

£10 or more

0 of 200 claimed

Sending Thanks via Your Letterbox!

Donating us £10 will provide 4 families in need with a storybook, supporting them to spend time together, playing every day. All contributors will receive a personalised heartfelt thanks on one of our play postcards, sent direct to them through their letterbox as well as a warm fuzzy feeling in their hearts!

£20 or more

2 of 80 claimed

You are a Play Champion!

Donating us £20 will provide 8 families in need with a storybook, supporting them to spend time together, playing every day. Each contributor of £20 will receive a special ELPA ‘Play Champion’ badge to wear with pride and show your support for children’s play - this badge is special, not only does it show you are a champion, it makes you feel like one too!

£50 or more

4 of 10 claimed

All behold, the Play Superstar!

Donating £50 allows us to provide 20 families in need with a storybook, supporting them to spend time together, playing every day. Each contributor will receive a copy of the storybook which is not available elsewhere as well as a lovely feeling of superstar status!

£100 or more

1 of 10 claimed

Introducing .. the magnificent Play Superhero!

Donating £100 will allow us to provide 10 families in need with a storybook and a playpack, supporting them to spend time together, playing every day. Each contributor will receive a special ELPA 'Play Champion' badge and a copy of the storybook which is not available elsewhere. Apologies, but we are all out of ELPA superhero capes!

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