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.
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.
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.
From all at East Lothian Play Association