Playwire Weekly: Tuesday 31 March
Welcome to the second edition of our new weekly bulletin, aimed at helping anyone with children in their lives stay playful during these ultra-interesting times. Read on for tips for playing at home, news and a new section: 'Confessions of a teenager on lockdown'.
a word from our director
The play workforce, small as it once was, is now expanding into every UK household that includes a child. Parents are learning to teach and play like never before. From a niche sector to a national occupation, households are rediscovering the joy and necessity of play. We are all playworkers now!
So if you’re running short on ideas, you’ve come to the right place. Our daily Play for Today post on our Facebook page has seen some of the play ideas reaching audiences of up to 16k and the feedback has been lovely.
This Playwire Weekly newsletter seems to be going down well too, with requests for it to be downloadable from our website and available to more readers – we’re working on that! One reader, Laura, wrote: “I can’t think of a better time to raise awareness of London Play than now with so many children indoors for much of the day.” Thanks for that message and others, it’s great to know we’re providing something useful to you all as we all navigate our way through this sci-fi film until normal life resumes.
Keep well, Paul
Adventure playground people! If you work at an adventure playground we'd like to hear about your challenges so that we can figure out how we can help. We'd be very grateful if you could complete this short survey. We will publish the results in next week's newsletter. And thanks to all who have done it already :)
Children's mental health in the spotlight
In the UK, children’s worsening mental health has long been the focus of concern and a new poll suggests that it has been hit badly by the coronavirus crisis. Conversely, this New York Post article wonders if the lockdown could actually push the reset button on (some) children’s anxieties, as this new radically unstructured time leads to them discovering new interests and resourcefulness.
No home no play space
The Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield, has called on the government to give temporary powers to local authorities to take over empty Airbnb accommodation and commercial short-term rentals to house families that are homeless or in temporary accommodation where there is often no space for children to play.
Playgrounds - and now some parks - close
All public playgrounds have been required to close but now some parks are closing too, limiting further some children's opportunity to play. Hackney’s Victoria Park is one of several in London to face criticism for closing over concerns that people were not following social distancing rules.
This guide from the Children’s Commissioner has suggestions for how to talk to children about coronavirus and the changes it is wreaking in their lives, as well as ideas and resources to keep them occupied.
One of London’s best-loved adventure playgrounds has launched on online play platform which includes active challenges such as… kick up toilet roll fun. Can you beat 10 kick ups? Send your videos to email@example.com and check this and more out here.
Darren Huart from Yorkshire Sport is sharing playful sport ideas via two minute videos on Twitter. We like that he uses loose parts you can commonly find around your house (like balls of screwed up paper and cardboard) to ramp up the fun. He is inviting people to share films of their efforts to join in. #ThisisPE
Group game: Online scavenger hunt
Children assemble their friends on a group video conference app like Zoom. Each child has to make up a list of 10 items to challenge their friends to ‘scavenge’ from their homes. Eg a spoon, a green lego block, a red book, a feather, a photo of a cat etc etc. The group does each challenge in turn and are ranked for speed. The child who is ranked highest across all challenges is the winner.
London Play patron and former children’s poet laureate Michael Rosen has been continuing to add to his wonderful YouTube channel. One of the latest additions is a brilliant performance of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt with the beatboxer SK Shlomo.
Michael has also donated a poem (and its name) to a new anthology of poetry from NHS staff to raise money for NHS Charities Together’s urgent Covid-19 appeal.
NB All of us at London Play wish Michael a speedy recovery, having heard that he is now stable in hospital following his admission to intensive care due to coronavirus.
In the UK children have been creating colourful rainbows to display in their front windows to help cheer others up and as they go outside for their daily exercise. In New Zealand and in several other countries it is soft toys on a ‘Bear Hunt’ theme. Great fun making and then spotting the others around your neighbourhood.
Make a coronavirus time capsule
Challenge your children to make a time capsule full of items to capture and record this strange period in their lives. Might they include hand sanitiser and #stayhomesavelives slogans? See ideas here.
Let kids loose with loose parts
Find ‘loose parts’ – around the house or during your daily outdoor exercise – and leave your children to unleash their creativity using them in art installations, dens, or elaborate role play. Things like cardboard and tape, recyclables, lids, old clothes, rocks, rope, wood, fabric, ramps, kitchen items, and art supplies all work well. Learn more here.
a teenager in lockdown
Due to the recent school closure, it has left me at home the majority of the time. Every weekday I complete my online work which takes up a few hours of my day.
After I have completed my work, I make sure to get some air which preferably doesn't have corona virus. The main problem with not having school is not seeing my friends. Modern problems call for modern solutions so we communicate by - you guessed it - social media.
I also became a Year 4 teacher and taught my brother a lesson on photosynthesis. I had to work out how to keep him interested and stop messing around.
In it together?
Bored Panda has shared some funny memes about the Queen being immortal including this one, pictured left: "When Kindergarten closes and you have to take your child to work."
Homeschooling parents find sanity in humour
Parents are taking to Twitter to share their frustrations – and some very funny jokes – about their attempts to home school children. Check out some of the best memes at Buzzfeed.
Finally.... What would the Beatles say?
The coronavirus remastering:
• Can't buy me gloves
• Don't Come Together
• She's not leaving home
• We can work at home
• You've got to hide yourself away
• A Little Space from My Friends
• When I’m 64°
• I Saw her standing over there
• I wanna hold your hand sanitiser
• Ticket To Hide
Got some ideas to share?
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