Early in March, the CreateCATT team found itself busily working through the night to get the Stay at Home Play at Home resources online. Little did we know how much they would be needed, how many languages they would be translated into, and how many countries they would reach.
Now more than ever children and parents need to harness the power of play. Many adults haven’t played since they were young, so a refresher course is helpful. With so many great pre-schools and places to entertain children, the opportunity for parents and kids to play together at home isn’t what it used to be. But that has changed now that so many of us are in lockdown. We can’t go out, we can't meet friends, communal playgrounds are closed, and worst of all children may not have playmates. For many, it feels like being in a cage.
I remember one wet winter when my young children were bouncing off the walls after three days kept inside by the rain. I have never rushed so fast to the local park when the rain stopped. I remember the relief on other parents’ faces as their children let off a LOT of energy. That was after just three days indoors. We now face a month, maybe more. The challenges to stay safe, well and sane are huge, and people with gardens, with spring on the way or in tropical climates are comparatively lucky. Others are cooped up in small spaces with limited access to outside light – we have a generation at risk of mental-health issues, domestic violence, physical fitness challenges and short-sightedness from too much Internet.
But there is a Chinese proverb that another word for crisis is opportunity, and as a great advocate of play I believe this strange time presents us with an opportunity to rediscover the power, magic and healing potential of play.
As an art therapist and play-based educator I have seen first-hand how creativity and play changes lives: children find their voices through play, depressed children learn to laugh, unfocused children find their rhythm and their organisational skills. Play should not be confined to pre-schools, playgrounds and play therapy rooms: we have to bring it back into our homes. CreateCATT’s co-director, Carrie, is a sensory processing specialist, so she sees the importance of moving, singing and creating for children with disabilities and trauma.
Between us we have collated our 70+ years of expertise into this Stay at Home Play at Home resource to inspire playfulness across the globe. This FREE 30-day resource is on Facebook, in English, Georgian, Albanian, Spanish, Hindi and Kannada. French and Tagalog translations are coming soon. https://www.facebook.com/groups/stayathomeplayathome
Stay at Home Play at Home gives you a simple game or activity that doesn’t need many resources. It explains what your children learn through that activity, and how it helps them. It follows our Developmental Play approach that will help you understand the developmental stages of your children. Much play is pre-verbal, so it is felt, experienced and processed more deeply than through words. To find out more, watch our free webinars (here’s a link to one of them https://youtu.be/bXmsqJuHb-M)
We also offer a parenting course on www.createcatt-academy.com that will help you become the playful parents you need to be at this time.
Play can make a difference, play can build resilience, play can make lockdown more manageable – and even enjoyable – for all of us at this uncertain time.
Sending you all our warmest wishes and hoping you can all stay safe, well and playful in these difficult days
Caroline and Carrie