GREAT Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH Charity) has launched a brand new, digital learning and entertainment hub to showcase the ‘Power of Play’ and how it helps children cope with life’s challenges, big or small.
The hub is packed full of free inspiring ideas, spectacular stories and fun activities to bring the incredible power of play to children and families across the UK.
New stories on the Power of Play hub show play helping household names like Beano’s Dennis and Gnasher overcome difficult situations. Play features in re-imagined classics including the first new Peter Pan story from GOSH Charity in 15 years. Alice, with Tweedledee and Tweedledum star in a brand-new poem, narrated by Matt Lucas, and the campaign to inspire the nation’s families to explore play is supported with a TV advert voiced by Olivia Colman.
A brand-new Horrid Henry animation and an audiobook from CBeebies’ JoJo & Gran Gran will also be available for families on GOSH Charity’s new digital Power of Play hub from October.
The free animations, audiobooks and activities will help parents and children deal with themes including loss, loneliness, sadness, illness and isolation, which many children have experienced during the pandemic. Life’s everyday challenges like making new friends or moving to a new environment such as a new school, something lots of children will face this September, are also addressed through the lens of play.
GOSH’s dedicated hospital Play team, the largest in Europe, use their skills every day to support seriously ill children from across the UK to understand and cope with their treatment and recovery. This expertise has shaped each story, activity and idea on the Power of Play hub.
The Power of Play hub launches as many children return to school, after a year of restrictions that reduced children’s ability to play freely with their friends. It will include:
- A new poem narrated by Matt Lucas, who revisits Tweedledee and Tweedledum when the two are separated due to illness. The poem’s release also celebrates the 150th anniversary of Alice Through the Looking Glass.
- An exclusive animation of Hey Duggee who uses play to help Frog when her new siblings arrive, and things feel different.
- A brand-new Peter Pan story illustrated by Julian Beresford, in which Peter feels lonely but Tinker Bell devises a game to give Peter the confidence he needs to tackle his worries and make new friends.
- An exclusive Beano comic in which Dennis and Gnasher use play and pranks to come to terms with a cancer diagnosis.
- Animations from Peppy Pals show how play can help ease sadness and worry in all sorts of situations.
- Activity sheets designed to help children cope with everyday childhood challenges are inspired by much-loved children’s books and their characters, including two picture book titles by Julia Donaldson: The Go Away Bird, illustrated by Catherine Rayner and The Paper Dolls, illustrated by Rebecca Cobb.
- Step-by-step ‘how to’ video guides from GOSH’s expert Play team demonstrating play techniques parents can adapt with their own children, including how to create memory boxes to help youngsters deal with change and uncertainty, giving them the best chance to thrive.
- And coming soon, a new Horrid Henry animation in which Henry and his mother use play to work through and understand the loss of his grandmother, and a new audiobook from CBeebies’ JoJo & Gran Gran to help children use play to come to terms with visible differences.
Research released earlier in the year by GOSH Charity revealed two thirds (66%) of parents polled said they were concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on how children play will have long-term impacts on their child’s wellbeing. Three-quarters (74%) of parents said that play has “helped their child cope” as the world around them has changed beyond recognition. The charity’s new Power of Play hub shows how play can be a brilliant outlet for children to express themselves and their emotions.
Laura Walsh, Head of Play at Great Ormond Street Hospital said:
“Play is a superpower at the fingertips of all children, and it’s especially important at times of change or worry when building our children’s resilience can help them to cope with life’s challenges.
“While the last 18 months have seen children adapt to circumstances none of us could have imagined, this September they’ll also have the ordinary childhood experiences likes starting school and making new friends.
“Using our years of experience as play specialists at GOSH, we have teamed up with GOSH Charity and some much-loved children’s characters to create our Power of Play hub and bring to life the transformative power of play. We’re really proud to offer parents free, trustworthy, practical tips and resources to help their children embrace play to overcome their worries and discover all that life has to offer them.”
Matt Lucas, who narrates the new ‘Dee Without Dum’ poem created using the expertise of GOSH’s Play team to help children with their worries, said:
“What is Tweedledee without Tweedledum? As we discover in this beautiful new poem, he is worried and anxious at being far away from his much-loved brother. It was a moving experience to step back into the characters of Dee and Dum once more, and share their feelings with other children and parents who might have struggled with being far away from their loved ones, especially during the last 18 months. I hope the raucous, playful game that Alice introduces them to in this poem will inspire parents and children alike to turn to play as a way of coping during times of sadness.”
Louise Parkes, Chief Executive of GOSH Charity said:
“We know how important play is to support children who are facing medical treatment, it is why as a charity we fund the expert Play team at GOSH. Research we released earlier this year showed parents really valued the opportunity to play with their children during the pandemic and have seen how play has helped their children to cope. So it is fantastic we can now share the GOSH Play team’s expertise more widely with families right across the UK; we hope our Power of Play hub will be a helpful, fun digital destination for parents and children to visit and learn more about the wonderful ways in which play can transform their daily lives.”
You can find expert tips and resources on the Power of Play hub – a learning and entertainment platform packed full of original stories, animations, ideas, and advice. Explore gosh.org/play.