By Cat Sewell, Play Specialist

Play is more important than ever, as we isolate around the country and around the world. Children learn and develop through play. Right now they have less people to interact with in their lives, and the people in their household may be the only people they are seeing and playing with in person.

Children need to remain active and creative in their play right now. It is a great chance to build connection in families and build play capacity around everyday objects in the house and in nature. The best toys are simple, open ended objects that can be used in lots of different ways.

Play is also how children cope and adapt to change and stress in their lives. They need to make believe and draw and run and climb. They need to laugh and have fun with those closest to them.

Take the time right now to build strong connections and memories of play with the children in your lives, be it at home with family, or remotely with others via phone and video calls. There are also many wonderful programs and offerings online that will help to give you ideas and tips.

Use the ideas from Calvin and Kaison’s Play Power below to springboard into play activities with your children at home.

Cat Sewell, Play Specialist shares her great ideas for encouraging play at home during isolation.

Make a Calvin Car

Find a large cardboard box or a basket/drawer at home, add circles to the side for wheels and a circle up front for the steering wheel. Draw headlights with crayons or markers. Can you make car sounds as you drive?

How to:

Find cardboard box, or basket/drawer that is big enough for the child to sit inside. Cut out cardboard circles to stick to the side as wheels. Use a plastic plate or a circle of cardboard as a steering wheel. Add decorations and details with markers or crayons.

  • What you need:
  • Large cardboard box or basket
  • Scissors
  • Extra cardboard to make shapes
  • Glue
  • Markers or crayons

How does this activity help my child? Benefits for child development and learning:

  • Fine motor skills are developed through cutting with scissors and drawing shapes
  • Pretend play assists with social and communication skills, as well as role playing real life scenarios
  • Sense of joy and connection in spending time with family to create an object together. Once made, this play car can provide hours of fun for children.
  • Symbolic play (using one object as another thing) helps children develop imagination and creativity and boosts brain development

Make a Calvin Car

WATCH: Tune in to see the new series Calvin and Kaison’s Play Power from Monday 20th April at 9am on Nick Jr. to uncover more Play inspired activities.

Play Ultimate Hero

Who is an everyday hero in your life? Perhaps it is someone who gives you food everyday? Or cuddles and smiles? Or protects you or delivers important things? Maybe someone who fixes you up when you are sick? Draw a picture of your favourite person and tell someone why they are your hero. Now it is time to make your own Super Play Power Hero cape! Write your name on the top, and add pictures and words about what everyday hero traits you have. Use our list to help you get started. Pin your cape on, get active and show us your moves as a Super Play Power Hero!

How to:

  • Have a discussion with your child about who they see as a hero in their life. Share your ideas on the people who you see as having SUPER powers in the
  • Ask your child to draw a picture of their favourite person. Have them and tell that person (on the phone if they are not in the household) why they are a hero.
  • Ask you child what their SUPER PLAY POWER HERO name would be.
  • Find a piece of fabric approximately 1m x 1m in a light colour. (You could use an old bed sheet or scarf). Trim it into a triangle shape with a flat top.
  • Write the child’s super hero name at the top with a permanent marker (being careful that young children don’t put the markers in their mouths)
  • Draw or write words, pictures or symbols of their super hero traits onto the fabric. Use our list as a handy guide.
  • Pin the shorter edge of the cape to the child’s shirt using safety pins and watch them transform into a SUPER PLAY POWER HERO! Encourage physical activity and exploration.

What you need:

  • Paper & pencils or crayons
  • Permanent markers (supervised by an adult)
  • Light coloured fabric 1m x 1m
  • 2 safety pins

List of words and symbols to prompt everyday hero traits: SUPER helper, SUPER speed, SUPER kindness, SUPER strength, SUPER cleaner, SUPER imagination, SUPER creativity, SUPER thinker, SUPER problem solver, SUPER builder, SUPER protector, SUPER fixer, SUPER snuggler, SUPER smiler, SUPER cook, SUPER sleeper, SUPER flexibility, SUPER carer

How does this activity help my child? Benefits for child development and learning:

  • Empathy and understanding is grown through discussions of what makes people SUPER
  • Communication skills are developed through discussions and sharing stories with others
  • Fine motor skills are developed through drawing, writing and colouring.
  • Imagination and role play are developed through embodying the super hero character.
  • Children gain confidence and positive feedback from families who recognize their skills, strengths and attitudes.
  • Active bodies improve fitness, strength, coordination, balance and agility.

Play Ultimate Hero

Enjoy every day play

Add a sense of play and playfulness to your everyday routines at home.

Sing a song as you set the table, add bubbles or a scent like lavender to the bath, set up a hair salon for kids to style each other’s hair (or yours while you work from home), jump and skip on your walk outside, give tickles and cuddles as your children change into pajamas, or let the children help and dig in the garden! Every day is a day for play.

When you bring play into your everyday life, you also bring smiles, release tensions, increase physical activity and provide much needed social connection. Remember, children are the experts at play, so follow their lead and let’s unleash the play power!

Enjoy every day play