Creative play packs through 2020 lockdowns

by Creative Homes

More than 1000 children and parents received free creative play packs to support them through 2020 lockdowns.

Social enterprise Creative Homes partnered with London organisations and councils to develop and deliver unique play resources to 950 vulnerable families with young children struggling with lockdowns. Having started with a project in the South London borough of Lewisham at the beginning of 2020, the next step this year is nationwide reach through new partnerships.

Creative Homes have been working alongside families and health professionals since 2014 to develop resources that offer a less stressful, more playful approach to daily life with little ones. With funding from Arts Council England, Lewisham Council and the L&Q Foundation, they came together with Early Years Alliance to identify key areas where families’ needs were growing in response to isolation.

“We are delighted to be supporting Creative Homes through our Place Makers Fund. Projects such as this provide much needed resources for families struggling at home during the pandemic.”
Matthew Corbett, Director of the L&Q Foundation

During the first lockdown, they identified 178 families in Lewisham experiencing increased vulnerability. Many families have struggled with routines, limited access to support groups and informal gatherings and reduced contact with their local children’s centre and support workers. To tackle this need, Creative Homes developed play packs that include boxes full of games, toys and equipment, playful guides and useful tools for everyday family life, and original interactive songs and short films.

“Our goal is to support the efforts of outreach workers and provide them with the tools to engage, educate and entertain the entire family at home.”
Sally- Anne Donaldson, Creative Homes Director

While home visits and group sessions have not been possible, Early Years Alliance has also produced weekly online activities with original stories and songs from Creative Homes and sister organisation Tea Dance for Little People.

“We missed going out to groups, singing class and particularly libraries and we are experiencing a sense of isolation. The packs have really helped with routines like brushing teeth and eating healthy at mealtimes during the lockdown, and we will continue to use them for years.”
Lewisham Mother of 2 children, aged 3 and 14 months

This project’s success has prompted Creative Homes to be awarded a grant from The National Lottery Community Fund to expand the work to other boroughs.

In December, in partnership with Bromley by Bow Centre, they produced the successful Starry Night play pack. 300 packs were distributed in the community, with many people asking for more and picking up packs for neighbours. A new play pack design is now in progress to encourage East End families to get out and about into nature and increase physical activity.

Through a private commission from Culture Mile, another 500 play packs went out to North London families and a new partnership with peer support charity, Parents 1st will see Creative Homes reaching families in the UK as far as Derby. The original baby pack working so well in Lewisham will be tailored for expectant mums to reduce stress and feelings of isolation and increase bonding with babies through pregnancy.

Accessing a variety of funds and partnerships has been essential in delivering these resources during lockdown. The success so far has been owed to the strength of local partnerships and people coming together to design and disseminate sustainable resources to keep supporting families way beyond lockdown.

To discuss how these packs could benefit your family, organisation, charity or service, please contact
Creative Homes supports families to give children the best start in life. Their playful solutions reduce daily stresses in the home and help create happier, healthier families with under 5s. Find out more about the packs visiting the Play Packs page.

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