World Play Day, Play2Learn Session and more in May

A few children from Latur played at the Toybank Play2Learn Center after more than a year

May always has us more excited as World Play Day is celebrated on the 28th of the month. Even though children continue to be indoors, Play must go on, no matter what. So, we encouraged them to prioritize playtime in their daily routine with the Toybank Play Planner that they filled up and shared with us. Greater joy came from receiving photos of a physical Play2Learn Session from Latur where children played together after more than a year. During a ration distribution drive at a Zilla Parishad school, a few children accompanying their parents saw the board games at our Play2Learn Center and requested to Play as they missed playtime. With their masks on, they got together to create a model of a neighborhood with blocks. While these children could play together, Toybank Buddy Program had our volunteer Prabhutva and Small Buddy Prakash discussing important life lessons through child-friendly animated movies. 

Complementing academic learning

Children are keener to learn new topics through Play

Apart from bringing children joyous moments, our partner teachers noted that as children find the activities interesting and fresh, they are keener on learning new topics such as about mammals through Word Search: Mammals. They also improved their spellings through this. Children are also becoming more independent as learners through the self-directed Play2Learn Sheets. For instance, they revised multiplication tables and learnt equations during vacations with the help of ‘Search Equation of 2’, a crossword-style grid. This also supports educators who are concerned about students losing yet another year of quality academics. As Mahendra Vishwakarma, a teacher from Toybank Play2Learn Center in Latur says, "Children are surrounded by negative news daily and stuck to screens for their education. Toybank's playsheets are a great way to help them play, learn and enjoy their childhoods during vacations." 

The downside of virtual learning is evident in many of our children, like Farman (name changed) who excelled in the traditional classroom. With the lockdown disrupting his routine, he was overwhelmed with the sudden changes and he struggled to keep up. As Farman missed playing and interacting with his friends, Toybank Play2Learn Sheets gave him new play activities to engage with. Encouragement from his teachers also enabled him to learn, study, and play independently. His teacher, Mr Sanket, tells us, “The play activities are strengthening Farman’s foundation in the subjects he struggled in.”

"Children are surrounded by negative news daily and stuck to screens for education. Playsheets are a great way to help them play, learn and enjoy their childhoods during vacations." 

—Mahendra Vishwakarma, Teacher, Toybank Play2Learn Center, Latur

Visual memory and creativity through Play

Shailesh used ingredients at home to make paints
The Toybank Play2Learn Kit focused on visual memory with the activity ‘Brain Teasers’, creative skills with ‘Thinking Color’, ‘Complete the Pattern’ and ‘Letter Match’, and social-emotional skills with ‘Things that Make me Worried’, ‘Behavior Chart’ and ‘A–Z Happiness,’ among others that enhanced their language skills as well as Math. For teacher Vishwakarma, an important playsheet was ‘Coloring Habits’, as it helped children unlearn bad routines due to being cooped up at home. These activities taught children to identify and reduce harmful habits. 

 It was a month of creativity, as children also engaged with the craft games we distributed in April. Most of all, Shailesh (name changed) from Latur channeled the painter in him. With no source of income due to the pandemic, his parents, though encouraging of his hobby, couldn’t afford to buy him art material anymore. The Class 7 child was dejected, but in Toybank’s playsheets, he found substitutes to paints that were easily available at home—like kumkum for red, turmeric for yellow, and chalk for white. While Shailesh was elated that he could paint, we were gratified to receive ‘Fingerprint Name’ from him as he traced his name. The child also encouraged his classmates to explore their creativity through Toybank's Play2Learn Kit. 


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