Prolonged lockdown—But at-risk children continue to Play!

Toybank April 2021 to September 2021 Update Report

This is not a regular game of Snakes & Ladders, and that’s not a play mat. The life-sized colorful take on one of our Play2Learn Sheets has been created by our partner-teacher (from Zilla Parishad School in Latur, Maharashtra’s Singhgaon village). Children learn about healthy habits—good practices will take you up the ladder and snakes are bad habits that will pull you down. 


As the COVID-19 lockdown has prolonged, children have continued to stay meaningfully engaged and learn through Toybank Play2Learn Program, with immense support from teachers. 

Children at Zilla Parishad School in Singhgaon, Play2Learn Center in Latur, move about the life-sized Snakes & Ladders while learning about healthy habits 

One-and-a-half years of lockdown in India is the seventh-longest school closure in the world. UNESCO has called ‘interrupted learning’ one of the top COVID-19 adversities on children. However, since it’s time for blackboard classrooms, peer learning, and playing in recess for many children, they still need support to thrive in the new normal. 

Our partner-teachers unanimously state that Toybank’s Play interventions came to children’s rescue during the lockdown. Deepak Kubde, Teacher, Subhedar Ramji Ambedkar Vidyalaya, Mumbai says, “Virtual classes were dull. So, I was delighted to add Toybank to our school groups to provide Play2Learn Sheets. Children love the activities and we learn new things every day. We wish to have Toybank Play2Learn Program from day one of school reopening.“ 

Toybank's Play2Learn Program in the new normal

Our Digital Play2Learn Program turned hybrid as we delivered quality Play through 897 Play2Learn Sheets daily on 515 Support Groups on WhatsApp and conducted Digital Play2Learn Sessions as well as in-person ones with utmost safety precautions in a few of our Play2Learn Centers. These ensured children’s meaningful engagement, academic learning and equipped them with various life skills, as our Program is aligned with the NCERT curriculum & Diksha App. 

Primary children practiced the forms of alphabets by tracing them in a plate of rice
(Khushi Balbhavan, Ahmednagar)
55 Digital Play2Learn Sessions
Curated to encourage peer learning, Digital Play2Learn Sessions boost children’s learning and aid social interactions. Teachers and parents support them to log in for the sessions.

Children learned an action song on listening attentively (MNP School No 2, Ahmednagar)

58 Virtual Play2Learn Sessions facilitated by 16 corporate volunteers

40 kids interacted with volunteers through the fortnightly virtual Play2Learn Sessions to:

  • Promote teamwork and kindness

  • Learn the importance of habits and routine 

  • Recognize strengths and build self-confidence

  • Closure and gratitude to each other by creating Thank You greeting cards.

                  Volunteer Raveena conducted a memory game where children

                observed objects for 2 mins and tried to recall them all

Games restocked at our Play2Learn Centers

With Play2Learn Sessions resuming at some of our Play2Learn Centers, we restocked 1,310 games at 46 Toybank centers in Beed and 796 games at 23 centers in Ahmednagar.

Children play with games restocked at the Play2Learn centers

(Urja Balbhavan and Unnati Balbhavan, Ahmednagar)

Physical Play2Learn Sessions

With safety precautions, our partner-teachers facilitated play sessions with the Play2Learn Kit and board games at the reopened Play2Learn Centers.


Children create various types of vehicles with the Mechanix (Gandhi Maidan School and Unnati Balbhavan, Ahmednagar)

Virtual Focus Group Discussions (FGD)

Through 8 FGD with 146 teachers and decision-makers from 26 partners, we gauged how the lockdown has affected children, Digital Toybank Play2Learn Program’s support and feedback as well as suggestions to strengthen our Program and its delivery.

Teachers in conversation with Toybank’s team

Distributed 2,682 games for children to engage at home

Tribal children in Mulshi access quality games to play with at home
    • 1,160 craft games at 9 partner-schools in Malad
    • 1,441 games at schools and tribal villagers in Matheran

    • 51 games for children in the preschool age group in Mulshi-Tamhini village

    • 30 games for kids living with intellectual disabilities at Bring a Smile School 

Toybank’s Play2Smile Program Updates
Nurses distributing games across wards
In September, we restocked 183 games at 10 of our Play2Smile centers at Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children in Mumbai. Play provided stress relief and distraction to the children while facilitating communication between them, parents, and medical caregivers.

Our work across India

Premanu Foundation, West Bengal, shares children’s testimonials
The digital and translations feature of Toybank Play2Learn Kit made it adaptable in various rural and urban communities of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Manipur, Ladakh, West Bengal, and Madhya Pradesh.

Other updates from Toybank—Development through Play

  1. Ink & Doodle Workshop by Arzan Khambatta
    In September, at Toybank’s Play Ambassador and artist-sculptor Arzan Kahambatta’s Ink & Doodle workshop, 79 children from Play2Learn Centers and student volunteers learned squiggly lines, ‘stippling’ (dots), checks, and pattern techniques.

  2. Cultural Fest by student volunteers
    20 children attended a Cultural Fest that 6 student volunteers organized and included games & activities covering monuments, food habits, language, clothing of different Indian states of India.

  1. Global Good Award 2021

    Toybank bagged ‘Gold’ at the 2021 Global Good Award—COVID Crisis Champions. The UK award recognized and rewarded us for our agility in responding to the impact of Covid-19.

  2. Virtual Volunteering Support
    We sensitized 692 volunteers through 12 Power of Play Sensitization sessions to push play forward. 134 volunteers continue to support us in Virtual Play2Learn Sessions, the Buddy Program, video editing, research work, Play2Learn Sheet designing, and translations.  

Stories of Resilience 

Inaya creates a pull-up flower using a pen and paper
(Maharashtra Housing Board Urdu Medium School, Play2Learn Center in Malad, Mumbai)

Urdu Toybank Play2Learn Sheets enabled Inaya to become an independent learner

“Until recently, Inaya (name changed) had to depend on Toybank’s Program Officer (PO) or me to solve Play2Learn Sheets. But receiving activities in her first language, Urdu, has supported her and many of her classmates. Over time, Urdu Playsheets have improved Inaya’s English vocabulary and Hindi sentence formation. Solving playsheets independently is liberating for her, and she now proactively helps her friends engage with the activities and daily learns new concepts by herself.” 

Story of Resilience shared by Sabeena Ashrafi, Teacher,
Maharashtra Housing Board Urdu School, Play2Learn Center in Malad, Mumbai

Supporting Toybank in making quality play more accessible

As we continue to mainstream Play, a big family of Toybank’s supporters, teachers, government officials, volunteers, and children look forward to more avenues to give children their right to happy and healthy childhoods through Play!

Thank you and Happy Toybanking! 


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