Going Viral – 8 free resources for work with children, young people and families.
We’ve noticed that the global pandemic has seen a huge upturn in the creation of free resources to help families put children and their needs first too. In this article, we profile free resources for work with children, young people and families that we've seen, used and can recommend.
During the Coronavirus Pandemic, children remain at the heart of everything we do. We know that children, like their parents and carers, are currently experiencing a lot of fear, worry, and anxiety as a result of the Coronavirus crisis (see our research here). Understanding the concerns shared with us, we have produced a number of pandemic related resources that can help parents and carers manage some of the stress and help explain things in a way that children can understand.
But just as we have been busy, we’ve noticed that we’re not the only ones creating– other organisations have been doing the same. It seems an alternate epidemic of free resource production is now underway! So, in today’s article, we’ve decided to share with you some of our picks from the many free resources for work with children, young people and parents that are now available.
Our youngest children are seeing people all around them wearing masks. This playful book is designed to help pre-school aged children as they work to understand the faces they see (or no longer see!) all around them.
We’ve been thrilled to hear stories from all around the world of people who have found this book helpful in exploring mask-wearing with children in home and early childhood settings alike. We recently heard that it’s even been translated into Persian!
Coming from the UK, the creators of “Boom!” have written, illustrated and published a children’s book, aimed at helping children make sense of the time at home with their families, where emotions and difficulties were often amplified or confusing. The authors – including an Australian Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, a Public Health doctor in London, a children’s Author, an Illustrator and a Graphic Designer – collaborated to produce a simple book for kids, to assist in understanding the impacts of this unusual time.
The story follows Jaz and Jet, twins stuck at home with their family, trying to cope in various ways with big feelings. As time goes on, they develop better ways of making sense of the lockdown, and how best to make time and space for challenging emotions. If you enjoy this free book, the authors encourage you to share it widely with anyone you think might benefit from reading it!
You can read a copy of the digital story here. The makers of the book are aware that digital exclusion means that there are many families who may not have access to books, and so are also launching a crowdfunding drive aiming to print 5000 books through England, Scotland and Wales (foodbanks, Children’s charities and shelters). You can visit the gofundme page here.
Raising Children’s guide for physical distancing and children with disability, autism and other conditions
The Raising Children Network is a website supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. In response to the pandemic, they’ve developed a dedicated section of their website to hosting free resources for work with children and young people as well as guides for families (you can find it here). The page includes links to find the Government information for those accessing the NDIS, those worried about symptoms and age-appropriate information for those wanting to guide their families on physical distancing and isolation.
Of particular value is their guide physical distancing and children with disability, autism and other conditions which is full of tips and information for those who need to explain physical distancing with children and teenagers with disability.
Smiling Mind – Kid’s Care Packs
Smiling Mind is an Australian not-for-profit who have created several great resources during this coronavirus epidemic. Their ‘Thrive Inside‘ is a special program to help adults, parents and carers stay psychologically healthy while spending extended periods of time at home.
But, it is their Digital Care Packs to support kids through COVID-19 and beyond we want most to feature. These Care Packs provide tips and guidance on how to build positive mental health in children. They offer a range of simple, evidence-based activities that can be used with children aged five to 12 years to provide immediate relief against worry and anxiety, or used to support a proactive positive mental health approach.
Each pack explores related topics and contains downloadable activities for children as well as connected meditation content found in the free Smiling Mind App.
CREATE Foundation COVID FAQ Sheets for Young People in Care
CREATE Foundation is the national consumer body representing the voices of children and young people with an out-of-home care experience. During COVID they’ve created Question and Answer tip sheets containing some of the most common questions they’re receiving from young people in care.
The tip sheets cover information and contact numbers for employment concerns, rent difficulties, worries about younger siblings in care and mental health issues too. There’s also information and links for placement guidance for young people who are transitioning out of care.
You can download the tipsheets from their website here.
ABC Kids Listen – Coronavirus Episodes
During the pandemic, they’ve produced two 9 minute segments with a focus on Coronavirus that are child-friendly listening and designed to help parents, teachers and carers provide information to children.
The first segment is titled ‘What is Coronavirus?‘ and the second, which we particularly love, is titled ‘Coronavirus and all we can do to stay happy and healthy.‘ Both children and adults are involved in the recording and the simplicity is suitable for early childhood and primary aged listeners.
AH&MRC Deadly Handwashing with Tyson Demos
The Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of New South Wales has curated a huge range of resources for Aboriginal communities. You can find the complete collection on their website here.
Of particular mention is this ‘Deadly Handwashing’ video with Tyson Demos of the Illawara Hawks:
We also love their kid’s colouring sheets available here.
Activity Ideas for Children
When compiling this list, we noticed that there are literally hundreds of curated activity lists available and circulating online. Keeping kids busy is a primary concern for parents who are juggling the supervision of children and pets, supporting home learning and also working from home. We understand what a huge mental load managing these competing tasks can be and are mindful to not create additional pressure to ‘do’ more.
We believe that moments of connection with your little ones are more important than elaborate activities and for this reason, we’ve tried to support parents to consider interesting but simple ways to connect with each other in our recently published Alphabet Activity books. There are three in total; one for pre-school aged children, one for primary aged children and another for high school aged young people. You can find all three on the pandemic related free resources for work with children on the coronavirus page of our website here.
This list could have continued for a very long time, as there are so many great resources being produced! If you know of others you’d like to share with the community, please feel free to post them in the comments below.