Joshua Barr (M.A. M.Ed)
COVID Play has become an increasingly regular activity in young children's lives . For some this play is interesting and something to study. For others it's disappointing and sad, a negative effect of a negative couple of years. Peoples opinions will likely fall on the same side as their opinion of COVID policy. For some COVID policies went and continue to go too far. For others COVID policies were important and continue to be.
The fact children are playing around the idea of COVID is no surprise.
Walking into a classroom (5-6 year olds) to find the dinosaur project hit some lockdown problems with mandatory COVID testing for all dinosaurs.
The students built a testing tent from cardboard,
A testing table from some construction toys.
A line up station from cardboard to ensure a safe distance is maintained.
Play is based around what children experience, see and do in their daily lives. This is why so many children role play cooking, setting the table and other daily life habits they observe around them. It is through play children learn to understand the world and how things work.
Play is also therapeutic. Studies have shown how children who have had negatvie experiences such as abuse or exposure to war use play as a way to process what happened to them and begin to heal.
We should also remember that play has a lot of offer and COVID Play is no different. In many ways it has enhanced our understanding of germs, cleaning, sanitizing and washing hands. It opens up questions to be explored like "why swab our mouth?" Questions for doctors and nurses, hey that's action research! It also develops community. Protecting ourselves and protecting others. Volunteering. I'm sure there is plenty I have missed.
It's not for me to decide whether COVID polices were right or wrong. They happened. The world responded and different countries dealt with it in different ways. We can say that for many people both adults and children COVID polices have had a negative effect on their mental health to varying degrees. For some people and children it has had little effect. Either way COVID play is important and serves a purpose for the children who play around this topic. It should be respected, supported and explored if the child wishes. That's my view anyway.