2,000 Creative Play Packs are being distributed to babies, young children and their families across Scotland.
Each pack includes a set of 20 Wee Inspiration idea cards and supporting resources to encourage fun, creative play between adults and little ones.
Whether it’s painting with big sticks, creating a ‘love letter’ for distant family members, building secret sensory dens or creating works of art out natural materials the most important thing is providing some inspiration that gives families the chance to spend time being playful and creative together, particularly during stressful times when many are living with anxiety, loss or financial difficulties.
With support from the Scottish Government’s Wellbeing Fund and the National Lottery Awards for All, Starcatchers has been able to extend its reach to families who may not have easy access to the internet.
The 20 printed idea cards are complemented by a range of open-ended materials including arts materials and other ‘treasures’ to inspire imagination and new ideas.
They’ll be distributed to those families who are likely to benefit most by partners including Children 1st, CHANGE Childcare and Nurture Glasgow East, Edinburgh City Council and Falkirk Council.
Rhona Matheson, Chief Executive of Starcatchers, said: “Engaging in arts and creative activities is hugely important for young children’s development and overall wellbeing.
“When they are shared experiences with a parent or carer, this can really help strengthen bonds and attachment.
“When Lockdown was first imposed we knew that, with less external support, many parents with little ones may feel isolated and stressed. That’s when fun, inspiration and being able to spend really positive time together is more important than ever.
“We hope these Creative Play Packs will provide exactly that this summer and reach families who have missed Wee Inspirations online.”
Leana Grant, who is the team leader at the Children 1st North Ayrshire Family Wellbeing Hub, said: “We are delighted to be part of this important partnership with Starcatchers to bring more creativity and fun into families’ lives this summer.
“The creative arts are a brilliant way to build the strong family relationships that are so important to babies and young children’s development and emotional wellbeing.
“Many children and their families are living with anxiety, loss or financial difficulties, so the Starcatchers play packs are an important way for them to connect and to have fun together during, what may be a strange and difficult summer.
“During the summer Children 1st family support teams will explore the packs with children and their families through video call, or at a physical distance in the garden or in local parks.”
Alison Hay, Senior Policy and Participation Officer with CHANGE Childcare and Nurture Glasgow East, said:
“CHANGE are delighted to be part of this initiative, helping bring low-cost, creative play opportunities to local families.
“Having access to the Wee Inspirations packs brings an opportunity to share positive, nurturing, creative experiences. They encourage families to relax, have fun, express and explore feelings as we come out of lockdown.”
Councillor Adanna McCue, Falkirk Council’s spokesperson for Education said: “This is a great way to support families with young children who may not be able to access fully online material.
“We can ensure that these reach the right families and encourage learning through creative play and fun. It will also add to the materials we have been supplying throughout Covid-19 to those isolating.”
For families who can access online content, they’ll be invited to connect with Starcatchers early years artists online and access new Wee Inspiration ideas, films and live streams.
Distribution of the packs across six local authority areas will begin this Friday, 10th July with deliveries to Glasgow East, Edinburgh, East Renfrewshire, Falkirk, North Ayrshire and South Ayrshire.