Learning from lockdown: how did children use play to cope?06 December 2020
New project to archive experiences of pandemic for future generations
Child psychology experts are calling on members of the public to share their experiences of play and games during lockdown to help better understand how they coped with the pandemic.
The project called Pandemic Play will look at submissions from parents and children of how they used play and games during restrictions that were imposed in 2020 as COVID-19 led to lockdowns around the world.
The team from the University of Reading includes psychologists and archivists from the Museum of English Rural Life, and will curate a range of experiences that can be studied in future generations.
Professor Helen Dodd from the University of Reading who leads the project said:
“The Covid-19 pandemic has hugely affected all of our day-to-day lives. Beginning in February children started to be taught songs to help them to wash their hands for 20 seconds and from the 23rd March they stopped being able to play at playgrounds, at school or nursery, or with their friends.
“One of the ways that children cope in challenging situations is through their play. We have heard stories of children making up new games that are virus-related, playing in a way that reflects their feelings about the virus, and finding new ways to play with their friends with social distancing in place. This imagined world of children’s play gives us a unique insight into how children have been affected by and understand the pandemic and the associated restrictions.
“Because this is a unique moment in history, we want to create a collection of memories of how children’s play changed during the pandemic. The voices and experiences of children during historically significant events have often been lost. This project works not only to ensure that for the Covid-19 pandemic, children’s experiences are captured and preserved for generations, but also to showcase how children’s play demonstrates what they absorb about world events.
“We are therefore looking for adults who can share with us descriptions, drawings or photographs of children’s play during the Covid-19 pandemic that will together form the Pandemic Play Archive. The aim is to preserve this archive for a long time so that future generations can learn about children’s experiences of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.”
The team are asking members of the public to submit their experiences, photographs and drawings that showcase the ways that they adapted during the Covid-19 pandemic. Further details about how to get involved are available at: