Great Ormond Street Hospital has launched a learning and entertainment platform featuring characters from children's literature, to help youngsters cope with life’s challenges.
The "Power of Play" hub goes live today (8 September) and offers new stories about national treasures such as Lewis Carroll's Alice (and Tweedledee and Tweedledum), Peter Pan, Hey Duggee and Beano’s Dennis and Gnasher.
A new Horrid Henry animated story and an audio book from CBeebies’ JoJo and Gran Gran will also join the line up on the hub in October.
The stories have been created by Adam & Eve/DDB, the characters' IP owners and GOSH's play team, which helps support seriously ill children from across the UK to understand and cope with their treatment and recovery.
Each story shows how play techniques can be used to overcome a specific challenge relevant to any children across the UK, including anxiety, loneliness and fear of the unknown.
Celebrating the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Alice through the Looking Glass, Alice, Tweedledee and Tweedledum star in a new poem Dee without Dum. The poem tackles separation anxiety and was written by Andy McAnaney and illustrated by Christian Sewell at Adam & Eve/DDB. It is narrated by actor and comedian Matt Lucas.
Meanwhile, the first new Peter Pan story in 15 years has been created in a work produced by GOSH Charity. Peter Pan Loses the Lost Boys is illustrated by Julian Beresford and written by Andy and Christian at Adam & Eve/DDB. In the story, Peter feels lonely but Tinker Bell devises a game to give Peter the confidence he needs to tackle this.
As well as animations, the hub is also packed with ideas and fun tasks, including activity sheets by well-known children's authors, such as Julia Donaldson. Step-by-step “how to” video guides from GOSH’s expert Play team demonstrate techniques parents can use with their own children, including how to create memory boxes to help youngsters deal with change and uncertainty.
The platform is supported by a campaign by Adam & Eve/DDB and Hearts & Science. Activity includes a TV ad voiced by actor Olivia Colman, print and OOH to drive awareness of the hub.
Research released earlier in the year by GOSH Charity revealed two-thirds (66%) of parents said they were concerned that the Covid pandemic's impact on how children play will have long-term impacts on wellbeing. Three-quarters (74%) of parents said play has “helped their child cope” as the world around them has changed beyond recognition.
The charity is now making its Power of Play hub available to all parents, given that many children have experienced loss, loneliness, sadness, illness and isolation during the pandemic, on top of everyday challenges such as making new friends or moving to a new school.
Laura Walsh, head of play at GOSH, said: “Play is a superpower at the fingertips of all children, and it’s especially important at times of change or worry, when building our children’s resilience can help them to cope with life’s challenges.
“While the last 18 months have seen children adapt to circumstances none of us could have imagined, this September they’ll also have the ordinary childhood experiences likes starting school and making new friends.
“Using our years of experience as play specialists at GOSH, we have teamed up with GOSH Charity and some much-loved children’s characters to create our Power of Play hub and bring to life the transformative power of play. We’re really proud to offer parents free, trustworthy, practical tips and resources to help their children embrace play to overcome their worries and discover all that life has to offer them.”
Nick Radmore, deputy director of marketing at GOSH Charity, added: ‘We hope families across the UK have as much fun using the resources on our hub as we had in creating them with the hospital’s Play team and the team at Adam & Eve/DDB.
"Dennis and Gnasher were childhood heroes of mine, so I hope their story all about the Power of Play helps parents and their children cope with life’s challenges, big and small."