It’s March, the one year anniversary of when schools across North America shut down to prevent the spread of a global pandemic. Teachers, parents, and EdTech providers like ourselves are going to every length to prevent learning loss, a reality that will impact generations of children for years to come. But learning is not the only thing that’s been lost.
The pandemic has resulted in a play deficit for children. A USC study released in October found that 66% of parents with children age 9 to 13 say their kids are getting less physical activity compared to pre-pandemic times. That’s on top of a 50% drop in active play for children over the last 40 years.
In addition to the physical health benefits, play with peers is a critical way that children develop social and emotional skills. In a survey we conducted of 200 principals and teachers last summer, more than half said they are prioritizing SEL resources when assessing new tech tools and 90% agreed that collaboration is a priority.
The pandemic has been even more devastating for the children whose only safe space to play is at school. School shutdowns and social distancing rules have had a disproportionate impact on children from low-income families who tend to live in smaller spaces with more distractions.
At Unruly Studios, we believe every child deserves a safe space to play. That’s why we are partnering with KABOOM!, a national nonprofit that works to achieve playspace equity. KABOOM! is ensuring that kids have access to and a sense of belonging in a safe place to play by working with communities to build and improve playspaces in under-resourced or disinvested areas.
Throughout the month of March, schools around North America are competing in our Stomp Madness challenge to promote play and STEM. For every “stomp” a student makes using Unruly Splats, we will donate 1¢ to KABOOM!.
Whether students are back in school or still remote, Unruly Studios is committed to helping schools and teachers make collaborative, active play a priority.