GOSH Charity launches new edutainment program for kids

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH Charity) is launching a new learning and entertainment platform today, 8 September to showcase the “Power of Play” and its role in helping children cope with life’s challenges, big or small.

The play hub has new stories from national treasures such as Alice with Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Peter Pan, Hey Duggee, and Beano’s Dennis and Gnasher. A brand-new Horrid Henry animated story, and an audiobook from CBeebies’ JoJo and Gran Gran, will also join the lineup on GOSH Charity’s new digital power of play hub in October. 

The stories are derived by creative agency adam&eveDDB in conjunction with each property and Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH)’s play team – the largest team of its kind in Europe, who use their skills every day to support seriously ill children from across the UK to understand and cope with their treatment and recovery. 

Each of the new stories shows how play techniques can be used to overcome a specific challenge that can be relevant to all children across the UK, such as anxiety, loneliness, and fear of the unknown.

  1. 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, it was written by Andy McAnaney and illustrated by Christian Sewell at adam&eveDDB and is narrated by Matt Lucas.
  2. The first new Peter Pan story produced by GOSH Charity in 15 years, Peter Pan Loses The Lost Boys, is illustrated by Julian Beresford and written by Andy and Christian at adam&eveDDB. In the story, Peter feels lonely but Tinker Bell devises a game to give Peter the confidence he needs to tackle this. 
  3. An exclusive Beano comic, in which Dennis and Gnasher use play and pranks to come to terms with a cancer diagnosis
  4. An exclusive animation of Hey Duggee who uses play to help Frog tackle anxiety when her new siblings arrive. 
  5. Coming soon, a new audiobook from CBeebies’ JoJo & Gran Gran to help children use play to come to terms with visible differences. 
  6. Coming soon, a brand new Horrid Henry animated story from Novel Entertainment, written by Lucinda Whiteley and directed by Gary Andrews, sees Henry and his mum using a memory box to help them express and understand their feelings about the loss of Henry’s grandmother.

The hub is also packed full of free inspiring ideas and fun activities to bring the incredible ‘Power of Play’ to children and families across the UK, including:

  • Animations from Swedish-based edutainment brand Peppy Pals showing how play can help ease sadness and worry in all sorts of situations.
  • Activity sheets inspired by well-known authors, including Julia Donaldson, that are designed to help children cope with everyday childhood challenges.
  • Step-by-step “how to” video guides from GOSH’s expert play team demonstrating techniques parents can adapt 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&eveDDB and Hearts and Science media, including a TV advert voiced by Olivia Colman, and print and OOH to drive awareness of the hub.

Great Ormond Street Hospital head of play Laura Walsh 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 ordinary childhood experiences like 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.”

GOSH Charity deputy director of marketing Nick Radmore commented, “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&eveDDB. 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.”

From adam&eveDDB, Andy McAnaney and Christian Sewell added, “It has been an honour to work with GOSH Charity, the hospital’s Play team and some of Britain’s most beloved characters to bring the ‘Power of Play’ to life in comics, ebooks, audiobooks and animated programmes. Whether using creative play to restore a child’s confidence, or imaginative play to explain cancer treatment, the aim was to show how it can help children deal with any issues in life in a fun, yet informative way. Enabling all children to deal with difficult feelings both big and small.”

Research by GOSH Charity revealed two thirds (66 per cent) of parents polled said they were concerned that the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on how children play will have long-term impacts on their child’s wellbeing. Three quarters (74 per cent) of parents said that play has “helped their child cope” as the world around them has changed beyond recognition. The charity’s new power of play hub shows how play can be a brilliant outlet for children to express themselves and their emotions.

After a difficult year for everyone, the charity now wants to make these techniques available to all parents. Many children have experienced loss, loneliness, sadness, illness and isolation during the pandemic, on top of everyday challenges like making new friends or moving to a new school, something many will face this September.

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