What to Submit

Play is incredibly important to children. It’s the way they make sense of the world and connect with each other. In a crisis, like the current pandemic, children can use the way they play to express their understanding of what’s going on and how they feel about it. This is the kind of spontaneous play we’re looking for. We have three main research questions:

– How have children of all ages taken the coronavirus into their play lives, their language and the way they go about their everyday activities? 

– How did/do children manage to stay playful during the lockdown, when they couldn’t/can’t see their friends and relatives? 

– What games are children playing at school, and have they changed because of the pandemic?

• For children younger than school-age, we are asking parents, grandparents, carers and educators to send us their comments and observations about how the children in their care have been playing during the pandemic. Here’s an example sent in by a parent:

“I’ve noticed my five year-old daughter playing washing hands with her one year-old brother. Off to the bathroom they trot. It did involve her making enough bubbles in the sink to put bubble beards on them both. There were lots of hand-washing rules outlined to the one year-old.”

• For school-aged children, we’d love to hear from you about what you were playing at home during lockdown and what you’re playing at school with your friends. You might need adult help, as there are several ways to send us your information: email message, sound recording, video.

Please tell us about:

– what you played while you stayed at home 
– the games you’re playing at school now
– how you play the games.

Your game might be a special one that no-one else knows (so far, we’ve found 3 new Tag or Tip games).

If you’re telling us about a rhyme (e.g. dip dip or a clapping rhyme), please tell us the words, and any actions that go with them.

You can send us photos of your drawings as well, if you’d like to.

Below are some questions to think about before you decide what you’d like to submit.



What are some of the games you played when you had to stay at home? 

Did you or your family have a favourite game or activity? 

Were you able to play or talk with your friends? How did you do it?

What games have you been playing online/console/phone? Have you been playing interactive games with your friends?

Did you see or do anything interesting or unusual in your neighbourhood?

Do you know any jokes or stories or memes about the coronavirus (including the naughty ones)?

What kinds of games did you play with your toys? 


What’s happening in the schoolyard? Are there any new rules about playing? 

Are you playing the same games from before the holidays? Have you had to change the way you play them?

What are some of the games you’re now playing at recess and lunch time?

Have the teachers taught you any new games to play outside?

Are there any words or expressions you and your friends use when talking about the coronavirus?



How did the children in your home play during the lockdown period?

Did they make up any new games or activities?

Did they use Skype or Zoom or FaceTime or another program to stay in touch with their friends?

Did they play screen games by themselves or play online games with friends? What games are they playing and what platforms have they been using to talk in real time?

Did you notice the children playing games about the coronavirus, or talking about it as part of their play?

Did you see or do anything interesting or unusual on your walks around the neighbourhood?


Please also see the schools section of this website for more resources for teachers and their classes.

How have the COVID-19 restrictions affected what is happening in the schoolyard during recess and lunch play?

What games are the children playing outside?

Are they playing on the play equipment?

Have they adapted any of their games to accommodate the play restrictions?

Have they started playing any new games?

Have the teachers introduced new games that are safe to play?

Are the children using words or expressions directly related to the coronavirus?

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