In the blink of an eye, we have lived with Covid-19 pandemic for over two years. For many children, they have had to stay at home for long periods with little time spent outdoors, while their parents have had to take care of them round the clock.
Gloria Liu, a social worker with the Hong Kong Christian Service, had observed that frictions between parents and their children were increasing under the strain of the pandemic.
For someone who has been involved in parenting education for over 30 years and knows more than a few things about the magic of play, an idea soon came to her: why not design a box of games and activities for parents and children to have fun at home? "Children are naturally playful and play is great for parent-child relationships,” Gloria said.
Gloria and her colleagues wasted no time designing and organising the production of the play box. Today, more than 130,000 kindergarten students in Hong Kong have received the beautiful creation, which includes story books that can be brought to life with short videos and augmented reality (AR) technology. Parents and children can enjoy regular time together by playing a game from the box every day.
During the pandemic, children had to take online classes from home as schools were often closed. This has limited their social life and affected their learning progress.
Quick to spot their needs, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust took an agile and collaborative approach to make a difference. Working with the Caritas Family Service and Hong Kong Christian Service, and with the support of Tai Kwun, The Trust launched the Jockey Club Interactive Wonder Box initiative in September 2020. To date, over 80% of local kindergartens have taken part in the initiative.
The initiative began with two thematic play boxes. The first tours children around six scenic locations in Hong Kong including the Peak, Tai O and Tai Kwun in the form of a story. The second takes children on a magical train journey to experience different story scenes around the themes of hope, gratitude and joy.
In addition, a teaching kit was created for kindergarten teachers. There were also thematic talks for teachers and parents to inspire them to make the most of the boxed wonders.
Gloria said the interactive play box is a magic tool for parents to develop the language and social skills of their children through the stimulation of games. At the same time, it can help children build positive emotions and good character traits.
Did you know?
From birth to age five, a child's brain develops more rapidly than at any other time in life. The early years of a child's life are very important for later health and development. Many children in low-income families do not receive proper or enough support because of inadequate living conditions, a lack of resources and the fact that their parents often work long hours.
In 2017, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust addressed these challenges by launching the KeySteps@JC project. Funded with a donation of HK$225 million, the project provides comprehensive support spanning healthcare, education and social welfare services to grassroots children. It is also the KeySteps@JC project that provided the inspiration for The Jockey Club Interactive Wonder Box initiative .