Friday, 4 March 2016

Fun on Prescription

Back in February, we teamed up with our colleagues in the Centre for Research Collections to take part in Innovative Learning Week, a University-wide festival aimed at inspiring and celebrating creative learning. As this year’s festival had the central theme of ‘Ideas in Play’, we thought it was necessary to call in the experts: play specialists from the Royal Hospital for Sick Children!

Flora Masson's 'The Story of the Hospital' - LHB5/20/6/1
The session was called 'Fun on Prescription', and the aim to create entertaining, distracting and educational activities for children in hospital by using materials held at the Centre for Research Collections. Specialists use play in hospitals for a whole range of reasons, such as helping a child become familiar in their new surroundings or to aid them in making friends with other children on the ward. Furthermore, games and activities also reinforce the motto of the Sick Kids Friends Foundation – that young people in hospital are children first and patients second.

Events Assistant Claire and Play Specialist Ishbel had some great advice to guide the session, such as what age range we were aiming at (11-14 year olds) and what safety issues were important to consider – for example, infection control is a very serious business, and it is crucial that objects can be wiped down, and any paper items could be laminated. (Fun fact – a piece of paper is only allowed to be on a ward for 3 weeks before it must be removed and destroyed…)

Once the students had got to grips with the requirement and had a good look at the collection items, it was up to them to brainstorm ideas and split into teams to work out the finer points of would take their activity from an idea to a reality. As they study subjects from a variety of different disciplines – such as education, electronics and graphic design – they had a lot of ideas to choose from!

Discussing ideas and working out details
Group One plumped for making ‘story cubes’ - large die with images from the collections on each face to guide and inspire story-telling, while Group Two developed a ‘choose your own adventure’ activity based on the chilling tale of Lady Grange, the ‘prisoner of St Kilda’. Group Three opted to compile a book of jokes based on humorous sixteenth-century tales, and Group Four went for a more visual activity with a ‘build your own monster’ game.

Some monstrous inspiration....
Innovative Learning Week was all about inspiring creative approaches to learning. Not only did the student participants see the ‘dusty tomes’ in of the University’s archives in a new light, but they also got an insight into how they could be put to new use and create fun and engaging activities. We only hope the children of the RHSC have as much fun using the resources as we did making them!

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