When family life is tricky, having fun together feels impossible. Finding ways to be playful and to laugh together helps as it releases chemicals in the brain which comfort and create a sense of connection between child and parent.
At Beacon Family Services we offer fully-funded play-based therapy to families to help them build relationships. Despite the social distancing as a result of the pandemic, we have continued to support families, communities and schools remotely by adapting our practices.
Some of our favourite, Theraplay®-based games and activities involve using beanbags. Children love the fun of tipping them from the tops of their heads to their parents waiting hands or finding different way to pass them while smiling and laughing. Social distancing has meant that we haven’t been able to use the usual resources, such as beanbags, we have in our therapy room. During lockdown, my son took it upon himself to design a beanbag mascot which families could use, and play with, at home. It was such a great idea, we knew we had to start putting them together immediately.
Our new mascot beanies, Buddy and Eddy, are based on the lighthouse in our logo. It symbolises the beacon we hope to be for the families who come to us wanting to restore connection. Without the expertise to create the beanies ourselves, we asked the families, communities and schools we work with to help. Not only did they help us name our beanies, but they created knitting and crochet patterns to give to families and knitted and stitched dozens of beanies which were able to give to children taking part in online sessions. The kindness shown by all those giving their time to knit reminds us making connections through play is always possible.
The excitement and appreciation the children feel when they receive their beanie in the post is obvious in their smiles as hold them up to the camera and as we play with them in our games and activities. It is not just the children who have found comfort and joy in our new beanies. Our amazing team of volunteer mascot-makers have been delighted to be able to support a child and provide them with some comfort in a difficult time. They have helped make it easier to keep play at the heart of our work.
We are always looking for new volunteer knitters and crocheters. If you would like to knit or crochet a beanbag for a child, you can find the patterns below.