COVID -19 Series: Elementary Wellness Tools
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April 14, 2020
Early Learning and Elementary Snapshot
Wellness Tools

Play and Laughter as Wellness Tools
What do having fun, laughing, playing and health have in common?

A lot more than you might think.

Laughing with friends, playing a game with your children or watching a fun TV show, might be called “leisure activities,” but the health benefits associated with some good old fashioned fun are nothing short of incredible. 

Play Your Way to Wellness

Play is defined as engaging in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.

Play can add joy to life, relieve stress, supercharge learning, and connect you to others and the world around you. 

Play can boost your energy and vitality and even improve your resistance to disease, helping you function at your best.

Children at Play

Play is essential for developing childrens' social, emotional, cognitive, and physical skills. In fact, far from being a waste of time  play is when your child is often learning the most.

Whether it‘s an infant playing “peek-a-boo,” a toddler playing make-believe, or an older child playing a board game, play develops social skills, stimulates a child‘s imagination and makes kids better adjusted, smarter, and less stressed.


Adults at Play

But play is not just essential for kids; it can be an important source of relaxation and stimulation for adults as well. Playing with your spouse, friends, co-workers, pets, and children is a sure way to fuel your imagination, creativity and emotional well-being. 

Play could be simply goofing off with friends, throwing a Frisbee with your kids, playing fetch with a dog or playing a board game. There doesn‘t need to be any point to the activity beyond having fun and enjoying yourself. By giving yourself permission to play with the joyful abandon of childhood, you can reap oodles of health benefits throughout life. Play can:
Relieve stress. Play is fun and can trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. 

Improve brain function. Pursuing fun activities that challenge the brain can help prevent memory problems and improve brain function. The social interaction of playing with family and friends can also help ward off stress and depression.
Stimulate the mind and boost creativity. Young children often learn best when they are playing—a principle that applies to adults, as well. You’ll learn a new task better when it’s fun and you’re in a relaxed and playful mood. 

Improve relationships and your connection to others. Sharing laughter and fun can foster empathy, compassion, trust, and intimacy with others. 

Playing with your Child

While children need time to play alone and with other children, playing with their parents is also important. Here are some helpful tips to encourage play:

Give your child your undivided attention. Turn off the TV and your cell phone and make time to play with your child without distraction. Having your undivided attention makes your child feel special.


Laughter is the Best Medicine

It‘s true: laughter is strong medicine. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Laughter draws people together in ways that trigger healthy physical and emotional changes in the body. Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. 

The link between laughter and mental health:

Laughter stops distressing emotions.
You can‘t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you‘re laughing.

Laughter helps you relax and recharge.
It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.

Laughter shifts perspective.
It allows you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates emotional distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and diffuse conflict.
Laughter draws you closer to others.
This can have a profound effect on all aspects of your mental and emotional health.

Laughter increases serotonin levels. 
Serotonin is a chemical that regulates many of our most basic processes–including sleep patterns, memory, body temperature, and mood. 

Laughter helps you sleep sounder.
Taking time to do something to make yourself smile right before bedtime is especially important, but any fun or relaxing activities during the day will reduce cortisol levels and improve how soundly you sleep.
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This video will bring a smile to your face!




During these difficult times, taking time to play or laugh can go a long way toward making you feel better!


YPlay Virtual Activities
FREE YMCA Kids and Family Activities Anytime, Anywhere!

Readers Digest Jokes  Looking for funny jokes? From clean knock-knock jokes and the top corny jokes to hilarious one-liners and clever riddles they are all here!

87 Indoor Activities and Games A huge list of active indoor activities will keep your kids — from toddlers to teens — busy and burning energy!

Hand Clapping Games Try these FUN hand clapping games and put your rhythm and coordination to the test! Example below: 
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 Community Services

Below is a list of Community Services and their availability during the pandemic

IMCRT (Integrated Mobile Crisis Response Team): 
Individuals in crisis can call the Vancouver Island Crisis Line at 1-888-484-3888 and the staff will support and offer crisis intervention options.  ...

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 Learning Resources

BC Numeracy Network  

Free Indigenous movies online CBC  

The Ministry of Education site contains excellent information on learning at home and resources for families

The Greater Victoria School District provides learning opportunities for elementary, middle and secondary age students.

TedED - Parents can sign up for grade specific daily lessons on any subject imaginable.  Fun and engaging!

BCTF - Aboriginal Education Teaching Resources

  Learning Resources for Students with Complex Needs

Food Resources for Families 

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We acknowledge that much of the content from this document is extracted The Benefits of Play for AdultsThe benefits of laughter  and 8 health benefits of having fun 
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