Supporting Children During the Corona Crisis

Due to our emergency experience worldwide we know how to support children and their families in difficult times. Now, children all over the world are facing anxiety and uncertainty due to the coronavirus and its restrictive measures. To help these children, we have adjusted our TeamUp activities to fit their needs. Will you join TeamUp at Home?

How does TeamUp at Home provide help?

Whether it is growing up amidst violence, in a refugee camp or, like now, living through an international public health emergency, children respond differently to crises. Some children seek love and affection, others become anxious or withdrawn. Many children experience feelings of anger and powerlessness.
Children, however, are extremely resilient. With some extra love and attention, a listening ear and reassurance, they are able to weather most storms. Play and movement based activities can play a huge role in helping children overcome hardship. To that end, Save the Children, War Child and UNICEF Netherlands joined forces a couple of years ago to develop TeamUp: a programme of structured movement-based activities for refugee children.

We have now adapted this successful programme to TeamUp lockdown, in order to meet the needs and challenges of children and their caregivers during the widespread coronavirus stay at home order. TeamUp at Home is specifically made for children aged 6 to 11, even for all ages, siblings, their parents/caregivers and provides a simple, safe and above all fun way to play and exercise in pairs or individually.
How Can You Participate in TeamUp at Home?
Eager to participate in TeamUp at Home? Our trainers will show you the way!
Taking part in TeamUp at Home is not just fun and energising but also pretty straightforward. Find out below how to engage in TeamUp at Home and watch ten short videos to help you get started.
Fit half an hour to an hour of TeamUp at Home into your daily routine, or participate on fixed days throughout the week. This will help establish a structured routine. Of course, if emotions are running high, don’t hesitate to call an ‘emergency’ TeamUp at Home session to release the tension in the house.
Join in wherever you have a little space to move around. Whether it is your living room, your balcony or garden: set some furniture aside and you’re ready to go. You could set up a chair on the side for children or adults that cannot or don’t wish to participate.

TeamUp at Home always starts off the same. Gather all participants for the check-in, for instance by using a particular TeamUp yell or song. Once everybody is ready to go, start with a warm-up, go on to play a couple of games, and finally cool down and check-out. Put together your own TeamUp at Home session by selecting your favourite games.
Please Note! TeamUp at Home is for children and parents/caregivers that are living together. Follow the official guidelines to avoid contact with others.
Are you ready to get started? Let’s TeamUp at Home!
Below you will find ten short videos to help you get a head start with TeamUp at Home. Feel free to watch the videos before getting started, but you could also choose to watch and play one game at a time. Pause the video when needed to play an activity longer or again. Have fun!

1 – Check-In

Gather everyone with you special TeamUp yell and greet each other with an elbow box. Show the rest how you’re feeling: thumbs up, thumbs down or in the middle. Start off with giving each other a compliment or thanking them for joining.

2 – Washing Your Hands

 What is extra important these days? Washing your hands, that’s right!

3 – Warming-Up  

For this exercise you could play a relaxing song. Find a spot in the room or stand in a circle. Shake your body loose. Relax and carefully roll your neck, loosen your fingers, hands and arms. Roll your shoulders, slowly twist your ankles, and bend your legs and knees. Make circles with your hips. Then slowly settle down. When you’re ready, try to focus on your body. How does your body feel today?

4 – Towel Tail Tag  

Take a towel and put it in the side of your pants, at the side of your body. Next, find some room to stand opposite from your TeamUp buddy – at an arm's length. Put your feet flat on the floor and stand still. Now, count to three and try to take your buddy’s towel. Whoever is able to steal the other person’s towel gets one point. After two points you can try something new. For example, this time you won’t stand still, but move around in the space, with your feet on the ground to make the game more challenging.

Context: This game can help children better deal with conflict situations. During the exercise, one needs to defend their towel tail, hence protecting themselves while trying to steal the tower tail of the other, moving in different ways . Still, they have to be aware of each other. They may or may not seek physical contact and set boundaries. How do they deal with this?

5 – Mirror, Mirror in the Room

 Provide a calm atmosphere with a soothing song of your choice. Try to do this exercise in silence. Stand face to face with your buddy. Stand firmly with your feet on the floor and relax your legs and knees. Extend your arms and hands, but do not touch each other. Make movements with your hand and arms. Follow your buddy's movements as precisely as possible, as if you were his or her mirror image. You switch the role of leader and follower after a couple of minutes.

Context: This exercise revolves around listening without talking, attuning yourself to the other and learning to share leadership.

6 – Mad Chicken

Find some open space in the room, garden or on the balcony. Everybody raises and shakes their right hand while counting to eight. Next, all participants do the same but with their left arm, right leg, left leg and back. Continue the same routine, but now in four counts, in two and lastly in one beat.

Background: This game is great way to quickly boost energy levels.

7 – Ann-Mary Cuckoo

 Together with your TeamUp at Home buddies, agree on a starting point and finish point in the room, the garden or on the balcony. One person is appointed ‘Ann-Mary Cuckoo’. Ann-Mary Cuckoo closed their eyes. The rest has to wait at the starting point, until Ann-Mary Cuckoo starts to say the words: "Ann….Maryyy…. Cuckoo!" While Ann-Mary Cuckoo’s voice sounds, everyone tries to make their way to the finish as quickly as possible. However, they’re only allowed to move when Ann-Mary Cuckoo is speaking.
Once he or she stops talking, Ann-Mary Cuckoo will quickly remove his or her hands from their face. Those caught moving need to make their way back to the starting point. No discussion, Ann-Mary Cuckoo is in charge! The goal is to slowly but surely make your way to the finish and gently tap Ann-Mary Cuckoo on the shoulder. Whoever reaches Ann-Mary Cuckoo first will become the new Ann-Mary Cuckoo.

Background: This game is about respect. All participants have to accept Ann-Mary Cuckoo’s authority. There can’t be any discussion, whatever Ann-Mary Cuckoo’s says, goes. Of course, fair play is key here.

8 – Cool-Down: Long, Small and Wide  

If you want, choose and play a calm, relaxing song. Everyone stands at least an arm's length apart. Now, all stand on the tips of their toes while stretching their arms as high as possible: standing tall like trees. Next, everybody kneels, hugs their knees and places their chin on their chest: tiny like mice. Thereafter, all extend their arms and legs as wide as possible: like a giant star fish. Hold each position 6 to 8 counts.

Context: The cool-down helps everybody prepare the transition to a different, calmer setting. It allows your body to settle down. Your heart rate will go back to normal and you will start to feel relaxed. Also, this exercise will improve your flexibility and breathing.

9 – Check-Out

Sit down, make yourself comfortable and slowly breath in and out. Tell the others which game you liked the most and why, or let them guess first. Don’t forget to thank each other. And last but not least, don’t forget to wash your hands again.
Thank you for participating in TeamUp at Home!

10 – Have Something to Drink

 Once you’ve finished your TeamUp at Home routine, it is time to take a rest. Sit back and relax, drink a cup of tea, juice or water. Do you feel re-energized?

How Did TeamUp at Home Make You Feel?
Like you, many children have participated in TeamUp’s activities in recent years. Many of them have been faced with a crisis situation for some time now. They were forced to flee from wars, violence and persecution. To support those refugee children, War Child, Save the Children and UNICEF Netherlands have joined forces  to develop theTeamUp programme.
TeamUp Around the World
In a few years’ time, TeamUp has transformed from a pilot for refugee children in Dutch asylums centers and schools into an international programme, implemented in Uganda, Colombia, Sri Lanka and the occupied Palestinian territories. And now, children all over the world that are forced to shelter in place, are able to participate in our adopted TeamUp activities.
Under regular circumstances, TeamUp works in larger groups, outdoors or in big halls. Due to the corona crisis, War Child was forced to put a stop to these group activities. We are, however, very much committed to providing children everywhere the opportunity to take part in TeamUp at Home. Whether that is online, via mobile phones or posters.