COCHRANE— The Cochrane-based company, Amped2Play, is distributing boxes to families, vulnerable populations, students and seniors in hopes of reducing isolation and stagnation through the simple act of play.
Amped2Play was created to address an inability to adapt physically, cognitively and socially in times of significant change. They developed the ISOLOVETOPLAY boxes with the specific aim of bringing people together in unique and creative ways.
The box, available for sale on the Amped2Play website, features a number of crafts and materials meant to engage and stimulate those in difficult physical or social situations.
Users of the boxes can apply the materials in a number of different ways, and are encouraged to come up with stories and narratives of how the items they’ve used have come together.
“They are a box that we developed of a set miscellaneous materials— There are 30 to 40 pieces in each box. It was originally developed with the attempt to create a process that people could be engaged in physical activity and motor skills development, cognitive activity and social-emotional connection of doing self-directed play,” said Ozzie Sawicki, CEO of Amped2Play.
He said that in the era of COVID-19 the boxes have taken on new meaning for those in isolated situations.
“When COVID hit and it changed the world of how we had to operate as a small business, we found that the boxes really suited what people needed while they were in isolation. People were struggling with connection, they were struggling with things that they can do while they’re not in a position to be in a normal, connected environment,” he said. “The box became a conduit to give people activities that kept them mentally active, physically active, and socially and emotionally connected.”
Amped2Play recently donated boxes to several care facilities in the area, including Points West Living, Big Hill Lodge, the Bethany Care Society and the Grande Avenue Village.
“We found that a vulnerable population that was struggling immensely through this was the senior population. Especially people that are in facilities such as Bethany Care, or Big Hill Lodge or Points West, et cetera. We found that this was a tool that could serve that clientele of people or that age group of people.”
The boxes distributed to the senior’s facilities in the area were tailored to include more items designed to engage cognitive and fine motor function to keep senior citizens active and engaged cognitively and physically.
“That senior’s population really took hold of the boxes as something that was beneficial,” he said. “We just found that benefit really grew in the senior’s community… In terms of palliative situations and hospice situations, it’s a real struggle right now when people are in an end of life situation and they can’t necessarily have all of their friends and family with them because of the restrictions in place.”
There is an online aspect to the boxes as well that helps connect people in isolation, Sawicki said.
“We have playdates that can be done online where people can connect and tell stories about what they have done with the box. They can tell stories about what they have built with family members,” he said. “It just promotes connection. That’s the focus of what we have done with this is to find something that keeps people emotionally positive and keeps them communicating.”
The boxes were developed by Amped2Play’s chief knowledge officer, Brandi Heather. Heather has more than 20 years of experience as a builder and instructional expert, utilizing accessible play as the foundation for her programming and accessible play. She is also a founding member and former Lead Program Design Specialist for the Red Deer Children’s Adapted Sport Association.
To find out more about the ISOLOVETOPLAY boxes, visit Amped2Play.com/.