Earlier this year we featured the amazing Newlife charity in The OT Magazine, highlighting the Play Therapy Pods that they lease out to families with disabled children. Following feedback from families, these pods have been given a new lease of life to ensure they are inclusive to as many children as possible.

Newlife’s Play Therapy Pod service has been running for six years and has provided 6,000 loans of pods to children across the UK. They have developed an exciting all-new range of Play Therapy Pods which are available to lease now.

Playing with specialist toys has allowed families to gain a better understanding of their child’s needs, improving family relationships while identifying opportunities for purposeful development and plenty of smiles. The pods improve family quality time, encouraging some children to play with their siblings for the first time or even speak their first words.

The new pods now include:

  • A Sensory Pod (suitable from birth)
  • Adventure Pods (suitable from 18 months) in four themes: Space, Animal, Underwater, Transport
  • Discovery Pods (suitable from three years)
  • Explorer Pods (suitable from five years)

Designed to encourage visual, auditory and tactile stimulation while also helping to support development of interaction and communication skills, these pods are accessible to children of any ability and are newly themed so families can group toys together for easier play.

Supporting communication needs is a new feature of the pods. Discovery Pods will aid with developing communication skills such as Makaton, sign language and drawing, whereas Explorer Pods will help children apply these communication skills to interactions with loved ones and different roles within society.

Families can apply for different pods, each loaned for 12 weeks, to better understand their child’s individual needs and the toys they respond best to. This way families can try before they buy, knowing what their child enjoys and learning new ways to play together.

The new pods have been made possible thanks to a generous donation from the Marian Elizabeth Trust. Due to the £100,000 donation, Newlife have been able to add an additional 186 pods to the service, giving more families the opportunity to change their child’s lives through play.

Newlife has also put together a free guide full of handy hints and tips to give families ideas to play. Powerful Play is available to download at: https://newlife.support/PowerfulPlay

For more information or to apply for a pod visit: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/play.

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