TeamUp at Home: support for children during the coronavirus pandemic

Our experience in conflict-affected areas means we know how to support children and their families in difficult times. Children worldwide now face anxiety and uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic. That's why we have adapted our TeamUp activities to meet the needs of children living in isolation. Here's how to take part in TeamUp at Home...
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War Child, Save the Children and Unicef Netherlands launched TeamUp at Home for families to do in their livingroom, on the balcony or in the garden.

Photo: War Child

How does TeamUp at Home provide support?

Whether they grow up amidst violence, in a refugee camp or, like now, in 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 Others become anxious or withdrawn.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 attention and reassurance, they are able to cope with most hardships. Play and movement-based activities can play a huge role in helping children overcome hardship. To that end, War Child, Save the Children 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 at Home, in order to meet the needs and challenges of children and their caregivers during the widespread coronavirus lockdown. TeamUp at Home is specifically developed for children aged six to 11 but can be enjoyed by people of all ages - and provides a simple, safe and above all fun way to play and exercise in pairs or individually.

Eager to take part in TeamUp at Home? Our trainers will show you the way!

(Interested to learn more about TeamUp at Home? Read more here.)

How can YOU take part in TeamUp at Home?

Taking part in TeamUp at Home is not just fun - it's also pretty straightforward. Here's everything you need to know to get going - watch the ten short videos to begin or download the TeamUp at Home activity sheet.

When?

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 you 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.

Where?

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 can't or won’t take part.

How?

TeamUp at Home always begins the same way. 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 maintain a recommended physical distance.

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 together with your special TeamUp yell and greet each other with an elbow bump. Show everyone else taking part 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.

TeamUp at Home 01: CHECK-IN

2 – HAND WASH

What is extra important these days? Washing your hands, of course!

TeamUp at Home 02: WASHING YOUR HANDS

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?

TeamUp at Home 03: WARMING-UP

4 – TOWEL TAIL TAG

Take a towel and put it in the side of your trousers, 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?

TeamUp at Home 04: TOWEL TAIL TAG

5 – MIRROR, MIRROR IN THE ROOM

Create 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 person and learning to share leadership.

TeamUp at Home 05: MIRROR, MIRROR IN THE ROOM

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.

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

TeamUp at Home 06: MAD CHICKEN

7 – ANN-MARY CUCKOO

Together with your TeamUp at Home buddies, agree on a start-point and end-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.

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

TeamUp at Home 07: ANN-MARY CUCKOO

8 – COOLING-DOWN: LONG, SMALL AND WIDE

If you want to, choose and play a calm, relaxing song. Everyone stands at least an arm's length apart. Now, everyone stands 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 starfish. Hold each position for six to eight 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.

TeamUp at Home 08: COOL-DOWN: LONG, SMALL AND WIDE

9 – CHECK-OUT

Sit down, make yourself comfortable and slowly breathe 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!

TeamUp at Home 09: CHECK-OUT

10 – LET'S HAVE A 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?

TeamUp at Home 10: LET'S HAVE A DRINK

Ready for some more movement and fun? Check session 2, session 3, session 4, session 5 and session 6.

How did TeamUp at Home make you feel?

Many children like you have taken part 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 came together to develop the TeamUp programme.

TeamUp around the world

In just a few years, TeamUp has transformed from a pilot for refugee children in Dutch asylum centres and schools into an international programme, implemented in Uganda, Colombia, Sri Lanka and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. And now, children worldwide can participate in our adapted TeamUp activities.

TeamUp typically works in larger groups, outdoors or in big halls. Due to the coronavirus 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.

TeamUp in Uganda

TeamUp is supported by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF).

AMIF: fonds voor asiel, migratie en integratie logo

the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF)

The European Commission's Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund promotes the efficient management of migration flows and the implementation, strengthening and development of a common approach to asylum and immigration in the European Union.

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