Pandemic pivot creates silver linings, virtually

staff member holding ukulele and waving at computer screen

We ran Circle Time for parents and tots for the first time in the spring of 2020 as a virtual group program at SickKids.

A minute after the official start time, at 10:31 we had our first participant join online—a three-year-old in 8B. He was shy at first, lying in bed and talking through Mom (as kids often do), but fairly soon after he was sitting up and talking back at us.

After five minutes of chit chat we decided to start. Our “Good Morning Train” was blowing its horn and the anticipation was building.

Just as we strummed the first chord, another friend joined us—another three-year-old, this time from 8A. She was sitting on the floor, in a makeshift play area that Mom had created for her out of blankets and pillows. In her hand she had a toy to shake along to the music.

As the songs continued, more Campers joined in. We saw them all mimicking our actions, dancing along to the music and often smiling or laughing at our silly voices and gestures. We continued to sing songs and read books. By the end we were even getting audience participation and requests!

This program was remarkable for a number of reasons. It was the first ever virtual group program we had ever run in the hospital. In this new world of social distancing, we connected families in the hospital with each other in ways never imagined before.

Normally, kids in isolation can’t come to our in-person Circle Time in the 8A playroom. Kids too sick to leave their beds can’t come either, yet here they were at our program, singing songs, dancing to the music, and at times smiling from ear to ear.

This time, our parent and tots program allowed us to include everyone, virtually. It was an unforgettable moment and the first of many virtual programs just like it that would keep kids and families connected throughout, and beyond, the COVID pandemic.

*Camper and family names and images have been changed to protect privacy

The sky’s the limit at virtual camp

Memorable moments, wherever you are

Share your story

If you would like to share your camp story with us, please contact:

Michelle Guignard

Development Coordinator, Annual Giving

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