The British Library

Sparking children’s imaginations with educational activities

The world’s most famous bear has been busy engaging children in fun, creative and educational activities during the 2021 summer holidays. A Paddington Bear-themed activity pack, produced by the British Library, aimed to help children who’d lost opportunities to learn during the lockdowns.

We gave a grant of £16,250 to the British Library to distribute the packs, which were full of specially designed activities for 5 to 11 year olds, including children with special educational needs. None of the activities involved looking at a screen, so didn’t exclude families without computers or internet access. And the printed packs came complete with colouring pencils, card, scissors and glue. Fun and educational ideas, like creating a nonsense poem, dressing up, and family charades, helped spark children’s imagination and encouraged them to learn outside of school. The packs hoped to help reduce the digital divide and emerging gap in attainment of young people caused by Covid-19, as well as supporting children’s mental health and wellbeing during a difficult time.

  • Our grant of £16,250 helped distribute Paddington Bear activity packs to 35 organisations, including day centres for asylum, women’s shelters, children’s centres and food banks, as well as to families directly.
  • The packs reached over 11,300 families – many had been identified by schools and local community organisations as needing extra activities,
  • Nearly 200 people attended the British Library’s Paddington Family Day in September 2021 – 90% of responders rated the day as excellent and 10% as good.

Family Day at the British Library

Our second grant to the British Library, for £5,136, supported a Paddington Family Day at their main site in London’s King’s Cross. Almost 200 people attended the event, which included creative workshops and sensory storytelling, with British Sign Language interpretation, exploring themes of home, belonging, kindness and adventure. Families could also visit the library’s Paddington Bear exhibition and received an activity pack to take home.

“The Paddington packs flew out the library, they were so popular and the children were delighted. There were big smiles on their faces when they saw it was Paddington themed. This summer we have been providing Government-funded holiday and food provision so gave them as goody bags for the children to take away. Being able to hand out the additional craft materials makes a huge difference, as some families don’t have these resources at home.”
Staff member,
Barnstaple Library

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