A health and fitness curriculum co-design service focused on play for learning, which works with elementary schools to address health-related awareness, promote empathy between children, raise confidence in physical activity, and develop responsibility
About 8.4% of children in the US have asthma. Children with poorly managed asthma are far less likely to exercise or play with their peers; as a result, and they are at an increased risk for bullying at school.
Unawareness about asthma led to children becoming more afraid of physical activity, losing confidence in their bodies and, doubting their own abilities to manage their symptoms.
We designed SimplyPlay, a service that partners with elementary schools to bring awareness to common illnesses and help students build responsibility and confidence in their abilities to manage them.
The app provides a library of customized games and recommendations based on weather data, allows teachers to record asthma incidents during games and create their own games, and reminds teachers to bring inhalers- especially in triggering weather. Feedback from the app allows us to send new toolkits throughout the year as we understand your needs better.
Provided in the app, simple to complex games tailored to the school promote physical activity and help children learn about asthma triggers in a fun way. Our freeze tag game assigns children roles as asthma triggers, such as pollen, and others as “inhalers”. Triggers tag the other children to “freeze” them and inhalers can unfreeze them.
Two students each week are assigned as “healers” to help teachers watch out for other students. Using what they learn about triggers and symptoms from the game and other components of the toolkit, their job is to take students to the nurse in the event of an incident.
Characters, Super Bunny and Mr. Greeney, illustrate how to help friends with asthma in short vignette-style lessons. Healers then contribute to the book by drawing pictures of what happened to foster reflection, responsibility, and empathy.
Teachers are not trained with how to deal with students experiencing asthma.
A student with asthma is doing less exercise and unable to play with his friends.
Other students don't know what to do when a student with asthma is experiencing symptoms.
Kids at this age make relationship while playing together, but unable to do so can make them subject to being bullied. Raising awareness and building empathy is one way to solve the issue of bullying .
Kids don't know what to do when their friends are experiencing asthma symptoms. SimplyPlay can teach students what to do when their friends are in trouble.
Every school has different environments and people that require different needs. Every school is unique in its own way and it is not really possible to make one service that can be applied to other schools.
Sometimes, doing exercise can trigger asthma symptoms for kids with severe asthma. However, we found out that sufficient exercising can actually help reduce asthma symptoms. However, many kids with asthma do not exercise, which led kids to become overweight and lose confidence.
Especially kids under the age of 13, it is nearly impossible to have them seat and give lecture about what the asthma symptoms are and how to prevent it.
Teachers are not experts in dealing with healthcare issues. Even for common illnesses like asthma, teachers are not trained in what can cause asthma or how to prevent or treat it.
Friendship means especially a lot to kids at this age. Playing with other kids without being left-out can help reduce kids from being bullied.
Knowing about asthma can help reduce students getting afraid and make them realize that they are just not feeling well some time to time.
Kids panic when they see their friends experiencing symptoms. Enabling kids to call for help is crucial to help the friend with symptoms.
Physical activity can be the starting point for gaining self-confidence, self-management, and independence with asthma. We believe if a child can learn to adapt their behavior during physical activity, it will foster a sense of confidence and better self-management across all activities. results revealed a number of factors associated with an increased risk of bullying.
Factors such as a reduced participation with sport and feelings of sadness were significantly associated with an increased risk of bullying…as well as poor asthma control, parental smoking and parents’ on-going worries about their child’s health, were also associated with bullying.
"I was afraid to exercise because of my asthma attacks, so I became overweight, which made me even more afraid of physical activity. As I gained weight, I lost confidence in my body and ability to participate in sports."
Feedback on our game picker app underscored the idea that their needs are simple: they want something that gives them easy-to-understand game instructions, reminds them to bring inhalers, and warns them about asthma triggers. Teachers also mentioned that it would be nice to be given a framework for games that could easily be modified to fit other parts of their curriculum.
In our original book design, we made the asthma triggers “angry” so they would be evil, but Chelsea stressed the idea that they needed to be more neutral because the children might start to make negative associations with dandelions or peanuts, and that is not the goal of the work. Our goal is to help children understand that seemingly innocuous things in their world could be asthma triggers, not to make children afraid of them.
Teachers are not trained about asthma AND they need a way to get kids to run around — led us to decide to create a teacher and teacher’s aid facing app that suggests asthma-oriented tag games for kids based on weather and air quality data.
The app ideally would provide just-in-time reminders to the teacher to bring inhalers with them outside as well as educate teachers about asthma triggers through explaining the rules of the tag games to the children.
“Teachers are not well-trained in asthma care. You don’t know it until you’ve lived it.”
“Kids get really wiggly and distracted during the day. Teachers often need a way to send them outside to burn off some energy.”
We were concerned that the white background on our book was too minimal, but they told us that children use their imaginations more effectively when they have just the characters without backgrounds. They also drove home the idea that they should not be using stickers, stencils, or any other aid in drawing because they are supposed to be developing their skills and imaginations.