February 4, 2021

Giving kids the tools to play to encourage positive mental health

Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation is helping inspire families to spend time together playing to encourage positive mental health.

This past summer, the foundation provided funding for 150 sensory play kits for KidsFirst Saskatoon to promote outdoor play, which has been linked to improving mental health and overall wellness.

Each of the kits included a tote, sponges, measuring cups, an ice cube tray, a turkey baster, food colouring and information on how to use the kit and the benefits of sensory play.

The sensory play kits help kids create awareness of self and environment. Sensory play encourages self-regulation, grounding and calming techniques. There are also other developmental benefits of sensory play including hand-eye coordination, object permanence, cause and effect, use of tools and understanding space.

In addition to the developmental benefits, families were also able to create fond memories and strengthen bonds through the use of the kits. One mother who received a sensory play kit said it was very useful for her daughter, who was often drawn to play with the kit instead of her toys.

“I teach her different colours, sizes like big and small, use cups for pouring water from different cups and also she likes to play with the dropper, ice tray and water. Even when we went to the lake, we brought that bin and she played with the cups, dropper, water and sand,” said the mom.

“KidsFirst is very thankful for the generous donation from Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation. The impacts of COVID-19 have created additional challenges for our already vulnerable families. Your donation helped our program provide 150 KidsFirst families with a sensory bin that inspired our families to spend time together, to get outside and play. These experiences are especially appreciated during an isolating time for our families,” explained Jillian Urquhart, a KidsFirst Saskatoon social worker.

KidsFirst Saskatoon is a free, voluntary, early childhood development program. KidsFirst Saskatoon is one of nine KidsFirst programs in Saskatchewan and is funded by the Ministry of Education. KidsFirst vision is that all children enjoy a good start in life, and are nurtured by caring families and communities.

“Our foundation is thrilled to have funded this important project with KidsFirst Saskatoon. This pandemic has undoubtedly underscored the importance of mental health support for children of all ages. Programming like this gives families the tools to create lasting memories and provide them with some normalcy during a time of uncertainty. We are grateful to our incredibly generous donors, who see the value of this vital work,” said Brynn Boback-Lane, President and CEO of Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation.

You can help support kids across the province by donating today to Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation.

More from the Newsroom


Sunshine Maker Club Logo

Sunshine Maker Club is a meaningful way to donate via pre-authorized payments of $20 or more on the 15th of every month. It’s an easy way to spread your generosity throughout the year!

Sunshine Maker Club Logo