Virtual Circle Time

Camp is where our Campers are

In-Hospital Program Coordinator Ken Aldridge reflects on the magic of a virtual in-hospital program

In mid-April, we ran Circle Time for the first time as a virtual group program at SickKids. Christina and I had Zoom fired up from home, but we weren’t sure who was going to participate! At 10:31 we had our first participant join: a three-year-old. Shy at first, she lay in bed and talked through Mom (as kids often do)—but fairly soon she was sitting up and talking back at us.

We decided to start—the “Good Morning Train” blew its horn and anticipation was building! Another three-year-old joined us, sitting in a makeshift play area her mom had created for her out of blankets and pillows, holding a toy at the ready to shake along to the music.

Ten minutes in, a third child joined. Songs continued, and Campers mimicked our actions, dancing along to the music, smiling or laughing at our silly voices and gestures. By the end, we were even getting audience participation and requests!

A magic moment occurred with our bubble songs. Christina sang, and I blew bubbles into the webcam. To my delight, not only did the kids try and pop my bubbles—but two of the families had their own and started blowing them for their kids.

It was the first-ever virtual group program the in-hospital team had run. Even in this new world of social distancing, we connected families at the hospital with each other, and kids too sick to leave their beds were there—singing songs, dancing to the music, and, at times, smiling from ear to ear. This was truly the start of great things to come!

—Ken Aldridge, In-Hospital Program Coordinator

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