The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Soon after, many countries around the world began locking their borders in order to limit the spread of the virus. At present, COVID-19 has affected over 20 million people and resulted in over 700,000 deaths worldwide.
Locally, the Ministry of Health has reported the total confirmed cases at 552, with 11 deaths and this is estimated to further increase over the coming days. Taking personal responsibility, practising hand sanitising, and respiratory hygiene and social distancing are the main recommended strategies for combating the spread of the virus, since some infected persons may not be exhibiting symptoms associated with the virus.
During the recent lockdown, special needs aid Kimberly Joseph channelled her creativity and working experience to educate her family and her five-year-old daughter Kayl.
Learning through play, Kimberly said, was her way to get a serious message across to as many people as she could in her own way to protect her loved ones—by creating a board game titled Lockdown.
“Hence the name, it came from the lockdown the initial game was developed during our lockdown I was trying to occupy my daughter and take her mind out of what was happening outside, so I just drew up this Bristol board, we played it, she had fun, she understood what each spot meant,” Joseph told Guardian Media.
As a result of her daughter’s enthusiasm at playing the game, Joseph posted her activity on her social media page.
“Being on lockdown, you post what you were doing every day and people were receptive of it and they were saying ‘where you got that,” she said.
She took that feedback and has now turned the idea into a physical game that is now available in all Mohammed’s books Stores and Charran’s in Valpark. Up to five players at a time can participate in the board game, which includes cards, tokens, die and an award that can be presented to the game-winner.
“When you play this game I think you would get an idea of what’s happening globally. There is a special little piece that I include called COVID-19 survivor, you have it there to remind you that you are a survivor having gone through this or still going through this phase, which is very difficult,” she said.
She said one of the main benefits was that this period had opened up a lot of innovation and creativity across all sectors of society, bringing something positive out of time at home.
Joseph also has some advice for parents who may be in a similar situation trying to entertain and educate their children. “After seeing the process of what was happening, Kayl would see me drawing and improving the game piece by piece and then the final product, that was enough to inspire her and now she is drawing an example from me and now she is trying to develop her own games,” Joseph said.
When asked why a board game and not an app, she said, “Because everybody on their phones, I included and when you’re playing a board game it forces you to sit and be a family, which may have been missing but people are forced to be in that setting now.”.
One player, Kimberly Andel, appreciated the context of the game, which is set in Trinidad.
“I like how it has real-life situations, so it took someone for instance, if you go to the beach and police run you, it has that in the cards, so you have to go back home from where ever point and start over,” Andel said.
Joseph added, “I am hoping that this very unique Trini-style game brings to life parts of what the Lockdown 2020 meant to us here in T&T and creates memorable experiences for you and your family while learning through fun.”
Her hope is that the game reaches an international market and becomes as popular as Ludo and Monopoly in the near future.