Pictured with children at the book launch, L-R are: Christine McCullough, Illustrator; Lisa Maclean, Chief Executive, Footprints Women’s Centre; Alan Herron, Chief Executive, PlayBoard NI; Maelíosa Cahill, Footprints Family Empowerment lead.

PlayBoard NI, the lead organisation for the development of children and young people’s play, has launched a new well-being book and resource titled Archie’s Adventures in Emotions.

The innovative children’s book and accompanying activity cards promotes emotional intelligence through play. Readers are guided on a jungle adventure with Archie Bear and his jungle friends as he explores emotions. Navigating a range of feelings, the book aims to equip children with the skills to understand and manage their emotions in a fun and playful way.  

The children’s story is accompanied by a resource of simple play activities which can be used by parents at home or by those working with children in settings, in groups or on a one-to-one basis.

Designed as an element of PlayBoard’s Spaces to Be programme, the new resource continues PlayBoard’s work in supporting children’s mental health and well-being through a play-based approach.

Spaces to Be is delivered as part of the OUR Generation project. OUR Generation is funded under the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), to build positive relations and emotional resilience in communities impacted by four decades of the Troubles/Conflict across the island of Ireland.

Match-funding for the project has been provided by The Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland. 

Speaking at the launch of the well-being book and resource PlayBoard Chief Executive, Alan Herron, said:

“We are delighted to join Footprints Women’s Centre today to share our new well-being resource. Children attending the childcare setting were instrumental in the development of the resource through participation in an activity-led focus group. Following a preview of the story, the children shared their feedback which enabled us to make enhancements and ensure both the book and activities were child-friendly.

The health and well-being of children and young people is at the core of what we do, and through our play-based programmes such as Spaces to Be, and our resources, we continue to strive for the best outcomes for all children and young people across Northern Ireland. We hope that Archie’s Adventures in Emotions will assist parents and those working with children to talk about emotions and mental health in a playful yet impactful way.”

Lisa Maclean, Chief Executive, Footprints Women’s Centre said:

“Our Family Empowerment Project (sponsored by BBC Children in Need) offers a holistic service to families and children in the Colin Area. Key to our service delivery is recognising the strength and value of working in partnership with other child-centric organisations and our partnership working and co-delivery with PlayBoard NI has proved a huge success.

We are pleased to have worked together to promote positive play and build resilience through the Spaces to Be programme, and the OUR Generation project since 2022. The cross-community programme looks at diversity and difference, focusing on similarities and common goals. There was a gap in the market for a children’s emotional well-being resource and the children helped make this happen.”

Footprints deliver a CHAMPS programme (Children Healing through Art Music Play and Smiles) providing children aged five to ten years with a safe space for development and confidence building through fun play activities.

Maelíosa Cahill, Footprints Family Empowerment lead commented:

“Engaging the children in the development of a resource for children (and families) to promote positive emotional well-being has been a welcomed opportunity. The voice of the child is imperative in developing resources for children. We are very proud of our CHAMPS group in helping to develop Archie’s Adventures in Emotions and look forward to using it with future CHAMPS groups.”

Archie’s Adventures in Emotions was illustrated by Christine McCullough.

OUR Generation is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).