The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) has been hard at work these past few weeks preparing 1,000 activity kits for youth to get them out on the land and practicing their literacy skills.
With the normal summer literacy activities – which include a free children’s day camp – cancelled due to Covid-19 this year, the organization had to get creative.
“We know this [pandemic] around the world is going on for some time, and we want to strongly show our support to the families, especially to the kids,” IRC Chair Duane Smith said. “This is one way where we can provide materials to the household so that the children have something new, something different that they can tap into and get their parents involved.”
There are kits available for five different age groups, and they are filled with books to help with literacy, STEM packages allow kids to practice their math skills, toothpaste to encourage oral hygiene, and bug-spray, sunscreen, and berry-picking pails for outdoor activities.
To teach kids about Inuvialuit culture, IRC staff have included several items crafted within communities themselves, such as sealskin yo-yos, sealskin balls used to play traditional games, and a hand-sewn sealskin owl called an Ukpik.
An Ukpik, a small owl made from seal-skin, sits atop some of the goodies being sent out to the younger children. Submitted photo.
Smith told Cabin Radio that it’s not only important to expose youth to the culture but to keep them engaged in ways that will help them in school.
“[It’s] important to ensure that the children have the opportunity to [develop] tools that provide education, even if they might not be aware that these are tools to get them practicing exercising their brains and learning activities at the same time,” he said.
Not only will they keep the kids busy, Smith added, but the activity kits will also be good for parents.
“This is not just focused on the children, but it’s an opportunity for the parents to take advantage of these kits themselves so that they’re building stronger parenting [and] bonding more with their children at the same time,” he said.
The IRC has already received applications for 600 kits, and said anyone interested in receiving a kit can out a form on the IRC website.