Early Childhood Development (ECD) Kit
Discover the supplies that UNICEF sources, procures and delivers to keep children playing and learning even during emergencies.
Infants and young children caught in conflicts or emergencies are at risk of developmental delays, which can have lifelong damaging consequences. When exposed to extreme stress and deprivation, children aged 0–8 years are more likely to not fully develop their emotional, cognitive, motor and social skills.
In the early years of life, the neural connectivity of children’s brains is at its maximum and represents a unique window of opportunity for their development. Stressful situations such as emergencies can threaten the brain’s healthy development and damage neural activity.
A vital tool for learning and play
The UNICEF Early Childhood Development (ECD) Kit was created to help young children continue to develop their skills even when times are difficult. It is a ‘treasure box’ filled with materials and ideas for learning and fun, creating a safe learning space for young children in stressful situations, including emergencies.
The ECD is a key tool in the UNICEF response to support children in crises. The kit is packed with materials to meet the learning needs of children up to 8 years old during and after emergencies. It can also be used in regular learning programmes that support children's development.
A single ECD Kit can serve up to 50 children and their caregivers with various supplies, such as toys, games and books. It is available in light-weight recycled metal or cardboard and for procurement in the UNICEF Supply Catalogue.
Learn more about some of the items included in the kit and how they can be used to support early childhood development, helping children learn and thrive.
Art and craft supplies
The ECD Kit contains several supplies for art and craft activities, including stationery items such as pencils, pads, crayons and clay that can be used for modeling, drawing and writing.
These supplies can help children develop their creativity, fine motor skills and communication abilities. They also encourage caregivers, including parents and guardians, to actively support children play and self-expression.
The kit includes an illustrated board book that can be used to read stories. The pictures can be used as a reference for drawing and creating new stories with art and craft supplies.
Such activities encourage children to use their imagination and creativity while developing their language and communication skills.
Toys in the kit come in different forms and shapes like building blocks, wooden jigsaw, chain and board puzzles, and a counting circle. They are especially beneficial as they help children learn how to use their eyes to reach and grab objects with different shapes, textures and sizes.
Using these toys, children can learn to identify, scan and match puzzle pieces with the outline of the hole where they belong. Children can also learn new words and to count.
Puppet play offers an ideal opportunity to tell a compelling story or present difficult themes and issues. Children often feel safe with a friendly puppet that resembles an animal. In the hands of a creative and responsive adult, puppet play offers an ideal opportunity to present themes and issues, even difficult ones.
Children themselves can play with the puppets. Puppets give them an opportunity for self-expression and imagination while exploring ways of figuring out solutions to problems and sharing stories.
The kit contains useful items of general use like soap and water containers to keep the materials and children clean. It also comes with a booklet that guides caregivers in carrying out activities for collaborative learning and increasing communication and interaction among children.
Activity cards included in the ECD Kit offer ideas on how to entertain children using not only the kit’s contents, but also suggested activities that do not require any materials, offering a wide range of options to choose from.