Play is your superpower: New LEGO Group campaign prioritises play
A third of the world’s children spend less time playing a week than most adults spend scrolling on their phones. This current play deficit is a cause for concern for experts given the crucial role of play in shaping a child’s cognitive abilities, overall wellbeing and most importantly, in them having fun.
This shocking statistic is one of many drivers behind a new campaign from The LEGO Group, which is encouraging families to prioritise play, whilst highlighting its importance in childhood development.
“If we don’t recognise that factoring in time for a child to play each day is imperative to their wellbeing and future success, we’re going to have a generation of young adults missing vital skills. With this campaign we aim to re-frame the way adults see play and its many benefits, and encourage them to reprioritise it in their family lives. It should be seen as just as important as reading children a bedtime story or helping them eat well to boost their health,” explained Alero Akuya, VP of Brand Development at the LEGO Group.
At the core of the campaign is the message that play is a fundamental part of every child’s growth, developing crucial ‘superpowers’, or skills, that benefit them both now and in the future.
“There’s huge value in children taking part in all activities that provide them with a rounded education and skill set, but play offers children something really special. Through play, children develop essential skills that enhance every other area of their development, learning and growth. If your child has adequate time to play, they can develop skills including creativity, confidence, problem-solving and communication that will help them reach their full potential in later life,” added Dr Paul Ramchandani, Professor of Play at the University of Cambridge.
Unfortunately a new global study has found that 70 per cent of parents choose achievement-based activities such as sports lessons, learning a language or academic coaching over playtime for their children.
A number of celebrities are supporting the campaign, including Tan France, Naomi Watanabe, Bindi Irwin and Stephanie Beatriz, all of whom attribute childhood play to skills that have shaped their lives. Collectively, this group is known as The Play Squad, and will share their beliefs on why play should be a priority for every child.
“As a young boy growing up in Doncaster, UK, the idea of being where I am today felt far removed. Little did I know that the skills I was learning through play in my bedroom would directly impact my future life. Play helped me imagine infinite possibilities, allowing me to see things differently and discover my place in the world. A huge part of my career focuses on instilling that sense of endless imagination in adults; sometimes I wish I could rewind the clock and encourage people to step into their own adventures through play,” said fashion designer and entrepreneur Tan France.
For passionate conservationist Bindi Irwin, childhood play taught her the power of connecting to others and the world around her.
“As a child I would connect to my love for animals and our natural world through play. I would create my own imaginary worlds where I would run wild with every kind of animal. I wanted to connect with every species and learn more about them. My Dad built me a treehouse and it was my favourite place in the world to play. It was where I could be a wild child! Surrounded by wildlife, next to the creek, it was where I felt most connected to nature and to my Dad. That connection has meant everything to me and I’ve carried it through to my adult years. My world now revolves around wildlife conservation, encouraging others to care for our Earth and understand that we are all connected.”
To accompany the campaign, the LEGO Group has released a five-minute Play Is Your Superpower film, starring Hollywood actor Jane Lynch as a work-obsessed CEO who becomes enlightened to the merits of play by seeing the impact it makes on her employees through the eyes of children. Superstar actress Sun Li takes on the role of the CEO in an adaption for families in China.
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