Real Play Coalition Announce Global Month of Play and First Ever Play Gap Report to Combat the Dramatic Decline of Play

Monday, November 12, 2018 General News
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In 2018 IKEA, The LEGO Foundation, Unilever's Persil and OMO and National Geographic joined forces as the Real Play Coalition with a shared belief in the value of play.

LONDON, Nov. 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- This November, the Real Play Coalition founded by IKEA, The LEGO Foundation, Unilever's

Persil and OMO and National Geographic, is announcing its commitment to help combat the erosion of play by introducing the Global Month of Play, and reinforcing its commitment to better understand where play is at greatest risk by launching the first-ever Play Gap Report in partnership with University College London.  

As both individual and collective champions of play, the four iconic organisations behind the Real Play Coalition have come together to develop and support play-based activities that give children opportunities to grow and learn through play. Touching homes, schools and communities, the Global Month of Play will provide a programme of activities throughout November that will engage and excite children in each aspect of their lives. With a proven track record of success, together, the Real Play Coalition will reach over 3 million children in more than 116 countries and activities will take place in across 26,000 classrooms.

Additionally, the Real Play Coalition is announcing its development of the world's first-ever Play Gap Report, created in partnership with University College London (UCL). The Play Gap Report will be a global study which will help pinpoint the gaps in access to quality play between genders and different socio-economic groups among more than 40 countries. Preliminary results are already showing that children from disadvantaged backgrounds in some countries are more than 20 percentage points less likely[i] to regularly play with building blocks – with demonstrated links to language, motor and early maths skills - than children from socio-economically advantaged homes*. The key results will be announced in early 2019, which will fuel future Real Play Coalition programmes. 

Jesper Brodin, CEO of Ingka Group[ii]; Kees Kruythoff, President, Home Care, Unilever; John Goodwin, CEO of The LEGO Foundation; and Gary Knell, Chairman of National Geographic Partners said in a joint statement: "Play is the 'rocket fuel' of human development. It is nature's way of helping children make sense of the world and their place in it. Driven by natural curiosity, play helps children master their bodies and minds, activates their imaginations and develops the cognitive, emotional and pro-social skills that define them as adults.

"Yet despite its central importance in every child's developmental journey, play is under threat. Globalisation, rapid urbanisation and advances in machine learning are reshaping the way we think, live, work…and play. While these changes have significant benefits, they also bring disruption, anxiety and uncertainty about the kinds of futures we will face."

Globally, 64% of parents believe their children have fewer opportunities to play than they did as a child themselves[iii]. Whether for reasons of safety (51% of parents agree they would like their children to play outside but are too worried about their safety[iv]) or growing pressures on children (one in five say they are "too busy" to play[v]), it is clear that play is under threat in the home, in schools and in the community across the world.

Here's a snapshot of how the Global Month of Play will be brought to life.

IKEA: Let's Play For Change campaign

With the Let's Play for Change campaign, the Swedish home furnishing retailer IKEA wants to encourage more play for a better everyday life. As we launch the campaign worldwide, we're touching all four corners of the world with our knowledge on play, and the important message that it is vital for all of us, everywhere, every day. During November and December everyone is invited to join extra playful activities in more than 400 IKEA stores around the world. In the annual drawing competition to develop next year's soft toy collection SAGOSKATT, IKEA welcomes all IKEA FAMILY members aged 0 to 12 from all over the world to draw the soft toy of their dreams. The six most unique drawings are turned into real soft toys in next year's collection. The full purchase price of each SAGOSKATT toy is donated to local organisations supporting every child's right to play and develop. Since the start five years ago the drawing competition has engaged over 157,000 kids from every corner of the earth. During the Global Month of Play, the message is also played out across social media through the exploits of one of our FABLER BJÖRN teddies, known as Björn, as he makes a bold leap and leaves the store to head out on a play journey.

Follow the IKEA activities on #letsplayforchange and #FablerBjorn

The LEGO Foundation: World Children's Day

UNICEF's Universal Children's Day on November 20th marks the day when the most widely ratified human right treaty in history, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, was adopted. It is a global day of action for children, by children, where leaders are held to account on their promises to children.

Throughout November, the LEGO Foundation and the LEGO Group will support this celebration through Build the Change events, where children in select places in Mexico, the UK, China, South Africa and Denmark have been invited to use LEGO® bricks to build their dream school where learning through play and creativity are part of everything they do. As an outcome, the LEGO Foundation will collate and document a selection of insights, ideas and learnings from the activation and hand them to world leaders at the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child 2019.

Follow activities during the Global Month of Play through #worldchildrensday

Dirt is Good (Persil and OMO): Outdoor Classroom Day

Outdoor Classroom Day is a global campaign to inspire and celebrate outdoor learning and play, led by NGO Project Dirt globally, working with local NGOs, and supported by Unilever's Persil and OMO. On November 1st, thousands of schools around the world will take lessons outside and prioritise playtime, sending a message of how learning outside of the classroom engages and excites children in spectacular ways. In 2018 alone, over 3 million children across 26,000 classrooms will have joined this movement. Parents and teachers from around the world can sign up at www.outdoorclassroomdaycom   

National Geographic: Play Made Me This Way

To celebrate the invaluable marks play leave on our lives, the Real Play Coalition will be launching a fascinating series of videos called Play Made Me This Way, featuring the stories of a number of extraordinary individuals. Produced by National Geographic, through testimonies and revisiting memories, the videos will reveal how play during the formative years have had a life-changing impact on who they grew up to be, which has made them ensure their children have the same quality play that they did. The first video of the series will feature National Geographic Explorer Aaron Huey and his 8-year-old son, the youngest published photographer in National Geographic magazine at the age of 4.  The video can be watched on National Geographic and Real Play Coalition social media channels.  #PlayMadeMeThisWay.

Real Play Coalition website

To inspire parents, guardians, teachers and children alike to play, the Real Play Coalition are launching a brand-new website and mobile app, which on launch will contain 150 games and activities. will be live on November 1st.

Play today!

The Global Month of Play will enable more play opportunities for children across the world. It will form a platform to discuss just how critical play is in forming the well-rounded, creative, empathetic and lateral-thinking adults that tomorrow's society needs.  To learn more and to find activities in each area, search 'Real Play Coalition'.

While a month is not enough, it is an important first step on a road to more playful childhoods.

Follow the Real Play Coalition on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Notes to editors

About the Real Play Coalition

In January 2018, four of the world's most iconic organisations came together to champion play. IKEA, the LEGO Foundation, Unilever's Persil and OMO and National Geographic share a belief in the power of play to transform lives. They work together to develop and support play-based activities to give children opportunities to grow and learn through play.

[i] J. Jerrim, The Play Gap Report (forthcoming 2019)[ii] Ingka Group, formerly IKEA Group, is the largest IKEA franchisee with 367 IKEA stores in 30 markets, and 158,500 co-workers. The name Ingka is based on its founder's name, Ingvar Kamprad.[iii] Dirt is Good 'Play in Balance Report', 2016[iv] IKEA 'Play Report', 2015[v] LEGO 'Play Well Report', 2018


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SOURCE Real Play Coalition

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