LEGO® DUPLO® challenges own social media habits as encouragement to take playtime seriously

Billund, Denmark (February 26, 2018): Play is crucial in every child’s development, and for toddlers the benefits of play especially come to life when they can connect with their parents during playtime. To raise awareness and help parents carve out the time and attention span needed, LEGO® DUPLO® launches a 21-day global “Do not disturb playtime” campaign. 21 days is what it takes on average to break a habit, so for 21 days the LEGO DUPLO team will not post on social media during "toddler playtime", defined as 5am-8pm.

The purpose of the campaign is to encourage parents to put their phone away during playtime, and instead immerse themselves in some quality playtime with their young ones.
With social media being an integrated part and creative inspiration to modern family life, it is no surprise that both parents and researchers call out digital behavior as a concerning barrier to quality play time between parents and toddlers.

“While we are all hooked on our cell phones, we should think about turning them off when interacting with our young children. Kids learn so much from us and we don't want to get in the way of that. Take language learning. It does not happen in a vacuum; when nurturing caregivers talk to their children about what they are interested in, it helps them learn new words and new ways to express themselves.

Our research shows that the use of a cell phone in the middle of a conversation between parent and child disrupts that child's word learning. Give yourself and your child a break! Put it away during playtime!” Advises Roberta Golinkoff, PhD: Professor, School of Education, University of Delaware.

Our research shows that parents today understand their significant role in ensuring their kids grow up to be happy, well-rounded, and equipped for the future. At the same time, many worry about not spending enough time with their toddlers. LEGO DUPLO wants to inspire parents to make the small moments into memorable moments. Creating meaningful play experiences together does not have to be a big project.

“We know parents today feel more time-starved than ever before, juggling careers with personal time and parenting. Many feel guilty over not spending as much time with their little ones, as they would like. Through the “Do not disturb play time” campaign we hope to re-assure parents that it’s not so much the amount of time they spend with their kids, but the small meaningful moments they create and connect over during play. This campaign is intended to inspire parents and create awareness of the importance of taking playtime seriously”, said Steffen Jensen, LEGO Group Senior Marketing Director, Pre-school.

Child playing

Connecting through play

Play is not only the most natural way for children to learn, it is fundamental for their future development in life. This is why every child not only has the right to play*, but also a foundational need to play. Play stimulates the human brain, helping to develop physical, emotional as well as critical 21st century skills such as problem solving, collaboration, creativity, and communications.

For the youngest children, playtime with adults is key to unleashing these potentials. A young child’s brain can activate between 700-1000 neurons every second, which then again connect to thousands of other neurons. Play helps activate these neurons, and the connections serve as the building blocks of their future, impacting their health, emotional wellbeing and ability to learn**.

“Humans need humans. The very foundation for learning comes from the back and forth of social interactions between adults and children. Anything that disrupts the natural flow of this conversation disrupts how well our children will learn.

While we tend to focus on how children’s screen time deprives our kids of important conversations, we should also focus on the adult. Every time we pick up our cell phone in the middle of a conversation with our child – every time we check for the latest message and every time we have to follow that ding to grab the latest e-mail, we break the flow of normal treasured moments with our children. And in that broken moment, our research suggests, the conversation is lost and our children learn less”, says Kathy Hirsh-Pasek Main, PhD: Professor, Department of Psychology, Temple University and Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution.

Join the fun and take the challenge yourself. Share your reflections and your creative approaches to the challenge across social media using #donotdisturbplaytime Just remember to do it outside of playtime.

LEGO DUPLO fun facts

• LEGO® DUPLO® is a play system designed especially for children aged 1½ to 5 years
• LEGO® DUPLO® bricks are twice the size of LEGO® bricks, perfect for small hands and growing imaginations
• The LEGO® DUPLO® brick is built on the same system as the LEGO brick, enabling endless creativity and imagination
• First LEGO® DUPLO® set was launched in 1949
• There are 56 number of LEGO® DUPLO® sets available in 2018

The “Do not disturb playtime“ campaign runs from February 26th – March 18th, and is limited to LEGO® DUPLO® content and channels between 5am and 8pm. Outside these hours LEGO DUPLO will continue to post fun inspirational play tips, as well as reflections from real families and child psychology experts.

*UNICEF – UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, article 31