LEGO Group, LEGO Foundation and UNICEF inspire children to do good through building a tower of their imagination

Today, the LEGO Group, LEGO Foundation and UNICEF launch a campaign to inspire children to imagine the most creative tower they can build with LEGO® DUPLO® bricks – to then build it, take a picture of it and submit it. The LEGO Group will then build one big online tower from all participants’ contributions. The more participants who join the tower building challenge, the more LEGO® DUPLO® bricks are donated to children in South Africa, where up to 150 schools and day-care centres are expected to benefit from this partnership initiative to provide high quality play materials.

“I hope children all over the world will have fun building a tower and find it encouraging to do something good at the same time for the children in these South African schools and day-care centres”, says Robbert Stecher, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, the LEGO Group.

The LEGO Group, LEGO Foundation and UNICEF have partnerships that aim to create awareness of children’s rights and the importance of learning through play and access to play. As part of the partnerships, this campaign encourages children to be imaginative, creative and engaged in donating thousands of LEGO® DUPLO® bricks to support play and early childhood development opportunities to as many as 2,400 children in South Africa. The LEGO Foundation is already active with other projects in South Africa and around the world to make learning through play a reality for millions of children.

The importance of play

Play is vital for children and their future development in life. Play can help children develop physical, intellectual and social skills, and, not least, creativity. When you nurture creativity, children are empowered to become lifelong, curious learners.

“We want to inspire children around the world and bring them together to create one big online tower. With just a few LEGO® DUPLO® bricks and a few clicks, children’s imagination and creativity can help hundreds of children, parents and teachers in South Africa”, says Robbert Stecher, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, the LEGO Group. He continues, “We also hope that this building challenge will help create awareness of the importance of learning through play and access to play.

The partnerships between the LEGO Group, LEGO Foundation and UNICEF will continue to look for ways to engage with children, parents and businesses to put focus on children’s rights and early learning.

”The LEGO Group, LEGO Foundation, and UNICEF share the conviction that play is fundamental to quality early learning and cognitive development,” says Verity Nicholas, Chief Corporate Fundraising, UNICEF. ”Through our partnerships and this fun and engaging initiative, we wish to help build a future in which learning through play empowers children in South Africa to become creative, engaged, lifelong learners.”

How to get started

  • Think about the most creative and crazy imaginative tower possible

  • Build your tower using LEGO® DUPLO® bricks

  • Take a picture of your tower on a solid background

  • Go to: www.LEGO.com/TowerOfImagination and upload your image

  • Within 24 hours, your image will be formatted and you will get a direct link to your contribution to the big online tower.

Facts about play

• Play is a fundamental aspect to learning through which children develop the physical, intellectual, emotional, social and creative skills needed to build the foundation for human development and lifelong learning.
• A UNICEF survey shows that almost a third of under-five year old children in low and middle income countries have inadequate learning opportunities. With limited access to play and play materials they are not achieving their development potential. This has a profound effect on their lives and societies. Source: UNICEF publication “Early Childhood Development: A Statistical Snapshot” (2014) says that less than half of children under 5 in low and middle income countries have access to play and play materials. Find the publication attached (page 4) or follow the link: http://www.unicef.org/earlychildhood/files/ECD_Brochure_FINAL_LR.pdf
• A third of the parents reported not having played with their child in the three days prior to the UNICEF survey. Source: Bornstein and Putnick, 2012 “Cognitive and Socioemotional Caregiving in Developing Countries”. Child Development. 83 (1): 46-61. Find the full article attached (page 54) or follow the link below: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3270892/

Facts about the South African Programme

UNICEF South Africa collaborates with the Government of South Africa and other partners in the implementation of accessible, quality and well-resourced early childhood development programmes.

With this objective, UNICEF and the Department of Basic Education are starting the implementation of a new National Curriculum Framework for children from birth to four years, focusing on an initial 150 Early Childhood Development programmes. The programmes include play-based early learning and development activities, involving structured play activities, as well as free play activities. The programmes take place in small groups of 15 to 20 children (three to four-year olds). Parents are given feedback on their children’s progress and are required to continue with the learning at home.

Together with local play materials, LEGO® DUPLO® bricks will contribute to and enhance the opportunities of learning through play for 2,400 children in the 150 Early Childhood Development programmes. The programmes are connected to UNICEF and the LEGO Foundation partnership that aim to enhance learning through play in the child’s early years in South Africa.

What is LEGO® DUPLO®?

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.

About the LEGO Group

The LEGO Group is a privately held, family-owned company with headquarters in Billund, Denmark, and main offices in Enfield, USA, London, UK, Shanghai, China, and Singapore. Founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen, and based on the iconic LEGO® brick, it is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of play materials.

Guided by the company spirit: “Only the best is good enough”, the company is committed to the development of children and aims to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow through creative play and learning. LEGO products are sold worldwide and can be virtually explored at www.LEGO.com.

For more news from the LEGO Group, information about our financial performance and responsibility engagement, please visit www.LEGO.com/aboutus

LEGO, the LEGO logo, the Mini figure, DUPLO, LEGENDS OF CHIMA, NINJAGO, BIONICLE, MINDSTORMS and MIXELS are trademarks of the LEGO Group. ©2015 The LEGO Group.

Press contact:

Communication Manager, Morten Vestberg

Phone: +45 5215 9259

Mail: Morten.Vestberg@LEGO.com

The LEGO Foundation

The LEGO Foundation works to ensure that learning through play empowers children to become creative, engaged lifelong learners. www.LEGOfoundation.com

Press contact:

Christina Witcomb, Communication Officer, LEGO Foundation

Phone: +45 79507442

Mail: christina.witcomb@lego.com

UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work please visit http://www.unicef.org/.

Press contact:

Tania Dhakhwa

Communication Specialist, UNICEF

Phone: +41 22 9095243

Mail: tdhakhwa@unicef.org