- A new global study has discovered a global deficit in play, with a third (32%) of children globally spending less time playing a week than most adults spend scrolling on their smartphones per day
- Play is a fundamental part of every child’s growth, developing crucial ‘superpowers’, or skills, that benefit them both now and in the future
- The LEGO Group is encouraging families to prioritise play, whilst highlighting its importance in childhood development after finding that 70% of parents choose achievement-based activities over playtime for their kids
- The campaign is supported by Tan France, Naomi Watanabe, Bindi Irwin and Stephanie Beatriz, inspirational figures who attribute childhood play to skills that have shaped their lives
Billund – September 21st 2023: The LEGO Group has today announced its new Play is Your Superpower campaign, aimed at addressing a global lack in play amongst children. Together with a global Play Squad of supporters, the LEGO Group is inspiring families to reprioritise playtime, emphasising its critical importance in childhood development and the role it has in bringing fun to families around the world.
The campaign draws its insights from a recent global study finding that, on average, children are spending just 2% of their week (equivalent to 7 hours) playing, with one in three (32%) spending less than three hours each week enjoying play. Comparatively, the average adult spends 26 hours a week scrolling on their smartphone, more than 3.5 hours per day*. 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.
The study also highlighted that 70% of parents are choosing to prioritise achievement-based activities for their child over free play because they believe that it will lead them to greater success in the future. The activities that adults are most often choosing over play include sports clubs, learning a language and tutoring.
Dr Paul Ramchandani, Professor of Play at the University of Cambridge says, “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.”
When asked, 57% of parents said the time their child spends on achievement-based activities has increased over the last three years, often at the expense of playtime. Alero Akuya, VP of Brand Development at the LEGO Group, said, “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.”
To launch the campaign, the LEGO Group has enlisted the help of a group of leading cultural figures who each attribute the skills developed through childhood play to helping make their dreams come true. The Play Squad, including Tan France, Naomi Watanabe, Bindi Irwin and Stephanie Beatriz, will share the unique superpowers that play has given them and why they believe it should be a priority for every child.
Fashion designer and entrepreneur Tan France said, “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.”
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 tree house 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 today 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. The film is playable and packed with easter eggs; viewers can play along and find their own playful superpower at LEGO.com.
It’s not only children that benefit from play. Play makes the whole family happier, builds stronger family bonds and improves wellbeing according to 95% of parents**. The LEGO Group knows that family schedules are packed with everyday responsibilities like working long hours (31%) and chores (28%) proving the biggest barriers to family play according to parents***. To help parents reprioritise play, the LEGO Group and its Play Squad will be supporting parents with inspiration on how to inject moments of playfulness into even the busiest of schedules on World Play Day on 12th October 2023.
Find out more about the campaign and watch the Play is Your Superpower film here: LEGO.com/SuperpowerOfPlay
Notes to Editors
1 Dataai.com (12th January 2022): The State of Mobile in 2022
2 LEGO Play Well Report 2022
3 LEGO Play Well Report 2022
For more information, please contact email@example.com
About the research
All findings from the report, unless otherwise referenced, were gathered from a total of 21,180 parents of children aged 6 – 12 across 22 markets during August 2023.
Where data is referenced as the LEGO Play Well study 2022, the research was conducted among a total of 32,781 parents and 24,593 children aged 5 -12 through a 20 minute online quantitative survey conducted across 35 markets in early 2022.
For a full list of markets for either study, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
About the LEGO Group
The LEGO Group’s mission is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow through the power of play. The LEGO System in Play, with its foundation in LEGO bricks, allows children and fans to build and rebuild anything they can imagine.
The LEGO Group was founded in Billund, Denmark in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen, its name derived from the two Danish words Leg Godt, which mean “Play Well”. Today, the LEGO Group remains a family-owned company headquartered in Billund. Its products are now sold in more than 130 countries worldwide. For more information: www.LEGO.com