The LEGO Group is on a mission to reclaim the magic of childhood with their latest initiative, the ‘Play is Your Superpower’ campaign that aims to address the alarming decline in playtime for children across the world and that recognises the critical role that play has in shaping the cognitive abilities, overall well-being and potential future success for children.
Alarming Statistics – The Play Deficit
The age-old adage ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ seems to hold water according to a study done by the LEGO Group that were conducted on 21,180 parents of children aged from 6-12 across 22 markets during the month of August 2023 and references the prior LEGO Play Well Study 2022.
The findings of a global study conducted by the LEGO Group were revealed in a press briefing in Malaysia and the findings are staggering: children today are spending only 2% of their week, equivalent to seven hours, actually playing.
Even more concerning, one in three children spends less than three hours per week engaging in play. To put this in perspective, the study found that the average adult dedicates 26 hours a week, equivalent to more than 3.5 hours per day, to scrolling on their smartphones. This growing play deficit has significant consequences for children’s development. The study also shed light on the fact that 70% of parents tend to prioritise achievement-based activities, such as sports clubs, language learning, and tutoring, over free play.
Dr. Paul Ramchandani, Professor of Play at the University of Cambridge, emphasises the profound value of play in a child’s development. He states, “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.”
This campaign is not just talk; it’s a call to action, and The LEGO Group has enlisted a global Play Squad to help spread the message. Renowned figures such as Tan France, Naomi Watanabe, Bindi Irwin, and Stephanie Beatriz have all lent their voices to this initiative. They attribute their success and unique skills to the unstructured, imaginative playtime they had as children.
Bindi Irwin, a passionate conservationist, shares her journey from childhood play to her present dedication to wildlife conservation. She says, “As a child, I would connect to my love for animals and our natural world through play. I wanted to connect with every species and learn more about them. My world now revolves around wildlife conservation, encouraging others to care for our Earth and understand that we are all connected.”
For comedian Naomi Watanabe, childhood play instilled in her the power of self-expression that has permeated every aspect of her life. She notes, “Childhood play always gave me an outlet to express myself in any way I wanted. It has shaped who I am as a comedian, a performer, and a human being.“
What is the LEGO ‘Play Is Your Superpower’ initiative about?
In Malaysia, the LEGO Group is teaming up with Common Ground Malaysia, the biggest co-working space nationwide to transform its co-working spaces into “work-play” stations that blend aspects of teamwork, imagination and collaboration that will be implemented across Common Ground co-working spaces to emphasise the superpower of play.
Rohan Mathur, Marketing Director of LEGO Southeast Asia shared, “The Rebuild the World campaign is one of our most highly anticipated events on our annual calendar. Witnessing it come to life inspiring creativity and imagination, while also fostering stronger connections beyond the confines of homes and classrooms, is truly exciting for us. This year, we’re extending its reach into the workspace, emphasising the importance of balancing work and play. We believe that adults, whether with their children, colleagues, friends, or loved ones, will benefit from engaging in the play activities. Through this initiative, we aim to highlight the transformative power of play, which transcends all boundaries!”
LEGO also released a five-minute Play is Your Superpower film starring actor Jane Lynch that’s actually quite entertaining to watch on their website. To check out the film and find out more about the LEGO Play is your Superpower initiative, checkout the LEGO Group’s official website at https://www.lego.com/en-my/rebuild-the-world