To play is to learn. Time to step back and let kids be kids

Real play is the freedom for children to engage with and learn from the world that surrounds them. By mentally and physically connecting children to the world, play empowers them to create and grow for the rest of their lives. It is a fundamental right for all children.

Research shows that play is vital to a child’s development, equipping them with the skills necessary to tackle humanity’s future, such as emotional intelligence, creativity and problem solving. To be a superhero is to lead; to host a teddy for tea is to organise; to build a fort is to innovate: to play is to learn.

We, Unilever through its Dirt is Good brands including OMO and Persil, the LEGO Foundation and IKEA Group, the founding members of the Real Play Coalition in partnership with National Geographic, are committed to create a movement that prioritises the importance of play as not only something that lets kids be kids, but as something that sparks the fire for a child’s development and learning. Partnering with children, parents, teachers, business, NGOs, stakeholders and society, our Real Play Coalition will empower and facilitate children’s opportunities to grow and learn through play.

These opportunities should be granted to children wherever and whenever possible. But millions of youngsters around the world lack safe spaces for exploratory, hands-on play. In fact, 78% of parents agree that, during their childhood, the world was safer. It is critical that the freedom to play safely is not lost. Children who can play in a safe and supportive environment develop face-to-face communication, teamwork and negotiation skills, allowing them to become more resilient to life’s challenges.


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