Clearly, we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of play. So, how do we describe it? Play is usually defined as an activity we do for fun and recreation without any serious, practical purpose. It’s stress-free, voluntary, and, most of the time, spontaneous. The magic of playing is that there are no rules about when there are rules or not. Sometimes playing goes on for days, and the storyline is super complex. Another time, all it takes to play is wearing a silly hat to dinner.
Best of all, the learnings and growth and general greatness come for free as long
as we remain focused on what’s most important – having fun.
Every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child.
Ingvar Kamprad initiates what becomes Children’s IKEA
The launch of Children’s IKEA
Did you know?
Play is the rocket fuel of brain development. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, play leads to changes at the molecular (epigenetic), cellular (neuronal connectivity), and behavioural levels (socioemotional and executive functioning skills) and promotes learning, our ability to adapt and problem solve, and drives our social skills and positive behaviours.
On the barricades of play
At IKEA, we know that the best way for children to learn, develop and grow is to play. We also know that the home is the most important playground. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to help make that space fun, adventurous, and safe.
Playing is not a luxury – it’s a necessity. And it’s almost as crucial for grownups as for kids. But at times, family life is all about logistics, and the idea of playing together seems far off. If we think of play as a specific activity with pre-defined rules, it’s easy to feel the pressure when experts go on about its greatness.
Because how should we find the time to play with our kids as much as we ought to? Or the energy? When play becomes another chore to add to the list, the point is lost.
Did you know?
Much of what we know, we’ve learnt by asking children themselves – which we do for example through Kids Lab, where children help us develop new products, and through the online Kids Panel, where we get valuable input from children aged 8-14 worldwide. Our insights into play also come from the three IKEA Play Reports (as a matter of fact, they make up the world’s largest-ever body of research on the topic). From 2009 to 2017, we did thousands of interviews with parents, children and teenagers worldwide on the topics of child development and play. The learnings directly influence the way we design for the ever-changing world of home – and for the home as the best ever playground.
I’m 42, but no one treats me as a stereotypical 42-year-old – and I would feel quite small if they did.
SAGOSKATT – fantastic soft toys with a mission
The SAGOSKATT collection is a range of limited-edition soft toys designed by kids for kids. They are the result of the annual IKEA Soft toy drawing competition where children across the world come to the nearest IKEA store or enter online to submit a drawing of their dream soft toy. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of kids have participated and let their imagination run wild – with fantastic results.
Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.
Embrace your inner weirdo in everything you do.
The Real Play Coalition – a global movement that puts play first
At IKEA, spreading the word about the power of play is serious business. That’s why in 2018, we formed an alliance with others who share the same belief. Today, the Real Play Coalition consists of five members: ARUP, National Geographic, the LEGO Foundation, UNICEF and IKEA. Together we work towards our purpose – to make play globally accessible, integrated, and inclusive, because it’s an essential right for children to thrive now and in the future.
By working together, we have a greater chance of inspiring a real shift towards more play in kids’ lives. We focus on three main objectives: to prove the importance of play through evidence, to embed play-based principles into urban design, and to incorporate play into children’s daily lives. Our ambition is to create a movement that narrows the play gap for 100 million children by 2030.
How will we do it? By using our combined insights, reach and influence, and by working with children, we are creating a movement that impacts the cultural perception of the importance of play – among parents, practitioners, institutions and wider societies.
Learn more and get tips on how to weave more play into your everyday life at www.realplaycoalition.com.
Did you know?
At the Real Play Coalition, we see play as a critical resource for children and their development. The Reclaiming Play in Cities Report, launched at the 10th World Urban Forum, reviews the evidence around learning through play and the impact that urban environments have on children’s access to play and, ultimately, their overall development.
The report also unveils a first-of-its-kind Urban Play Framework. It provides a method to understand how various urban systems impact a child’s learning through play experience, influencing their skills development and ability to thrive and reach their full potential.