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The new Play Report: the spark of play every day

13 March 2018

IKEA is staging a play revolution, and not just for kids. It’s backed by one of the world’s largest ongoing research studies of play – the Play Report. Read all about it…

Children and adults playing a game with cushions on the floor.
A portrait of Lydia Choi-Johansson.

Discover the IKEA Play Report

‘The mission is to reveal the emotional needs around play,’ says intelligence specialist Lydia Choi-Johansson. ‘We’ve always believed that play is for everyone – this is the third year of the Play Report, so it’s about time we included children, teenagers and adults in our study. Over eight months, we engaged with people in three continents through an online community (aged two to 92!), co-creation workshops and play visits. Then, to help analyse the results, we recruited a group of play experts, ranging from a magician to a futurist.’

‘Our participants told us that life without play is no life at all – I think we really captured something. Play is fundamental for everybody, everywhere’

Lydia Choi-Johansson

Two people out for a bike ride on a woodland path.

Get inspired by five ways to play more

‘Although the report showed some interesting nuances across countries and cultures, the biggest takeaway was the five play motivators that people across the world had in common,’ says Lydia. They were:
1. Play to explore Set off on a physical or emotional journey to discover something or somewhere new, whether that’s outdoors or in (now VR can help!).
2. Play to repair Return to something familiar, like board games, to help rebalance life and restore wellbeing. Nostalgia is often feel-good.
3. Play to connect Make time for offline interactions that rely on real-life emotions, facial expressions and gestures.
4. Play to escape Steal a few moments away from daily routines, even by playing a quick game on your smartphone.
5. Play to express Bring out the inner you through a creative medium – whether that’s a big messy painting on a canvas, theatre or dance…

Indian artisans are making a patchwork blanket.

Putting the results into action

‘We’re already thinking about future trends and how we can enable them in our lives, which includes developing personal play plans (similar to fitness plans) and bringing brand new technology into the home,’ says Lydia. ‘For us at IKEA, a playful mindset will be reflected in everything – from ideas meetings to range development, and in all the ways we connect with customers.’ Watch the video to see more of how the latest Play Report was made…