The Real Play Coalition: working together to spotlight play

Green funny kids’ drawings of fantasy creatures on a yellow background.

The Real Play Coalition: working together to spotlight play

For us at IKEA, spreading the word about the power of play is a serious business. Because after producing the world’s largest piece of research on play, we want to shine a light on children’s universal right to play under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. And we’re not the only ones.

In 2018, we formed an alliance with others who share this belief. Together with the LEGO Foundation, National Geographic, Unilever and UNICEF, we work to promote play-based opportunities that serve as rocket fuel for child development.

Together, we are the Real Play Coalition.

“Children today spend less time playing, because they’re too busy. That's why we want to promote play as optimal for child development.”

A happy boy lying on a bed in a dark green bedroom with a gray JÄTTESTOR elephant soft toy.

The benefits of play

Why do children need to play? Because play in early childhood ignites the fire for learning, naturally setting children up with the skills they need to thrive as adults in a fast-moving future.

A girl dressed for relaxing at home and with a paper crown on her head, sprawling in an armchair while drawing.

Play is under threat

Through our collective work and research at the Real Play Coalition, we know that – whether at home, in the community, at school or across virtual spaces – play is under threat.

Children today spend less time playing, because they’re too busy. That's why we want to promote play as optimal for child development.

An outdoor evening scene in an Eastern country where girls are running around playing in the schoolyard.

What our play research tells us

Before we formed the Real Play Coalition, our organizations commissioned independent research across more than 100 countries, to assess the impact of play on children, families, communities and society.

This gave us a sense of the benefits of play and what children learn through play. But it also provided a clear picture of the issues around low-play lives.


“By working together – 'tillsammans' as we say in Sweden – with other large organizations that share our belief in play's power, we have an even bigger chance of inspiring more play in children’s lives.”

Power to the play makers

Even though we’re a brand that reaches many people around the globe, we see the reduced importance of play in children's lives as a challenge that needs maximum manpower.

By working together – 'tillsammans' as we say in Sweden – with other large organizations that share our belief in play's power, we have an even bigger chance of inspiring a real shift towards more play in children’s lives.

Two boys sitting in front of each other, one of them making funny faces through a magnifying glass.

Our plan for spotlighting play

From our shared evidence‐based perspective comes the Real Play Coalition’s mission. To change perceptions around the value of play. To mobilize decision-makers. And to influence behavioral change. So that by 2025, 500 million children will have benefited from the power of play.

Our shared networks span the globe and we’re present in many people’s daily lives. Because of this, we all have a real responsibility to help reclaim play.

How will we do it? By using our combined insights, reach and influence, and by working with children, we will create a movement that impacts the cultural perception of the importance of play – among parents, practitioners, institutions and wider societies.

Find out more

Join us and get the ball rolling with some simple ideas for play! If you’re interested in the data and research behind our findings, jump to these pages to read more about the power of play, the Real Play Coalition and partners that share our passion for play.

Simple ideas for play
Real Play Coalition
World Economic Forum
World’s largest piece of research on play
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
LEGO Foundation
National Geographic
Unilever
UNICEF

Three rows of a multicolored party garland with the words 'Let’s play!' written in some places.