Our mission

We believe that play can become a driver for social and economic progress in every community. To do so, we are persuading parents and caregivers to value and demand play for their children, while building political champions to unlock playful learning at scale.

By supporting and unlocking play experiences for children worldwide, we can contribute toward their learning, holistic development and wellbeing

We want everyone —parents, caregivers, teachers, governments, civil society organisations, businesses and communities— to support children to thrive at home, in school and in society.

We’re on a mission to grow a movement for play! Join us!

Our work

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BrazilColombiaRwandaSouth AfricaComing soon in 2022

Our story

When children and young people play, they’re feeding their imaginations, negotiating friendships, making themselves stronger and finding their own ways to fix and face the problems they encounter along the way. They’re learning, growing and thriving in the present moment, while acquiring the skills that will make them successful, resilient and happy adults in the years ahead.

Since 2019, we’ve been on a mission to get people to value play as a cornerstone of children’s development. We’ve encouraged parents and families to recognise the benefits of play, dedicate more time to play with their children; and then demand more space and time for play to happen in their homes, communities, and in the classrooms. We have created localised tools and experiences which have provided a platform for governments to promote playful learning. And we have convened a wide range of organisations to embrace play as part of their programmes and initiatives, unlocking play for a more diverse and larger pool of children.

Why now?

The world has shifted dramatically over the last year with COVID-19 and never before has children’s development and learning been so important. Parents, teachers, systems and governments have to rethink how children learn, and play, under these changing circumstances. 

We’re excited to keep exploring not only immediate solutions to help parents and caregivers prioritise play for development, but also work with schools and decision makers to change our education systems and communities for the better, to be more creative, innovative and holistic.

Our Impact

We have been working in Brazil and Colombia since 2020, are currently launching work in Rwanda, and will be expanding to South Africa in 2022.

During 2020:

  • +75m people were reached and 3.5m people enagaged.
  • +57k people were driven to engage in play experiences.
  • The Ministry of Education in Colombia integrated playful learning activities into the national remote education platform.
  • We created strong partnerships with platforms, such as TikTok in Brazil, to promote playful learning and playtime amongst families.
  • Opinion leaders, celebrities and influencers have spoken out about the importance of playful learning for children.

Case studies copy can be found here.

Case Studies

Aprender es un Juego de Todos

Making playful learning accessible for everyone

What was the need?

Evidence of the impact of play in children’s development and learning is held by only a few organisations —resulting in a lack of sector capacity to disseminate messages and tools at scale. Additionally, most evidence is written in an academic language that most parents and caregivers cannot understand, making it difficult for them to access resources that inspire and show them how to play with their children.

What was our solution 

We developed a publicly available repository of playful learning messages and activities that could be appropriated and promoted by a wide range of organisations. These resources were easily accessible for parents and caregivers, who were actively looking for playful activities to carry out with their children during the strict lockdown that the country was facing.  We collaborated with expert organisations, bringing them together to coordinate efforts around promoting play activities conducive to learning.  We created  a toolkit to elevate playful learning in a cohesive way, which included simple and clear  playful learning language and contextually relevant  playful learning activities  and developed ownerless and simple creative assets like social media posts and a simple microsite that anyone could appropriate and adpt We also collaborated with a range of diverse partners and allies to introduce  playful learning messages and activities inline with different life stages and lifestyles (including parenting, homeschooling, multiple pregnancies, civic culture, working mothers). 

What were our biggest wins?
  • The Ministry of Education integrated the  playful learning activities as part of the national remote education platform launched in response to Covid19 and the schools shut down.
  • 10 civil society groups signed up to amplify and collaborate in promoting this effort .
What was our reach and engagement?
  • We reached 2M+ people through social media.
  • We achieved 138.5k interactions with the campaign social content (likes, comments, click through).
  • 102.3k people accessed the microsite, 30k through referral
  • 11.5k people shared the campaign content through social media.

Lidera el Juego

Developing leadership skills through play

What was the need?

We identified that often  play is not valued by parents and caregivers and by communities more broadly and that its connection to learning is ignored.  Positioning play as critical for the development of the leaders of tomorrow amongst mass audiences is critical to drive society to value play.

What was our solution 

We launched a campaign celebrating the play experiences that contributed to the development of a wide range of Colombian leaders: from science to music. The campaign looked to introduce holistic skills that are key for children’s development  via  the lived experiences of popular figures in Colombia that became leaders across different fields. We leveraged these stories to drive audiences to take an online quiz for them to reconnect with childhood memories around play; get them to amplify these stories; and start conversations around the importance of play for development in media and social media  

What were our biggest wins?
  • The campaign sparked the interest and championship of four public figures that provided their testimony, disseminated  playful learning messages and activities in their social media accounts, and participated in a radio program to talk about the importance of play in Colombian society.
What was our reach and engagement?
  • We reached 4.9M people and made 20.5M impressions through social media.
  • We had 2.1M interactions (likes, comments).
  • 423K+ people accessed the quiz, 115.6k started it, 63k completed it.
  • 8.5k (13.5%) of people that completed the quiz deepened the engagement by accessing the toolkit after getting their results.
  • 750+ people have shared the quiz.
  • 3k+ people shared social posts connected to the campaign.

Mapeando el Juego

Surfacing play initiatives across Colombia

What was the need?

There are gaps in the play ecosystem that are preventing play methodologies to reach children, including that there is no common agreement around the definition of play and  few organisations can recognise, identify and connect to other organisations.

What was our solution 

We launched an effort to systematically map allies and partners with the aim of strengthening the in-country ecosystem that will promote play at the political and cultural level. Through this effort, we are able to surface and connect organisations and individuals based on geographic scope, theme / cause, approach to play, and type (private, public, civil society).  The live platform aims to support the connection between organisations and individuals in the country, help them to broker partnerships, encourage them to collaborate and join action towards integrating play in culture and in the system. Our mapping effort consists of two primary resources: 1) a self mapping form for individuals and organisations to join the network —which has been shared amongst diverse networks across the country; and 2) a landing page that acts as a publicly accessible database of organisations working directly or indirectly on play across the country and features initiatives that are taken place at the local and national levels 

What were our biggest wins?

  • This mapping motivated Empresarios por la Educación to integrate the category of play into the SIIPE (the largest country wide effort to map the education ecosystem in Colombia). 
  • Multiple grassroots organisations have expressed their interest in participating in joint actions. 
What was our reach and engagement?
  • 293 organisations across play, ECD and education signed up to be  mapped in the platform

Colorín Colorado

Developing skills through play without biases

What was the need?

Gender norms influence the  type of play experiences that children can engage in, which ultimately impacts their ability (or inability) to develop holistic skills. — Moreover, evidence shows that the skills that children develop early on will be useful in their personal, social and academic / professional life. Historically, play experiences prioritised in Colombia have favoured the development of social and emotional skills in girls while strengthening cognitive and physical skills in boys. This translates in gender gaps, discrimination and toxic masculinities, amongst other pressing issues that further reinforce harmful social norms. 

What was our solution 

We launched a campaign to raise awareness about gender biases that come up frequently in play experiences, increase knowledge about how these biases limit children’s potential to thrive, and ultimately drive commitment from parents and caregivers to engage in play experiences without gender biases. positioning social and cultural values and narratives that enable every child –regardless of their gender– to engage in play experiences that will help them develop their socio-emotional skills, their creativity, their physical health and cognitive skills. The main campaign actions included an influencer and micro-influencer campaign to promote commitments from parents and caregivers to play with their children without gender based biases; and a conversation (supported by visual and verbal narratives) that involved opinion leaders and gender equality groups. 

What were our biggest wins?
  • Feminist and LTBGiQ communities embraced the campaign and showed geniuine interest in talking about play as they easily considered this topic as something intimately related to human development and human rights.
  • Decision makers spoke out about the value of play experiences free from gender based biases (statements, responses, participation), including Mauricio Toro.
What was our reach and engagement?
  • 6.9m people were reached with the campaign content (the reach number reflects the impact of media stories on the campaign in major news platforms) 
  • 582.1k people actively engaged with the content. 
  • 1.4k people amplified the message by sharing campaign content 
  • 1.4k people engaged in the conversation via comments, the majority of which reflect a highly positive attitude towards the campaign message. 
  • 54.5k people expressed their commitment to support play experiences that enable children to develop their skills regardless of their gender.

Parque de Farrapos

Driving families to play during the holiday season

What was the need?

Through research and interviews with several partners, we identified a communicational gap on the topic of play amongst parents, caregivers, and decision makers networks: many of them are unaware of the importance of play for the holistic development of children, and those who tend not to engage in play experiences with their children. Despite being a right enforced by national and international laws, it is not valued at home or in the community.

What was our solution 

We created an interactive and itinerant park, with activities that promoted the importance of playful learning for holistic skills development. Through the live experience in the park, we enabled parents and children to experience play together. The park made stops at various beaches in the state of Espírito Santo. It was inspired by regional culture, and was totally accessible and inclusive for everyone. After the beach events, we promoted a series of play activities for parents and caregivers to carry out with their children at home —upon their return from the holidays. 

What were our biggest wins?
  • The intervention had the endorsement of the local government and relevant municipalities as well as support from allies such as Fundação Roberto Marinho, Canal Futura, Rede Brasileira de Aprendizagem Criativa, IPA Brasil, Mais Diferenças and SEBRAE.
  • The majority of children and parents that participated in the play experiences were able to recognise the link between play and learning..
What was our reach and engagement?
  • The park had +2.000 visitors 
  • Digital video content had +265kviews 
  • +125k accessed the website with the play activities. 
  • The park gained more than 30 mentions in the media.

Aprendizagem Criativa em Casa

Introducing easy play activities for families to do at home

What was the need?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, children were not able to play on the streets, go to school, have fun in parks, and socialise with friends. Parents and caregivers were thus responsible for their children’s education, development, and entertainment. There was a great need for initiatives to support them in tackling this challenge at home.

What was our solution 

We developed and launched a website in partnership with the Brazilian Creative Learning Network, with the aim of inspiring feelings of fluidity, lightness, movement, joy, and freedom in children/ The activities were adapted from proven play experiences that stimulate, children to experiment, create, play, invent, and be free to express themselves. This portal was a key resource for parents and caregivers to access at the beginning of the pandemic, when they were struggling to find activities to carry out at home with their children, while supporting them to continue their learning process outside of the classroom.

What were our biggest wins?
  • The website became the primary resource of our key partner –The Creative Learning Network– to engage with parents and caregivers on playful learning.
What was our reach and engagement?
  • We reached more than 5 million people on social media 
  • +718k people were reached through influencers. 
  • We achieved more than 317k interactions on social media. 
  • The website was accessed by 388k people.

Casa Viramundo

Making time for play

What was the need?

While the COVID-19 pandemic brought a multiplicity of challenges for families, it was also an opportunity to strengthen the ties between parents / caregivers and children, and for them to share more time together. Our key challenge was to introduce play experiences in busy schedules at home.

What was our solution 

We launched a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of quality time amongst families, and to provide parents and caregivers with inspiration to leverage their interaction with children to engage in playful learning and support children with their holistic skills development.. The campaign featured a web series with 3 episodes, and was amplified on TikTok campaign via a challenge and lives promoted by cultural influencers.

What were our biggest wins?
  • We secured a distribution partnership with TikTok, which included the promotion of lives with celebrities and TikTok challenges in which thousands of parents and caregivers engaged.
What was our reach and engagement?
  • The webseries had more than 92k views. 
  • The hashtag #BrincarFazCrescer in TikTok had 23,6 million views 
  • 3.1k people uploaded self generated content inspired by the TikTok challenge creations. 
  • The lives with celebrities had more than 242k unique viewers.

Favelas Research / “O Brincar nas Favelas”

Identifying major barriers to play in Brazilian underserved communities

What was the need?

In order to address critical barriers to playful learning in Brazil, we first need to understand family dynamics, play habits and challenges to engage in play experienced by vulnerable communities in the country. We also need to gather evidence around these critical gaps, which can be used to coordinate advocacy action and influence governments to act.

What was our solution 

We conducted participatory research (quantitative and qualitative) on the challenges experienced during children’s upbringing in Brazilian Favelas.

What were our biggest wins?
  • The research surfaced critical challenges such as lack of public play-friendly spaces in vulnerable communities, lack of time dedicated to play with their children, as well as a sense of lack of safety and adequate equipment when playing outdoors.
What was our reach and engagement?
  • More than 800 mothers from all over Brazil participated in the online quantitative research.
  • 12 mothers from São Paulo, Recife and Porto Alegre participated in the qualitative research.

Contact us

Together for Play is funded by the LEGO Foundation and powered by Purpose, working in partnership with allies and amplifiers in each country, including NGOs, education networks, and early childhood development organisations. For a full list of partners, please see more on our dedicated country pages.