IKEA and the IKEA Foundation have announced the release of their 2017 Play Report, which finds that people around the world believe play is undervalued in daily life. To help address the need for safe play and help children realize their full potential, the Swedish home furnishings company also announced grants totaling $53 million to six organizations.
The recipients include Handicap International, Save the Children, Special Olympics, Room to Read, UNICEF, and War Child. In addition, the company will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from the 2017 SAGOSKATT soft toy collection to Save the Children in support of its hurricane relief efforts in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. The funds will support the efforts of communities in storm-damaged areas to rebuild child care centers and early childhood education programs as well as build their resilience to future disasters.
To further emphasize the importance of play in our everyday lives, IKEA announced that, as part of its Let's Play for Change campaign, it will be offering in-store play experiences and events starting this fall. And to mark Universal Children's Day on November 20, the retailer will invite families to participate in in-store games and other activities at its stores worldwide.
According to the 2017 Play Report, play offers universal benefits to both children and adults. The report also found that as technology becomes more pervasive in our daily lives, people are returning to and celebrating games from their childhood; that more immersive and intense play experiences that engage multiple senses at once are becoming more common; and that as our lives become increasingly fast-paced, play will begin to enter all aspects of people's everyday existence.
"Every child has the right to play. Stimulation through play is a critical part of a young child's brain development and emotional well-being," said IKEA Foundation CEO Per Heggenes. "Sadly, there are too many places around the world where devastating circumstances prevent children from simply being 'kids'. Through the Let's Play for Change campaign, we want to alleviate challenges to play and development in some of the world's most vulnerable communities, while helping build a global movement around play."