In honor of National Grandparents Day, Lego Duplo has launched a Play Phone Line for grandparents. Designed to be a resource that offers tips, suggestions, and inspiration to grandparents of kids ages 1 to 5, the live and free line encourages grandparents and parents to call when they’re in need of clever playtime ideas.

Whether the question is how to manage play with multiple grandchildren of different age groups, or simple ways to introduce building play for the first time, grandparents can call 1-800-835-4386 and mention “grandparents” to be connected to creative ideas and information to make playtime even more special. Other tools available include an activity guide that can be mailed or emailed to grandparents; Lego’s YouTube channel, which has a series of inspirational play videos featuring Dan Steininger, a Lego Master Builder and new grandfather; and Lego’s Facebook page. Grandparents and parents can also email their own ideas to or share them on Facebook.

In advance of the hotline debut, Lego Duplo and Harris Interactive have fielded an online study of 500 parents who have one or more kids ages 2 to 5, and whose mother or father spends at least some time with the grandchild or grandchildren. Key findings include:

  • Grandpa Now versus Dad Then – Parents feel that the way their own parents play with their grandchildren is different than the way they played with them as a child. When asked whether grandparents supervise, drop in, or actively participate during playtime, 23 percent of parents said grandparents merely supervise playtime now, compared to 37 percent back then.
  • Diversified Play-folio – Parents surveyed said that their own parents, as grandparents, are more often engaging in different types of activities with their grandchildren than their own grandparents did when they were children with the exception of shopping and baking.
  1. Playing on the floor together  (40 percent recall their own grandparents doing this, while 74 percent say their children do with their grandparents today)
  2. Reading together (43 percent and 64 percent, respectively)
  3. Going to the park (36 percent and 56 percent, respectively)
  4. Today’s grandparents are seen as spending more time engaged physical fitness (59 percent) and traveling (54 percent) than today’s parents’ recollections of their own grandparents.
  • Grandma, the Teacher – Parents clearly feel that their children learn when spending time with grandparents, with vast majorities indicating their children learn educational skills (87 percent) and social skills (98 percent) in the presence of their grandparents.
  • More Guest Appearances from Grandparents – Today’s parents indicate that their children’s grandparents are more present in special occasions, with 87 percent of them helping to celebrate a grandchild’s birthday in person and 86 percent joining holiday celebrations, compared to their recollection of their own grandparents participating in birthday celebrations (68 percent) and holiday celebrations (77 percent) when they were young.
  • Rule-Breaking Grandparents – 84 percent of parents surveyed said that their child’s grandparents are likely to break at least one parenting rule with their grandchildren. Giving the child something they don’t typically eat is the most expected infraction (62 percent), followed by letting them stay up later than their bedtime (45 percent), and letting them watch TV or play video games more than the parent would allow (40 percent). But parents feel that grandparents are also breaking the traditional “rules” of passive grandparenting, with 46 percent of parents reporting that their children’s grandparents “actively participate” in playtime, even if they do it while feeding the child chocolate.