by Laurie Chartorynsky, The Toy Association

Do you believe in the power of play? Then get involved with a new initiative to educate families and media about play’s vital role in child development. This May, The Toy Association’s Genius of Play will launch Play All May, our first-ever, month-long celebration of play.

In order to get the public and industry excited about Play All May, the initiative will incorporate:

  • Daily toy giveaways (featuring products from Toy Association members) and shareable research on the value of play on social media;
  • Partnerships with online influencers who will promote play’s importance;
  • In-store promotion at Learning Express stores across the U.S., which will incorporate “Play All May” signage and host community play events; and
  • A new nationwide PSA campaign, “Prescription for Play,” promoting the critical importance of play to healthy child development.

Why should your company participate in Play All May? Here are a few important reasons.

Play Is Crucial to Kids’ Development

Did you know that kids who pretend to read to their stuffed animals are likely to have better literacy skills when they reach kindergarten? Research has proven that play is crucial to healthy child development — and while many brands already work hard to create engaging, skill-based toys and games, families need to be reminded and educated on the critical skills kids learn through play.

Play Is Trending

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a clinical report asking pediatricians to write kids a “prescription for play,” and several states are calling for legislation to increase the length of recess at schools. Building off of this momentum, it’s the perfect time to ride the wave of public interest and motivate families to make time to play.

A Collaborative Effort Benefits the Whole Industry

Toy companies are invited to share the PSA campaign, ideas for play inspiration, and other Play All May assets on their own channels. Supporting the program is good for the industry: the more parents and caregivers understand the need for play, the more inclined they will be to search for playthings that foster developmental skills.

Exposure for Your Brands and Products

The Genius of Play is encouraging Toy Association member companies to donate toys to one of the daily giveaways. Company participation is free and offers terrific exposure for brands and products on The Genius of Play’s social media channels, which reach 2 million people every month.

Join in on the fun! Here are a few ways to join the celebration and show your support for play:

  • Donate toys to one of the giveaways by completing the online form by March 31. For more information, contact Janis Zegman at The Toy Association;
  • Share the new Prescription for Play public service announcement campaign. PSA videos will be available for download on The Genius of Play Assets page starting on April 1; and
  • Download the Play All May logo and our “31 play inspiration ideas” from the Assets page, and use them in your social media content during May. Don’t forget to tag @GeniusofPlay on Facebook and Instagram and use #GeniusofPlay.

The Toy Association’s Genius of Play initiative is a leading resource on the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional benefits of play that serve children throughout their lives for parents, teachers, and the public. The Genius of Play’s website offers expert advice from play and child development experts, play ideas, and resources for teachers. Follow The Genius of Play on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.