It’s officially time to Play All May!

The Genius of Play kicked off its first-ever month-long celebration of play, furthering the organization’s overall mission by educating families about the benefits of play, helping parents understand how a “prescription for play” supports children, and encouraging a healthy dose of play alongside other activities.

“The benefits of play are proven by decades of research and supported by leading child development experts,” says Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Toy Association. “Despite that, today’s children are under more pressure and stress than ever, juggling full schedules with school and extracurricular activities, leaving no unstructured downtime for them to just be kids. This play deficit is a real issue, which is why The Genius of Play is dedicating an entire month to encouraging families to make time for play.”

According to a recent clinical report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), play is fundamentally important for developing 21st century skills, including social, emotional, language, and cognitive skills. The AAP recommends play for children to buffer toxic stress, build parental relationships, and improve executive functioning.

Throughout May, The Genius of Play will share fun and engaging play activities for every day. Daily giveaways of toy and game prizes will also be awarded to lucky winners on the The Genius of Play Facebook and Instagram pages.

Learning Express is joining the fun with more than 75 of its U.S. stores holding local events to bring the celebration into their communities.