Play is essential for healthy growth and development. But just like food, play has healthy and less healthy options. That's why we launched the Power of Play campaign with Melissa & Doug, the toy company known for its 30-year commitment to open-ended play. Together we are reaching millions of parents and caregivers with the support they need to build important life skills through play.
The power of play principles
The goal of the Power of Play campaign is to educate parents, caregivers and professionals on the importance of the following three principles to improve children's health and well-being:
1. Prioritize hands-on play
Look for toys that inspire imaginative, open-ended thinking, and can be used in different ways to grow with children.
2. Enjoy screen-free time
Avoid overusing media by balancing it with other healthy activities. For children younger than 2, media use should be very limited. It's best when an adult is standing by to co-view, talk and teach.
3. Interact & connect through play
Children learn best from parents and other caregivers. Use play as an opportunity to talk, read and sing with children, all of which will build their vocabularies, reduce stress, create connection and develop foundational skills for learning.
What we aim to do
The Power of Play campaign offers practical ideas to parents, caregivers and professionals who work with children, including:
Proven play advice and resources for parents—online in social media and videos, and in toy stores—on how to inject play into their children's lives.
Play guides based on a child's developmental stage that help address common childhood concerns such as managing big feelings, making friends and paying attention.
"Play to the Rescue" ideas. The goal is to equip parents to avoid the temptation of handing over a phone or tablet to a child at restaurants, in cars, on bad-weather days and during everyday errands and routines.
Partners in play
Since its founding 90 years ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics has been a champion for children, including promoting ways to nurture the strong parent-child relationships that are critical for early brain development.
"As a pediatrician, I know how essential creative, open-ended play is for young children's brain development, language acquisition, problem-solving skills, social interactions and physical activity," said former AAP President Sally Goza, MD, FAAP. "When children and parents play together, that's when we see those magical moments that are so important for children's growth. We are so pleased to be working with Melissa & Doug to help families understand what they can do in terms of play to foster the best health outcomes for their kids."
For Melissa & Doug, the alliance offers an opportunity to share the science behind the benefits of play. Melissa & Doug is the only major toy brand to have never added apps or screens to its products. The company also has never advertised its products to children.