- Disney and the Institute of Imagination are working together to commit to playing together more
- Parents playing with their children every day helps encourage a bright future and career prospects through playtime
- TV personality Billie Shepherd and family visit the Playhouse inspired by 100 years of Disney, designed by artist Coco Lom and local children
- 40,000 Imaginative Play Packs to be gifted to over 100 hospitals
6th March 2023: The Walt Disney Company and the Institute of Imagination have joined forces to create a Manifesto for Imaginative Play – in support of enabling families to make more time for play. The Manifesto outlines the positive impact of playtime on the next generation and calls for parents, guardians and carers to make it a priority.
It comes as new research* shows that nearly half (46%) of parents believe that the role of play in children’s development can’t be ignored, with its many benefits including building social skills (48%), how to be creative (47%) and teaching them original thinking (45%).
The Manifesto supports the launch of the Wonder of Play – a global initiative drawing on Disney’s 100-year legacy of timeless stories, unforgettable characters and memorable products – to inspire families to play together and enjoy those special moments before children grow up.
Bringing together Disney Stage Masters, children, artists, influencers and celebrities, the Wonder of Play is supported by the Institute of Imagination – a leading children’s education charity which designs and delivers creative learning experiences across the arts, sciences and digital technologies that empower children today to believe they can build a better future for us all.
Disney’s ‘Wonder-ful Playhouse’ pop-up opened in central London over the weekend, where TV personality Billie Shepherd and local families explored a series of playrooms that were transformed into magical immersive spaces ideal for shared play and creativity from Disney Princess, Disney Frozen and Pixar’s Cars to Star Wars™ and MARVEL. Designed by emerging London artist Coco Lom, whose creations were inspired by children’s ideas, the Playhouse provides inspiration to families to bring playtime into their homes.
As part of the study, over 3,500 parents, guardians and carers across Europe were asked about how their family approaches playtime. Over a third (40%) explained they encourage play to feed their children’s imaginations.
A third (34%) agreed that tools help with playtime, the most popular of which were games consoles (46%), arts & crafts (45%) and puzzles (44%). Parents play with their children for 30 minutes a day on average to help stimulate further development.
Nearly half (44%) believe shared imaginative play may play a big part in the career path their child chooses to take in later life, and 27% are actively trying to inspire their children’s futures and careers via playtime. Science (28%), engineering (28%), teaching (28%) and design (27%) proved to be the most popular jobs that parents hope their kids will explore.
When asked how they play to influence their child’s future, 33% said that reading takes centre-stage, with other popular activities including arts & crafts (24%) and storytelling and creating (23%).
Disney’s Wonder-ful Playhouse is open until 6 March. For those unable to visit in person, a series of how-to videos can be found on Disney Junior YouTube and DisneyFamilyUK Instagram channels**, alongside a new interactive Wonder of Play Instagram filter, which generates new and personalised play ideas. The step-by-step videos, inspired by the stories and characters of Disney, Pixar, Disney Princess, Star Wars™ and MARVEL, aim to inspire families to play using their surroundings at any time of day. A Wonder of Play campaign video to mark the launch will be available on Disney UK YouTube, celebrating play with toys inspired by Disney’s beloved brands and franchises.
To further support Disney’s Social Purpose and commitment to children in hospitals, a total of 40,000 Imaginative Play Packs have been specifically created for 116 partner hospitals across 21 countries including Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Romania, The Netherlands, Poland and the UK and Ireland.
The Play Packs – which aim to help bring the Wonder of Play to families everywhere - sit as part of a wider hospital programme and have been developed in partnership with Disney’s long-standing charity partner MediCinema and health care professionals, to help deliver Moments that Matter, bringing comfort and joy to seriously ill children whilst reducing anxiety and isolation.
TV personality Billie Shepherd commented: “It’s always busy in our household and having just had baby Margot has only added to the craziness! No matter what, we will always make sure to set time aside to play as a family, making sure we’re giving the kids the tools they need for their future.”
“The capacity to explore our imaginations through play is a fundamental part of childhood development, which is why it is vital to support and nurture play in the home. The Institute of Imagination is delighted to be working with Disney to celebrate and champion the power of play, with imaginative ideas and prompts that promote the merits of everyday play in our lives”, says Tom Doust, Executive Director at the Institute of Imagination.
Coco Lom commented: “What an incredibly exciting creative challenge it’s been to design this Playhouse. Disney has such a big history of stories and characters to use as inspiration, and I hope that everyone who visits will come away with a ton of new and wonderful ideas to help them play more together at home. It’s been a joy to work on the design with a local group of brilliantly creative children, taking their limitless ideas and turning them into reality. Creative family play is so important for children’s health and wellbeing.”
Sarah Fox, VP Marketing & Communications, Disney Consumer Products, Games & Publishing EMEA said, “We know how important imaginative play of all kinds is for families and their children. Not only do they give families time to spend bonding together, but it’s also key in building the necessary skills for our children’s development long after they grow out of playing at home. We know it can feel like children grow up too quickly and time is precious, so we hope our Wonder of Play campaign helps give families easy ways to prioritize play and make the everyday special, whatever they’re doing – be it waiting for the dentist, travelling on the bus, or buying groceries.”
All toys and costumes from LEGO, Rubies, Hasbro and Just Play spanning Disney, Pixar, Star Wars™ and MARVEL are featured in the Playhouse and are available to purchase from Smyths Toys Superstores and other leading toy retailers.
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Notes to Editors
For more information on the Wonder of Play campaign, please contact:Jennifer Norris
Disney’s Manifesto for Imaginative Play:
Play is Wonder.
It sparks imagination and joy.
It builds resilience from an early age.
For children and grown-ups too.
Celebrating and bringing us together, sparking the magic created by Disney.
Our busy lives mean it’s important to find time for play.
So, as we celebrate our 100th anniversary year, we want to call on everyone to play more, to create even more new experiences with our beloved characters & stories.
Because play builds imagination.
And imagination builds the future.
Which is wonderful for us all.
- The range of Disney, Pixar, Star Wars™ and MARVEL products supporting the campaign can be found here
- Disney’s The Wonder of Play is now live at Smyths Toys Superstores and other leading toy stores nationwide
- **A total of 14x YouTube Videos and 11x Instagram Reels will be seeded onto Disney Junior YouTube and DisneyFamilyUK Instagram channels from March 6
*About & Further Research
- Research conducted by One Poll is the study of 3,500 adults across the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Poland with children aged 2 to 8 years old, in February 2023
- Families are most likely to play after school (40%), when it comes to bath time (36%) or when putting them to bed (35%)
About Disney Consumer Products, Games and Publishing
About Disney 100 Years of Wonder
Disney 100 Years of Wonder celebrates The Walt Disney Company’s 100th anniversary. The largest company-wide event in Disney’s history, Disney100 celebrates the impact of Disney’s unparalleled storytelling and experiences both on global culture and audiences, along with the creators, employees, and cast members who have brought those stories to life. Disney will celebrate its fans with new experiences, products, special events, films, programming, livestreams, exhibits, and more from across its vast portfolio of beloved brands. Disney100 will honor the company’s past and present, while setting the stage for the next 100 years of Disney magic, as the company creates a larger and more connected magical Disney universe for families and fans around the world.
The Walt Disney Company’s Social Responsibility
About the Institute of Imagination
About Coco Lom
London artist and designer Coco Lom specialises in playful abstract pattern. Her style blends a bold, bright colour palette with striking black and white pattern, which has been translated into large scale mural work around her home city. She’s on a mission to open people’s eyes to all the patterns, shapes and colours that lie in the world around us and help people celebrate the quiet details we might not normally notice. She does this through her photography and illustrations, which are often made with assistance from one of her favourite creative tools - her photocopier! Clients included Covent Garden, Holland & Barrett, The Royal Parks Foundation, Pink Lady Apples and The Book Club Gallery in East London.