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Purposeful play teaches children the importance of sustainability

Climate change and extreme weather events are dominating headlines, and pollution and waste described as leading causes of these issues, it’s clear that we all need to make different choices to contribute to the sustainability of the world around us.

Families of today are taking this issue seriously: according to the LEGO® Play Well Study 2022*, 98% of parents say that they care about environmental issues, and most parents feel that it’s important to discuss sustainability with their children.

Interestingly, 86% parents believe that the next generation will do more than they did to protect the environment, although the children themselves believe it should be everyone’s responsibility!

Children of today are more clued up than we give them credit for, with six in ten parents responding to the Study said that their child knows more about environmental issues than they do. In South Africa, 76% of children encourage their parents to make environmentally friendly changes in their households.

Parents are listening and making the necessary shift with 97% of South African parents expect toys to be friendly to the environment, while 70% say that it is important for the toys they buy to be made from sustainably sourced materials.

If you’re wondering how to introduce discussions about sustainability, and to teach its principles to children, here’s how:

  • Choose toys that last, and that can be played with in different ways, over the years – the quality of the bricks will last for generations to come. For example, a LEGO set can be built using the instructions, but then it can be broken down and rebuilt into any structure that a child could imagine, then packed away for another day, another game, and another imaginative build!
  • Younger children love sorting things and doing so even helps lay the foundations for reading. Get them to help you sort the rubbish into different colour bins for the various types of recycling – they’ll learn colours too!
  • Re-using and re-purposing also teaches children about sustainability. Instead of discarding things like paper plates, toilet rolls, and even disposable cutlery, can be used for crafts, helped along with supervised used of glue and paint. If you’re stuck for ideas, start by making a musical instrument like a drum, and add to the fun by singing and marching along in time to the tune.

“We know that children care about the environment, and that they want us to make our products more sustainable,” says Miroslav Riha, country manager for LEGO in South Africa. “We’re still working on getting the formula right – because we know that experimentation and failing is an important part of learning and innovation, whether you’re a child playing at home, or a multinational toy company!

“It’s so important for families to discuss sustainability, at the LEGO® Group, we are playing our part in building a sustainable future and creating a better, brighter world for our children to inherit.  – it’s only by working together and making small but meaningful changes to our purchasing and living habits that we can protect nature,” he adds.

To find out how the LEGO Group is joining forces with others to have a lasting impact and inspire the children of today to become the builders of tomorrow, visit the website here.

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