Bo Stjerne Thomsen: The Future of Play

In this third installment of the series, we asked experts, “How will childhood play change in the coming months and/or years as a result of the coronavirus pandemic?” 

Play makes children more equipped for the future

Bo Stjerne ThompsonBo Stjerne Thomsen, PhD, is the Vice-President and Chair of Learning through Play in the LEGO Foundation.

The uncertainty and rapid societal change affecting all domains of children’s lives will bring greater attention to the fundamental role of play for children to learn across settings. More than ever, the world will open up to recognize the strengths and opportunities for childhood play to develop the most critical skills children need to thrive in the future, by:

  • Designing new play experiences, which maximize physical wellbeing, social relationships, and resilience, as part of caring and engaging relationships.
  • Fully recognizing that children’s play is the obvious opportunity for developing language, science, and cognitive skills, through engagement with home materials and online interactions.
  • Providing creative tools for children to build confidence in their own abilities, and to use play to nurture their imagination and envision an optimistic future.

We see a future in which the importance of childhood play is valued and supported by different sectors:

  • The home environment is the most critical starting point for children’s learning. Parents should be supported and encouraged to incorporate play at home through active engagement and meaningful, creative experiences.
  • Teachers and schools are flexible and adaptive, and provide the structure, curated content, and feedback to support children’s curiosity and engagement into new topics.
  • Communities incorporate playful learning opportunities through stimulating physical environments and interactive technologies that promote playful learning.
  • Governments address inequality by promoting equity and access across socioeconomic differences.

Childhood will be recognized as the most important time to play, to provide balance in life and build the most critical skills children need now and after the pandemic.


See more posts in this series:

Voices on the Future of Childhood

Bo Stjerne Thomsen | Helen Hadani | Jill Vialet | Kathy Hirsh-Pasek | Kathryn E. Ringland |
Makeda Mays Green | Roger Hart | Ronda Jackson | Rosanna Lopez

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