This summer, the LEGO Group is celebrating the creativity of fans and the power of play. As the new LEGO Play Well Study shows, play is fundamental to the well-being and happiness of the whole family. Below is the press-release about the 90th anniversary and the events planned around it.
Ninety years ago, a Danish carpenter crafted a line of small wooden toys in his Billund, Denmark, workshop. His first collection had a modest 36 items that included cars, airplanes, and yoyos, all carefully crafted to help local children learn about the world. What Ole Kirk Kristiansen couldn’t have known back in 1932, was that the LEGO Group would become one of the biggest toy companies in the world and inspire millions of children to play each year.
Twenty-six years after Ole made his first wooden toy, his son Godtfred patented the LEGO brick we know today, with its interlocking tube system offering endless creative building possibilities. Since then, the LEGO brick has been busy. From a few simple bricks in primary colors, the humble brick has formed the basis of over 18,000 LEGO products, received the Hollywood treatment in THE LEGO MOVIE, helped children learn about robotics and coding through LEGO MINDSTORMS, and inspired hours of playful digital adventures in over 180 LEGO video games.
Throughout time, Ole’s passion for fun and high-quality toys has endured as his legacy. In fact, the “LEGO” name comes from two Danish words “Leg Godt”, meaning “Play Well”. And now, new research from the LEGO Play Well Study shows play as not only fun but also integral to childhood development, overall happiness, and family wellbeing.
The Power of Play
For the 2022 LEGO Play Well Study, the company polled more than 55,000 parents and children in over 30 countries and found that almost all parents think children strengthen their creativity (93%), communication (92%), problem-solving skills (92%), and confidence (91%) while they play. When children play, they develop skills that help them thrive in a rapidly changing world. But most importantly, almost all children say playing as a family makes them happy (97%), helps them relax and takes their mind off school (95%), and is their favorite way to learn.
A Family Affair
Play isn’t just for kids. Playing together makes the whole family happier, builds stronger family bonds, and improves their well-being according to 95% of parents. Over 4 in 5 parents (85%) called out LEGO play specifically, saying their families are happier when they play with LEGO bricks.
Family values have always been at the heart of the LEGO Group, which is still headquartered in Billund, Denmark, where Ole started making his first toys. To this day, it is still owned by Ole’s family with grandson Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen recently passing the helm to his own son, Thomas Kirk Kristiansen.
“When my great-grandfather founded the company 90 years ago, he recognized that play could change the lives of children – it brings families together and helps children develop skills that can enable them to reach their full potential. He only had a small workshop, but he had big ambitions to ensure as many children as possible could experience the benefits that play brings,” said Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, Chairman of the LEGO Group. “Whether 1932, 2022, or on our 100th Anniversary in 2032, we strive to continue this legacy by helping all families, wherever they are in the world, to play well.”
Small Brick, Endless Possibilities
While the LEGO Group has constantly created new ways to play, its original purpose has never changed: to build children’s future through play and spark their imagination and creativity. In fact, six 2×4 stud LEGO bricks of the same color can be combined in over 915 million different ways. A challenge accepted by fans the world over!
When it comes to children, 95% say toys like LEGO bricks help them be creative and try new things, while Adult Fans of LEGO (AFOLs) showcase jaw-dropping creativity with the LEGO brick every day – they have even designed some of the brand’s most popular sets!
“I’ve used LEGO building to transform all the crazy ideas I have into reality for many years – there are always new building techniques to try that spark my imagination for new builds. And most importantly, LEGO building connects me to a community of amazingly creative people around the world,” said Chinna, aged 28 from Virginia, USA.
Building a Brighter Future
The past nine decades have reinforced just how important play is to all children. That’s why 25 percent of the LEGO Group’s profit dividends go to the LEGO Foundation, giving millions of children the chance to play and learn – including those who are disadvantaged and impacted by crises. Last year, the LEGO Foundation committed over $440 million USD to help children around the world reach their full potential through play.
Celebrate With Us
In the lead-up to its 90th Anniversary, the LEGO Group will be celebrating fan creativity and 90 years of LEGO play with a range of activities to help those of all ages experience the joy and benefits of play for themselves. These activities include:
- Inspiring families with exciting building challenges and a ‘What Brick Are You?’ quiz starting from June 9 on LEGO.com, LEGO social media channels, and LEGO Life.
- Celebrating the role of play in the lives of world-renowned creatives such as Alicia Keys, Yotam Ottolenghi, and Peggy Gou.
- Turning LEGO stores into playgrounds from June 10, with fun, anniversary-themed building activities for visitors and display areas for creations to be showcased.
- Honoring awesome AFOLs by showing how they have never stopped playing, creating, and inspiring us as a brand.
- Bringing LEGO fans and families together for an exciting look behind-the-scenes of LEGO HQ with LEGO CON on June 18.
- Showcasing children’s ability to turn mundane moments into playful adventures, and providing inspiration to help parents to do the same as part of the LEGO Foundation’s #PlayPledge movement.
- Collaborating with entertainment, art and design, music, fashion, sports, and gaming partners to create playful spaces and experiences for communities around the world.
- Recreating iconic LEGO models to provide hours of fun and nostalgia for the family with the LEGO Classic 90 Years of Play with another celebratory set still to be revealed.
- Inviting LEGOLAND guests in select parks to Play YOUR Way as they experience five different types of play activities and collect badges as they explore LEGOLAND. Parks include: Florida, California, New York (USA), Billund (Denmark), Windsor (UK), Nagoya (Japan), Günzburg (Germany), and Johor (Malaysia).
- Helping fans of all ages experience a world of playful learning activities with 25 million LEGO bricks at LEGO House in Billund, the “Home of the Brick”
- And giving our 24,000+ colleagues around the world time off to celebrate and experience the power of play together on June 10th on our annual LEGO Play Day.
- Follow the hashtag #LEGO90years or visit LEGO.com/90-Years-Of-Play to join in the fun.
Fun Facts about the LEGO brand:
- It’s all in a name – Ole turned to his employees for help naming his company, offering a bottle of his homemade wine. Perhaps luckily for his employees, he came up with the winning name himself!
- Only the best is good enough – Ole’s motto still sets the bar for quality and safety. LEGO elements are dropped, crushed, heated, and tested with artificial sweat and saliva to check they can withstand being a child’s favorite toy. Butter is even used to replicate greasy fingers.
- Splitting hairs – each LEGO brick is moulded to the accuracy of a hair’s width (5my/0.005mm) to ensure the perfect ‘clutch power’ that holds LEGO creations together.
- An enduring appeal – the LEGO Brick was voted Toy of the Century in 1999 – over 40 years after it was first designed.
- The brick blueprint – the design of the LEGO brick we know today has remained the same since 1958 meaning bricks produced over 60 years ago fit with those made today.
- A model makeover – by 2030, we are aiming to make all core LEGO products from more sustainable materials without changing the design or compromising on quality or safety. Around 150 LEGO elements are already made from sustainably sourced sugarcane and a prototype LEGO brick made from recycled PET plastic bottles was unveiled in 2021.
- Big bricks for small hands – LEGO DUPLO was introduced to help toddlers play creatively in 1969 – DUPLO bricks are double the size of LEGO bricks in all dimensions.
- Standing tall – each LEGO Minifigure measures 4 bricks high without its hair or any hats or accessories to ensure it matches the proportions of buildings in the LEGO System in Play.
As you can see, there are several events and activities planned to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the LEGO brick. If you would like to keep up with what’s happening, visit the LEGO website, LEGO stores, and official LEGO social media pages. Have fun and feel free to share your thoughts and experiences below!
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