Power of Play Revealed on Revamped Toy Industry Website

Last week, the Toy Industry Association relaunched The Genius of Play website, another piece of a research-backed campaign aimed at getting kids to play more.

Make time to play.

That’s part of the message behind the Toy Industry Association’s revamped The Genius of Play website, which hopes to help more parents and caregivers facilitate play in children’s lives.

The website—which went live last week and is mobile-optimized—not only gives hundreds of age-specific playtime recommendations, but it also lists developmental benefits and prep times associated with each activity.

“Once the school year starts, and fall begins, children’s lives tend to become very structured and scheduled. We felt this was a perfect time to unveil the website to relieve that stress and ensure free play is included during the school year,” said Meredith Sinclair, M.Ed., parenting expert and Genius of Play Ambassador, in a press release.

For example, The Genius of Play gives directions for “Indoor Baseball,” a playtime activity designated for kids ages four and older. The site suggests using a long tube from inside a roll of gift wrap as a bat and a balloon as a ball. After showing the kids which pieces of furniture are the four bases and the pitcher’s mound, it’s time to play ball.

“The Genius of Play was created to assist parents in their child’s development by offering ideas to initiate and cultivate play, which has been shown to help children learn cognitive, physical, social and emotional skills,” said Sinclair.

In a 2012 clinical report, the American Academy of Pediatrics backed up TIA’s claims: “Play is essential to the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical well-being of children beginning in early childhood. It is a natural tool for children to develop resiliency as they learn to cooperate, overcome challenges, and negotiate with others. Play also allows children to be creative.”

The website is just the latest TIA initiative to increase awareness among parents and caregivers that play is an important part of a child’s development. The group will be determining its success by measuring impressions, engagement, affinity, and responses on social media, as well as responses to calls to action, said Ken Seiter, TIA’s VP of Marketing Communications.

Last year, for instance, TIA asked parents to pledge at least seven hours of play a week for their children with the target of 1 million hours. TIA exceeded that goal and ended up with more than 5 million recorded hours of play. In addition to quantitative measurements, TIA read through all of the comments to monitor parents’ responses to the call to action. “After two years I am happy to say we have never received a negative comment!” Seiter said. “This is a first for me.”

Seiter is hoping for similar findings with The Genius of Play website.

“We are conducting a study to set a benchmark for awareness and image of the industry, and we will be repeating it annually to determine the effect the Genius of Play initiative has had on raising the perceptions of the industry as a whole,” Seiter said. “Finally, we are setting participation goals for our members to utilize the initiative’s assets in their marketing.”


Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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