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Real Play City Challenge

Real Play City

Play is essential for children to thrive now and in the future, but many urban environments lack opportunities or a city-wide strategy for play. That’s why the Real Play City Challenge aims to reclaim places to play in cities for children.

We want to support, promote and share initiatives that have potential to:

  • Inspire more cities, placemakers, urban planners, real-estate developers and other stakeholders to take action in safe,  child-friendly and playful urban practice.
  • Optimise, integrate and disseminate international knowledge and experience to strengthen safe,  child-friendly and playful urban practice.
  • Enhance impact by catalysing, replicating and scaling child-friendly, safe and playful initiatives in different contexts around the globe.

Using our frameworks we invite urban planners, placemakers, city decision-makers and architects to join our challenge and become one of the winners selected to attend our masterclass and scale up their ideas.

Find out more about the contest and frameworks that inspire the Real Play City Challenge:

Real Play Coalition Reclaiming Play In Cities Report

Reclaiming Play
in Cities Report

At the Real Play Coalition, we truly believe in the power of play. We see a child’s time to play, access to play facilitation, environment for play and the broader supportive ecosystem that support play as a critical resource for children and their skills development. The Reclaiming Play in Cities Reportlaunched at the 10th World Urban Forum, reviews the evidence around learning through play and the impact that city and urban environments have on children’s access to play and ultimately, their overall development.

This also unveils a first-of-its-kind Urban Play Framework. This framework provides a method to understand how various urban systems impact a child’s learning through play experience, ultimately influencing their skills development and ability to thrive and reach their full potential.

You can download the Reclaiming Play in Cities Report by clicking the button, below:

Joyful play | Our favourite activities this month

Riddles and tongue twisters

Riddles And Tongue Twisters

Let the silliness ensue with this great on-the-go activity that teaches children to spot language quirks and practise their speech skills. What’s great about this activity is that there’s no wrong method – kids are simply encouraged to have fun with it! Expect lots of laughter with this riddles and tongue twisters activity!

Obstacle course

Obstacle Course

An activity that’s both fun in set-up and in play, building an obstacle course outside is a great way for your children to get creative, active and, well, maybe a bit messy, too! Household items can be used for this fun activity, from cardboard boxes to cushions, pots and pans to chairs! Why not give it a go? Obstacle course activity.

Radio DJ

Radio DJ

Give your kids a chance to take over the family playlist – with a twist! Kids will become your very own resident DJ, complete with song selection, announcements, ‘dial-in’ interviews and more! This activity will test their social and communication skills while having a blast at the same time with our Radio DJ activity!



It’s a tried and tested classic, and simple to boot, but the joy and laughter that Snap creates is undeniable. It’s a simple matching game full of excitement, and will test your children’s reactions and reflexes. Grab a pack of cards and give it a go – or better yet, why not encourage your kids to make their own pack of cards with paired illustrations? How to play snap.

Value of Play Report

Value of Play Report

That is why we’ve released the Value of Play Report. Aimed at policymakers, educators and those shaping the global development agenda, the report explores the scale of the current play deficit, the impact of missed play moments on children’s lives and the reasons behind the ongoing decline in play. It highlights how low-play and play-poverty are fuelling inequality and are behind a looming skills crisis.

You can download the Value of Play Report by clicking the button, below:

Awesome autumnal activities for your children to enjoy

Apple bobbing

Apple bobbing

Apples are in season, and playing with water is a wonderful sensory activity for kids. And not only is apple bobbing a lot of fun, it also helps children to improve their balance, coordination and control. Grab a bucket and why not try our Apple Bobbing activity!

Make a bug pooter

Pug Pooter

Autumn doesn’t only mean falling leaves – it also means lots of new and exciting insects to discover in your garden! Bug pooters help children look closely at all of the weird and wonderful minibeasts without touching or harming them. As well as learning about nature, it’s a wonderful way for kids to practise observation, communication and fine motor skills. Visit our Bug Pooter activity page to find out more.

Make a kite

Fall is famous for its blustering winds! Why not encourage your children to make and fly their own kite? By combining indoor and outdoor play, this activity will encourage kids to think about the weather as they learn to spot the perfect kite-flying conditions. Why not give it a go using our Make a Kite guide?

Animal spotting

Encourage your kids to head outdoors to check out all of the great species Autumn has to offer. Children can spot different wildlife – the countryside or a local park, for example, or even your own garden. Get some inspiration from our Animal Spotting activity!

Global Month of Play Real Play Coalition

Real Play Coalition announce
Global Month of Play

With a proven track record of success, together, the Real Play Coalition will reach over 3 million children in more than 100 countries and activities will take place in across 26,000 classrooms. Globally, 64% of parents believe their children have fewer opportunities to play than they did as a child themselves. Whether for reasons of safety (51% of parents agree they would like their children to play outside but are too worried about their safety or growing pressures on children (one in five say they are “too busy” to play, it is clear that play is under threat in the home, in schools and in the community across the world. Here’s a snapshot of the how the Global Month of Play will be brought to life, below…

IKEA: Let’s Play For Change campaign

With the Let’s Play for Change campaign, the Swedish home furnishing retailer IKEA wants to encourage more play for a better everyday life. As we launch the campaign worldwide, we’re touching all four corners of the world with our knowledge on play, and the important message that it is vital for all of us, everywhere, every day.

During November and December everyone is invited to join extra playful activities in more than 400 IKEA stores around the world. In the annual drawing competition to develop next year’s soft toy collection SAGOSKATT, IKEA welcomes all IKEA FAMILY members aged 0 to 12 from all over the world to draw the soft toy of their dreams. The six most unique drawings are turned into real soft toys in next year’s collection. The full purchase price of each SAGOSKATT toy is donated to local organisations supporting every child’s right to play and develop. Since the start five years ago the drawing competition has engaged over 157,000 kids from every corner of the earth.

During the Global Month of Play, the message is also played out across social media through the exploits of one of our FABLER BJÖRN teddies, known as Björn, as he makes a bold leap and leaves the store to head out on a play journey.

Follow the IKEA activities on #letsplayforchange and #FablerBjorn

The LEGO Foundation: World Children’s Day

UNICEF’s Universal Children’s Day on November 20th marks the day when the most widely ratified human right treaty in history, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, was adopted. It is a global day of action for children, by children, where leaders are held to account on their promises to children.

Throughout November, the LEGO Foundation and the LEGO Group will support this celebration through Build the Change events, where children in select places in Mexico, the UK, China, South Africa and Denmark have been invited to use LEGO® bricks to build their dream school where learning through play and creativity are part of everything they do. As an outcome, the LEGO Foundation will collate and document a selection of insights, ideas and learnings from the activation and hand them to world leaders at the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child 2019.

Follow activities during the Global Month of Play through #worldchildrensday

Dirt is Good (Persil, OMO and Surf Excel): Outdoor Classroom Day

Outdoor Classroom Day is a global campaign to inspire and celebrate outdoor learning and play, led by NGO Project Dirt globally, working with local NGOs, and supported by Unilever’s Persil, OMO and Surf Excel. On November 1st, thousands of schools around the world will take lessons outside and prioritise playtime, sending a message of how learning outside of the classroom engages and excites children in spectacular ways. In 2018 alone, over 3 million children across 26,000 classrooms will have joined this movement. Parents and teachers from around the world can sign up at

National Geographic: Play Made Me This Way

To celebrate the invaluable marks play leaves on our lives, National Geographic will be producing a fascinating series of videos for the Real Play Coalition called Play Made Me This Way, featuring the stories of a number of extraordinary individuals. Through testimonies and revisiting memories, the videos will reveal how play during the formative years have had a life-changing impact on who they grew up to be, which has made them ensure their children have the same quality play that they did. The first video of the series will feature National Geographic Explorer Aaron Huey and his 8-year-old son, the youngest published photographer in National Geographic magazine at the age of 4. The video can be watched on National Geographic and Real Play Coalition social media channels. #PlayMadeMeThisWay.

Real Play Coalition website

To inspire parents, guardians, teachers and children alike to play, the Real Play Coalition are launching a brand-new website and mobile app, which on launch will contain 150 games and activities. will be live on November 1st.

Play today!

The Global Month of Play will enable more play opportunities for children across the world. It will form a platform to discuss just how critical play is in forming the well-rounded, creative, empathetic and lateral-thinking adults that tomorrow’s society needs. To learn more and to find activities in each area, search ‘Real Play Coalition’.

While a month is not enough, it is an important first step on a road to more playful childhoods.

Follow the Real Play Coalition on Facebook and Instagram.

You can now print Einstein’s childhood toys for free!

The collection of approximately 160 stone blocks in red, limestone and grey are credited with nurturing Einstein’s understanding of complex structures, therefore literally laying the building blocks for his career in science.

For the first time, the toy blocks – which sold to a collector in 2017 for £113,000 – have been scanned, allowing those with access to a 3D printer to download and recreate them. It follows the statistic that 61 percent of modern children now say the do not know how to play without electronic technology.

“We believe play is a serious business and is fundamental for learning, development and creativity,” said Jesper Brodin, President and CEO of IKEA Group. “The Real Play Coalition is about helping break down barriers and giving the world the tools, confidence and inspiration to play, starting today.”

Play increases work skills

Children ‘need to play
more to gain work skills’

“Critical thinking and problem solving starts in early childhood development. It’s where the foundations are laid.” Speaking at Davos 2018, he hoped to put pressure on governments to make education more play-focused. If not, he believes that companies will struggle to find staff with the skills they need in the future, having “serious long-term consequences”.

Mr. Goodwin is not the first to warn of the play issue. US psychologist and professor at Boston College, Dr Peter Gray, has argued that decreasing play in children has led to an increase in childhood mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

Speaking of the Real Play Coalition, Mr. Goodwin said, “I’m very ambitious about what it can achieve.”