Build a World of Play Challenge

For the LEGO ® brand’s 90th anniversary we’re making a commitment to the world’s youngest children by giving out grants worth 900 million Danish Kroner to give them the best start in life

What if we put the wellbeing of children at the centre of everything?

What if the needs of our youngest children, their families and their communities were a driving force in everything from the way we design care and education systems, plan health systems, design cities and infrastructure and tackle the climate crisis?

More than 1 million neural connections per second

That’s how quickly young children’s brains develop. Every experience in their early years – from the bonds they form with their parents and caregivers, to the food they eat, the air they breathe and the way they play and learn - builds children’s brains, shapes their personalities, and develops their immune and metabolic systems. In turn, it shapes the lives they’ll grow up to live.

Yet, how often do governments, city planners, businesses, policymakers, education and health systems put children at the heart of their plans?

Even though a child’s first six years are filled with the biggest potential to shape lives and ultimately make communities and countries healthier and wealthier, early childhood development receives a meagre share of funding around the world.

We say it’s time to change that!

The world's youngest children need bold ideas to put them first

When we see the world through a child’s eyes, we see the need for care, fresh air, safe homes, clean water, a good education, opportunities to play, and nutritious food to eat all the more clearly. That’s why our CEO Anne-Birgitte is writing to you today.

Dive in

Registration has closed!

The application deadline has passed and expert reviewers are busy reviewing the wealth of applications we have received from around the world. We can't wait to share the fantastic, bold ideas we received, to give children the brightest start in life.

The Build a World of Play Challenge is looking for solutions to give children the brightest start

90 years of insight into play have taught us how powerful play is in supporting children’s learning, wellbeing, and holistic development. We want to make sure all young children grow up in safe, nurturing, and stimulating environments – where they have everything they need to thrive.

We’re looking for bold, transformational ideas

We’re ideas that focus on young children’s wellbeing and holistic development, while addressing global social issues. Ideas should be impactful, feasible, community-centred, and sustainable.

What could that look like? Here are some ideas to spark (but not limit) thinking:

  • Do you have tech innovations that will improve the quality and access of healthcare for families with young children?
  • Do you have plans to make cities safer, greener, more sustainable, more playful, and more accessible places for all children to live, grow, and thrive?
  • Do you have innovative ideas for reducing stress amongst caregivers and childcare providers, so they build stronger, safer, and more nurturing relationships with the young children they care for
  • Do you have plans to increase the resiliency and adaptivity of systems, institutions and services to better reach and support young children, families and households amidst disruptive and adverse events?
  • Do you have big plans to help all children learn through play? And by all, we mean all. That includes equal access to education for girls, equal access for children with disabilities and equal access for neurodiverse children who may need extra support.

We want breakthrough ideas that connect with and can be integrated across systems and sectors, that are contextually relevant and that resonate within the communities who will ultimately own and sustain them. 

Entering the challenge: How it works

Who can apply?
How many grants are we giving?
Deadlines to register and apply
Ready to share your big idea?
Who are the expert reviewers?
Do you have questions?

We invite other donors to join in

Join us in funding top-ranked organisations that will emerge through this process. Donors interested in giving extra funding for the Build World of Play Challenge should contact Dana Rice, Vice President of Philanthropy at Lever for Change. 

Media Inquiries

Media inquiries should be directed to the LEGO Foundation's PR agency Ketchum, lon-legofoundation@ketchum.com

Press release and toolkit