Building resilience through play during COVID-19

The story of our response to COVID-19 shows our partners experimenting with new ways to support children and their families to heal through playful learning. In a global, unprecedented crisis, we unleashed creativity, discovered new voices, and developed different ways of working.

On 11th March 2020, the World Health Organisation declared the outbreak of COVID-19 to be a global pandemic

Health services buckled and governments struggled on the frontline of vaccine development. Meanwhile, parents became teachers and teachers looked on from afar, and the development of millions of children hung in an uncertain balance.

Young girl reading
World map of LEGO Foundation COVID-19 response activity

Preserving play amidst a global education crisis

Play wasn't just needed for learning in isolation, but for the resilience children needed to cope with the unimaginable mental health crisis that would be felt across the world. By breaking away from our traditional ways of working, our partners were able to respond at speed, test new approaches and adapt messages to support ever-changing circumstances.

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Two girls sitting ona blanket outdoors working on homework together with their mother

To every challenge, a solution

The only certainty was uncertainty, so we supported our partners to be creative and experiment with delivering playful and social-emotional learning to children. We worked online, offline and found the magic places in between to make sure no child was left behind.

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A 3 year-old boy playing racing car with his father

New voices for a world where play heals

We've found new champions carrying further, adapting and extending the power of play. The pandemic has brought new challenges but also opportunities of bringing more playful learning into children's lives.

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How we’re responding next

For many countries, the emergency is not yet over. The LEGO Foundation has committed to a new round of funding to support children, caregivers and teachers who are still in the middle of the emergency or are adjusting to the new normal.

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The methodology

Throughout Summer 2021, we reviewed and analysed available partner grant reports, spoke to the LEGO Foundation’s staff managing the grants and relationship with partners, reviewed minutes of meetings, and interviewed 16 partners directly.

The COVID-19 response across the globe is ongoing, and so is our learning from it. While the findings of this research cannot be generalised across the board (due to the unavailability of some reports and the inability to interview all partners), our hope is that they offer ideas for improving children’s education and development by building on the lessons learned from this unprecedented chapter of history.

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