October 2021

Play prepares children for the future. Any future

How do we ready children for a world where machines are replacing jobs?

The LEGO Foundation

Imagine a world where half our children grow up without the skills they need

We don’t need a crystal ball to see it: right now, it’s reality for 825 million children around the world. We need to get them ready for a life where robots and algorithms replace some kinds of work, while roles we never dreamed of spring up unexpectedly. The World Economic Forum predicts 85 million traditional jobs won’t exist by 2025 – but without the right skills, who’s going to do the 97 million new ones that appear in their place?

It’s not all about tomorrow. There’s a skills gap widening today

Already, 94% of businesses say they expect people to learn new skills on the job (as recently as 2018, only 65% said the same). The skills they most want to see? Critical thinking, problem-solving, active learning, resilience, stress tolerance, creativity, and flexibility. Handily enough, these are closely linked to the five super skills children develop naturally when they learn through play. And we don’t have time to waste: the Education Commission reports that 40% of employers say they’re already struggling to find people with those skills.

World Economic Forum Future Of Jobs Report 2020

Children won’t develop those essential skills if they’re just learning to repeat back facts

But by learning through play (in school and out), they can become adaptable, creative learners. We’ve published a paper that sets out the ways education systems can act now to stave off the growing skills crisis, and keep up with the rate of change in the wider world.

Why school time is playtime

It’s time to invest in tomorrow’s problem-solvers

We want every child to have the joyful, playful experiences they need to thrive, now and in the future. It’s the right thing to do. It’s also the smart thing to do. Rapid change hits low-income economies fastest. But we’re all connected: what happens in one area of the world affects another. After all, the world is facing global threats like climate change, which need urgent, creative solutions – so why not unleash the full potential of our future thinkers and leaders? Learning through play allows children to practice the essential skills they need to be lifelong learners. It taps into the natural ways we learn to nurture capable, confident children who become adults ready to take on the world. Whatever it looks.

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