The Walt Disney Company enjoys a nearly 100-year legacy of creative storytelling, which encourages adults and children to have more shared imaginative playtime together. Taking its cue from recent studies which suggest that the shared imaginative play gap is widespread with parents admitting they’ve ‘forgotten’ how to use their imagination, Disney created The Gift of Play.
Inspired by Disney’s beloved stories and characters across Disney, Pixar, Star Wars™ and Marvel, The Gift of Play provides inspirational yet informative guidance, through a series of enjoyable activities and products from dress-up to Lego, to demonstrate how creativity, inventiveness and togetherness can help to reignite imagination.
Disney has brought together The Institute of Imagination, parenting experts and theatrical stage-masters to launch The Gift of Play – a campaign hosted on a dedicated website, www.disneythegiftofplay.co.za.
To help re-ignite the imagination, the websitehosts a range of free-to-view videos, including easy to follow ‘how-tos’ and resources devoted to families enjoying more imaginative play time together, including The Gift of Play guide.
The free 22-page handbook, which includes a series of Disney Princess and Frozen themed play-starter scenarios, has been created by parenting experts and theatrical stage-masters, to inspire adults and children to use their own surroundings and Disney stories to stimulate imagination, creativity – and most of all, have fun playing.
The Gift of Play was developed following recent research conducted by Disney, that polled over 5,000 adults across the UK and Europe all with kids under the age of 12, with a focus on discovering thoughts and behaviours around playtime.
The results show that while eight in ten parents admit their kids are happier when they play all together, almost half (48 per cent) say they feel uninspired and lost when it came to planning ways to play, and one in two struggle to find the resources that could help them.
The study also reveals a few more interesting statistics, including the fact that 80 per cent of respondents recognise the importance of play for a child’s development, but nearly half (45 per cent) say that family life is too busy and 40 per cent of those feel they don’t have the time to join in when it comes to shared playtime.
In the South African context, local studies* in recent years highlight the importance of play relating to South Africa. Durban-based Registered Psychological Counsellor Zakkiya Suleman says: “From a South African educational standpoint, we see learning through play as an important facet of a child’s life. There are policies framing South African early education, play and play-based approaches which are deemed part of quality practices.”
Zakkiya goes on to explain that from day one, children are eager and determined to understand how the world works and they do this through play. “They are using all the “tools” they have at their disposal. Play is not only fun, but it’s one of the most important ways you can nurture their development. There are no rules when it comes to playing and while it’s also fun, it’s important to young children’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. Through play children learn problem-solving, interpersonal skills, communication, and other skills integral to success in school and life,” she adds.
Luke Roberts, General Manager, Consumer Products, Games and Publishing, The Walt Disney Company Africa says: “There is nothing more special than a bond between parent and child and at Disney we know that those bonds need nurturing. Shared play can be both an exciting and enriching exercise and Disney is offering support to parents and caregivers to unlock their imaginations and find inspiration in our guide and with our products to engage with children and create a fun, learning environment for them.”
A short piece of live action content demonstrating how adults can use Disney’s The Gift of Play to engage with their children and have more fun together, is also be available to view on The Gift of Play website
The campaign will be supported by various snippets of shared imaginative play content, syndicated on the Disney Family social media channels across Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Supporting products featured in the guide across Disney, Pixar, Star Wars™ and Marvel are available to purchase from all leading retailers nationwide.Disney’s The Gift of Play campaign combines 100 years of storytelling with leading experts, to show families how to rediscover the joy of shared imaginative playtime together
For parents who say they lack confidence playing ‘make believe’, Disney delivers a new, free online guide as part of the campaign that provides top tips and fun play-starters to inspire families to spend more time playing together
In the South African context, there are national policy frameworks for Early Learning Development that supports learning through play