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IKEA and artist Janelle Monáe collaborate for serious play

Today, at the first-ever annual International Day of Play designated by the United Nations, IKEA launches its latest Play Report*: a research looking into the role of play in relation to the wellbeing of children. To underline the important messages of the report, IKEA has, together with children, created and directed a film for which global musical recording artist, actress and inspiration Janelle Monáe** has lent her strong voice.

“The aim of the IKEA Play Report 2024 is to understand and convey the deeper layers of children’s lives, emotions, needs, behaviours, and activities at home, and how that affects their play, happiness and wellbeing”

– Maria Törn, Range Area Manager Children’s IKEA

The IKEA Play Report 2024 confirms the enormous importance of play for children. The study conducted by the Insights & Innovation consultancy Future Minds for IKEA shows that 95% of parents say that their child’s happiness is closely or somewhat related to how much or how often they play. 90% of children say they always or sometimes feel happier when they play. At the same time the research reveals that in the wake of a pandemic, amid global unrest, climate change, and growing inequalities, children today increasingly worry about grown-up things and are more stressed compared to a few years ago. Both parents and children see play as an antidote; the key to escaping from pressure and stress and increasing happiness and wellbeing.

“At IKEA, we believe that children are the most important people in the world and every child has the right to play. We’re committed to integrating children’s rights into everything we do. The aim of the IKEA Play Report 2024 is to understand and convey the deeper layers of children’s lives, emotions, needs, behaviours, and activities at home, and how that affects their play, happiness and wellbeing,” says Maria Törn, Range Area Manager Children’s IKEA. The report shows that parents have started to prioritize play more. For the IKEA Play Report 2024 parents were asked if they spend more time playing with their children now compared to a few years ago, of which 51% says yes.

Maria continues: “That more parents start to prioritize time for play is an important development. First and foremost, because all children should be able to just be children and play just for fun. But we have also learned that play is important for the future as it’s an essential way of learning for life. The World Economic Forum 2020 shows that 60% of future jobs haven’t been developed yet and 40% of children in preschool today will need to be self[1]employed to have an income as adults, which means that we need people with adaptable competencies. Play can take the lead role in achieving these outcomes, as it helps children develop essential skills, attitudes, and knowledge.”

Another finding presented in the IKEA Play Report 2024 is that socio-economic factors, time, space, and money often impact the possibility to engage in play. Only 51% of children are happy with the amount of time they have for play, and 54% of parents would like to have more time to play with their child. As the home is the place where families spend most of their time together and build connections, it has an essential role to play. Play is for everyone, and the home is an important playground,’’ says Emma Dafnäs, Range Strategy and Identify Manager at IKEA.

The report shows that parents and children often seek play within the safe and comforting walls of their homes. The home is at the center of leading a more playful life and parents would love to design more playful living spaces.

Emma continues: ‘’We have a huge opportunity to continue to develop products that help children and parents to create easy, encouraging and inviting spaces to express themselves. For years, we’ve been actively involving children in our product development process, for instance, through our international digital panel – the Kids Advisory Panel – where we get input from 40 advisors between the ages of 6-14 from different parts of the world. Being playful is at the core of what IKEA stands for and we are committed to developing even more products and solutions for more playful homes.’’


*The IKEA Play Report 2024 contains the findings from an extensive international research study on play and playfulness at home, carried out by the Insights & Innovation consultancy Future Minds. The report leans on extensive ethnographic and quantitative research on play and playfulness at home. This includes 36 home visits with in-depth interviews in the US, China, and Germany, the contribution of 8 global experts and front-runners (Emma Worolla, Playfulness Consultant & Gen Alpha Innovator Aidan Kohn-Murphy, Founder of “Gen Z for change”, “Gen Z’s expectations Ting Zhang, Expert in children, families and play Eric Baumgarten, Director, MIT Media Lab Melissa Cash, Co-founder and CEO of Pok Pok Allison Bryant, Head of Insights at Sesame Workshop Yuri Zuzuki, Partner at Pentagram – How to design for playfulness Helen F. Dodd, Professor of Child Psychology), and a quantitative survey conducted with 7000 children and parents in 7 countries (USA, Germany, France, Canada, Japan, Poland and India).

**Janelle Monáe is a globally recognized, American musical recording artist and actress, who has received multiple awards in music and film, among them ten Grammy Award nominations, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Children’s and Family Emmy Award.

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