Research Centre

The impact of learning through play on children’s development and lifelong learning

The Centre’s Child Impact Research Team  conducts, collects, and supports research evidence that explores the impact of playful experiences across human development, with a focus on childhood. We strategically pursue rigorous research to understand the mechanisms and causal impact of learning through play, including in-depth explorations of the characteristics of playful learning; at what times in child development playful experiences have the greatest impact; in what contexts play is most effective; why it has an impact, and for whom; and what types of play are most effective for supporting specific desired outcomes.

Translating evidence on learning through play into practice

The Centre’s Target Group Research Team focuses on informing, delivering, and investigating evidence-based play interventions – some of which are delivered through the Foundation's programmes – that impact children indirectly through parents, caregivers, teachers, institutions, and public policy. By applying evidence across these target groups, the Centre helps to create a more systemic change to support playful learning around the world.

In addition, the target group research team applies the evidence collected by the Child Impact Research Team to the broader contexts in which play impacts children.

Transforming evidence into experiences

The Centre’s Experience Team works in tandem with these research efforts to transform the evidence into experiences that the public can deeply feel and understand. By producing powerful examples of high quality learning through play – including documentation of real children engaging with experiences, as well as hands-on activities that both children and adults can experience for themselves – the Experience Team helps the public understand at a deeper level the importance of playful experiences for children’s creativity and learning. To see examples of these powerful experiences, partners may explore the LEGO Foundation’s LEGO Idea Studio.

Together, the Foundation’s Experience Team and Ambassador & Facilitation Team work to raise awareness and facilitate learning through play .

  • The four teams in The LEGO Foundation’s Centre for Creativity, Play, and Learning work together toward the following aims:
  • To become a leading authority on learning through play, by producing, collecting, and supporting evidence on the role of play in child development, including a nuanced understanding of when each type of play works, for whom and for what goals
  • To become a central convening and collaboration agent in a highly fragmented field of disciplines, enabling the elite researchers and practitioners in this area to more extensively communicate, collaborate, and create strategic impact
  • To develop and share a shared language about the role of play and creativity in children’s development and learning
  • To provide examples of how research on play has been applied in practice, and communicate those examples effectively to audiences who need them

Our research partners

The Centre works with a core group of international research partners, who are committed to learning through play across formal and informal learning environments. The partnerships are selected to ensure diversity across culture and academic disciplines, with the representation of significant and world-leading research institutions.