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Research from IKEA shows children are favouring traditional toys over tech when it comes to play time

44% of eight year olds prefer arts and crafts to computer games

79% of parents believe creative play is important to their child’s development

IKEA hosts a children’s take-over day to encourage the popularity of creative play

Traditional toys could appear higher on the Christmas list this year, as research* from IKEA reveals 44% of eight-year-olds prefer to play like their parents did, picking creative arts and crafts over computer games.

The research, released to coincide with the launch of the IKEA Soft Toy campaign which supports UNICEF and Save the Children, showed that creative play activities, such as painting, baking or drawing, are more popular than watching cartoons or playing computer games, with over a quarter (27%) of 7-10 year-olds picking arts and crafts** as their favourite pastime.

However, despite this move towards more creative play, busy parents are still finding it difficult to make time for the more involved or messy activities, with over a third (43%) saying the house chores eat into play time with their children.

Over three quarters (79%)of the parents questioned said they thought creative play was important for their child’s development, despite this 23% admit they prefer playing computer games with their children when they have the time, rather than creative activities. Sport is the next most popular activity that parents pick to play with their kids, with 22% saying they prefer this. But contrary to what the children said, just 1 in 10 parents say arts and crafts is their top choice.

A third (34%) of parents say they only allow their children to play messy activities such as painting or baking twice a month or less, listing the lengthy cleanup process as a main reason for not allowing this type of play more often. Of these, 3% of parents say they never let their children get messy during playtime.

To encourage children to make the most of their enjoyment for creative play, IKEA is hosting a ‘Children’s Take-over day’ at IKEA Wembley on 11th November, parents can bring their children along for a day of fun and imagination, with IKEA covering the cleanup when they’re done, so mum or dad won’t have to.

Carol McSeveney, UK and Ireland Children’s IKEA Manager, said: “We believe children are the most important people in the world, which is why we support UNICEF and Save the Children with our yearly Soft Toy campaign”.

“To celebrate the launch of this year’s campaign, we are inviting little ones to take part in the creative play day at our IKEA Wembley store so they can let their imaginations run wild.”

Will Paxton, Head of Education Policy and Advocacy at Save the Children said:“It may just seem like a bit of fun, however creating a stimulating environment with opportunities to play and learn is vital for young childrens’ development. It means they will be more likely to start school ready to learn and it stimulates creativity.

Thanks to money raised from the IKEA Soft Toy Campaign, Save the Children has been able to run a number of education projects which help children around the world get the start in life they deserve.”

Michael Newsome, Director of Individual Giving at UNICEF UK says: “We are truly grateful for IKEA’s tireless support in helping us be there for the world’s children. Every child should be able to go to school and get an education so they can fulfill their potential in life and realise their dreams, but millions across the world are still missing out.

“IKEA is a vital support in helping us to achieve our goal in educating the next generation, allowing children to reach their full potential no matter where in the world they live.”

Parents can find out more information about the ‘Children’s Take-over day’ and to register you and your kids for a place, you can find more info via our Facebook page and registration site here:

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*Research on a sample of 2,000 parents and children carried out by OnePoll on behalf of IKEA

** Of those surveyed, 27% choose arts and crafts as their favourite type of play, followed by computer games (25%), sports (22%) and free-play (12%).

Notes to Editors:

For further information about this event please contact the IKEA Team on
0207 307 3100

About IKEA’s Soft Toy Campaign

So far, IKEA customers and co-workers have helped to raise a total of €47.6million euros for education projects in 45 countries, helping over 8million children.
The donation of €1 will be given for EVERY soft toy bought, irrespective of the purchase price or how many are bought in one transaction. E.g. For a customer purchasing 6 soft toys at 39p - IKEA will donate €6
All IKEA UK & Ireland stores will participate in this campaign including Warrington, Gateshead, Birmingham, Lakeside, Leeds, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff, Manchester, Tottenham, Milton Keynes, Belfast, Coventry, Bristol, Croydon, Wembley, Southampton and Dublin
Save the Children
Save the Children works in more than 120 countries. We save children's lives. We fight for their rights. We help them fulfill their potential. For further information about our work please visit


UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation working for children and their rights in more than 190 countries. As champion of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF works to help every child realise their full potential. Together with our partners, UNICEF delivers health care, nutrition, education and protection to children in urgent need, while working with governments to ensure they deliver on their promise to protect and promote the rights of every child. UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations from individuals, governments, institutions and corporations, and is not funded by the UN. For more information, please visit

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