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Play is Essential for School Readiness –PLAYMOBIL and Yale Researcher Dr. Dorothy Singer Debut New Approach to a Day’s Play

Cranbury, N.J. - August 18,2005 - Recognizing the documented benefits of pretend play, toy manufacturer PLAYMOBIL and Yale Researcher Dr. Dorothy Singer today unveiled the first-ever Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Play designed to aid a child’s school readiness and elementary school success. The RDA of Play is composed of three key elements: time for play, space for play and a guide for play.

"In fact," said Singer, "the combination of these three play factors lays the foundation for all imagination and creativity. The RDA of Play is one of the most important ingredients 3- to 8-year-old children need to develop the cognitive, social, emotional and motor skills that lead to school readiness."

"For more than 30 years, PLAYMOBIL has been dedicated to enriching the lives of children by encouraging them to use their imaginations," said PLAYMOBIL USA Vice President John Skrajewski. "Dr. Singer has devoted her career to studying and documenting the measurable and concrete benefits of pretend play. Our partnership was the next logical step to provide parents with the guidelines to recognize the real benefits of imaginative play."

A recent study developed by PLAYMOBIL in collaboration with Dr. Singer found that parents undervalue and are largely unaware of the concrete developmental benefits of pretend play. Out of parents polled, only one in five thinks that pretend play can help their child with reading.

In study after study, play has revealed demonstrable benefits in developing children’s social, emotional and motor skills. And pretend play can certainly help with reading. Singer explained:

"When children are engaging in pretend play, they tell stories, they make letter sounds that increase their vocabulary and word comprehension. They also have fun with words, often playing with rhymes (cat, hat, bat) or making one word out of two such as popcorn from pop and corn, or butterfly from butter and fly, or cowboy from cow and boy. Children also love to make up their own words that sound nonsensical to us, but are important as a precursor to understanding and reading words."

According to Dr. Singer, parents are often surprised when she tells them one of the best ways to prepare their children for school and throughout the primary school years is just through good old-fashioned pretend play.

The RDA of Play

The basic principle of the RDA of Play is to remind parents it’s OK for their children to play. The RDA of Play is a set of guidelines on how parents can foster imagination and learning in their children:

1. Time: Thirty minutes of imaginative, make-believe play daily will noticeably improve children’s cognitive, social, emotional and motor skills.
2. Space: Assigning a play space, an area where toys do not always have to be picked up, so that imagination can take over and house rules don’t apply encourages children to engage in pretend play more often.
3. Guide: Parents can best serve as a play guide and encourage quality play by following these tips:

1. Inspire, don’t organize. Convey a sense of involvement and warmth, but once the play is underway, step back and let them play in their own direction, at their own pace, leaving children to interact on their initiatives and developing an imaginative and complex story line on their own.
2. Provide props. According to Dr. Singer, children, at times, need a starting point for play – a prop to engage their imaginations and then they’re off and running. Props can range from blocks, an empty cardboard box or a PLAYMOBIL pirate figurine or play scape.
3. Don’t clean up. Resist the urge to interrupt play to straighten up play sets or fix a "wrong" situation. This can be disruptive to the imaginative thought process.

The Benefits of Play … School Readiness and Beyond

By following the RDA of Play, children will gain cognitive, language, emotional, social and physical skills that help them become productive and happy adults. The cognitive benefits range from abstract thinking to creativity and mastering new concepts like logic and math, all of which, according to Dr. Singer, are essential for adults to thrive in today’s busy world. Play will also increase children’s vocabulary, give them self-confidence, decrease their stress and teach them to resolve conflicts with empathy and cooperation.


The cornerstone of all PLAYMOBIL activities is the two and three quarter inch figure which can bend, sit, stand, turn its head and move its arms. The hands, which can grasp, rotate and carry accessories, are what make realistic play possible. The figures also have a smiley face that suits just about any play situation. All PLAYMOBIL men, women, children and animals are compatible will all other PLAYMOBIL vehicles, accessories and environments. The bright colors and rounded edges are appealing to children. And, the unique construction features locking-grid building pieces that allow children to quickly and easily change their play worlds by creating new buildings. With numerous themes to choose from in a variety of age-appropriate settings, PLAYMOBIL is dedicated to enriching the lives of children by encouraging them to use their imaginations.


PLAYMOBIL is headquartered in Zirndorf, Germany and distributes its toys in over 60 countries. The company employs approx. 2,500 people worldwide and has subsidiaries in the United States, France, Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Greece, Spain, Canada and the Czech Republic. PLAYMOBIL USA toys are distributed in more than 2,200 stores nationwide including the PLAYMOBIL-owned Fun Park play centers in Woodbridge, New Jersey, West Palm Beach and Orlando, Florida.

Children also learn self-confidence through play – one of the emotional benefits – as well as fine motor skills and the social skills of cooperation, sharing and taking turns. "The power of play truly extends beyond your childhood," said Singer. "Now more than ever, as the first ‘hard-wired’ generation raised with computers and the Internet is having a difficult time entering the workplace, is the time for parents to revisit play and the foundation of key life skills it builds."