Toy Association Members Respond to COVID-19 with New Educational & Play Resources, Medical Supplies
March 30, 2020 | From shifting production to produce essential medical supplies to creating new at-home play and educational resources for parents to helping source and deliver critical safety equipment to hospitals and first responders around the country, here are a few examples of how Toy Association member companies are lending a hand amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Hasbro has launched a new online hub for family-focused resources, BringHometheFun.com. The website includes tips for family playtime, activity challenges to keep kids occupied, ideas for using games and toys to activate kids’ brains, and ways to cope with the emotional stress related to the current pandemic.
The LEGO Group
The LEGO Group announced two initiatives to aid children worldwide. Supported by a $50 million donation from the LEGO Foundation, its Education Cannot Wait initiative provides learning supplies to children in emergencies and extended crises; to a selection of existing LEGO Foundation partners whose work with children and families is under additional pressure from COVID-19; and to charity partners serving communities where the LEGO Group has a significant presence.
The LEGO Group has also launched www.LEGO.com/letsbuildtogether and a #letsbuildtogether campaign across its social channels to share building ideas, daily challenges by LEGO designers, retro builds, and live build-a-longs with fans. This initiative was designed to help alleviate some of the stress felt by families due to COVID-19 while keeping children engaged in creative learning.
Mattel donated toys and art supplies to the LA Students Most in Need charitable effort, organized by the Los Angeles Unified School District, the largest school district in California and the second largest in the nation. The items were delivered to students and families at Los Angeles Unified’s Grab & Go Food Centers through Teamsters Local 572.
Since school closures took effect to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Los Angeles Unified has helped almost 700,000 students, nearly 80 percent of whom are from families living in poverty.
MGA Entertainment (MGAE)’s new “Operation: PAC-MAN” non-profit was created to help supply hospitals and healthcare workers with the essential medical supplies and equipment they need to protect themselves and fight the spread of COVID-19. Aiming to raise additional funds to procure more personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers, MGAE's CEO & founder Isaac Larian and the company have committed to matching donations raised by the public. MGAE has already committed $5 million of its brand, L.O.L. Surprise!, to the non-profit.
In addition, the designers and engineers at MGAE and Little Tikes have created a prototype of a ventilator to address the supply shortage of the current ventilators being used at a fraction of the cost. It is currently being tested at UCLA, and, if clinically approved, the company will begin mass production for immediate distribution.
MMG Brands has shifted its production from trend, plush, and décor items to sourcing and manufacturing N95 respirator masks and other essential personal protective equipment (PPE) including nitrile gloves, hospital gowns, and more to follow. MMG Brands is tapping into its existing relationships with factories in Vietnam, India, and China to expedite its efforts and working with state and federal government entities to quickly distribute supplies to hospitals, frontline workers, and government agencies as they battle the COVID-19 virus.
With partner facilities built to medical-grade clean room standards, ORB has converted its production capabilities, launching a new line of Cyber Clean anti-bacterial and hand-sanitizing products that include medical compounds. The Cyber Clean line has been in production for nearly 10 years with worldwide distribution. For additional information, contact CyberCleanInquiries@orbfactory.com.
A new “Caring for Each Other” initiative offers original Sesame Street content and resources to entertain, educate, and comfort kids, parents, and caregivers during this time. With new content being launched each week, parents are encouraged to use the free resources to help provide comfort and manage anxiety, create routines, foster learning at home, and ensure families are caring for their physical and mental health. Sesame Workshop is also offering virtual play dates and content on topics like hand washing.
The Strong National Museum of Play
The Strong is offering new programming on its Facebook page each day at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. (Eastern), with additional content appearing on the museum’s Twitter, Twitch, Instagram, and other social channels. The Strong kicked it off with live story reading and animal encounters in the museum’s Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden.
VTech's new “Learn Through This” campaign is using its VTech and LeapFrog brands to support teachers and parents with the tools they need to keep kids busy, learning and active while at home. VTech and LeapFrog are offering comprehensive resources including free content such as articles, printable activity books, and educational activities.
Women in Toys
Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment (WIT) is offering complimentary six-month memberships to those experiencing unemployment or loss of income as a result of the coronavirus. Click here to apply.
The Toy Association’s Genius of Play At-Home Learning Resources page is also being updated daily with new resources for kids and families, including more from the larger toy and play community. How is your company lending a hand during the COVID-19 crisis? Email Jennifer Lynch to share your story.