The Toy Association





The Genius of Play’s New Report Reveals Crucial Role of Play in Raising Children to be Creative


New York, NY | July 24, 2018 – As educational priorities in the United States continue to shift towards test-taking skills vs. original thinking, how can we raise our children to become competitive in the international arena and promote invention and innovation? A panel of experts recently convened by The Genius of Play and the Smithsonian's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation in Washington, DC explored just that. The consensus? Allowing kids ample time and opportunities to play will nurture their creative spirit and give them the tools they’ll need as adults to discover solutions to our most pressing world issues.

Findings from the panel, which took place at the National Museum of American History, are included in a new report that is now available: ”Raising a Generation of Inventors: How Play Fosters Creativity and Innovative Thinking in Children.”

“There’s no denying that we are faced with a creativity crisis, with studies showing that American creativity has been on the decline since the 1990s. Unfortunately, really young children are suffering the most,” said Ken Seiter, executive vice president of marketing communications at The Toy Association. “Many parents and educators see playtime as an extracurricular activity, when in fact it is crucial to helping children learn how to think outside of the box, and instrumental in ensuring a bright and prosperous future for our country. We hope this report will encourage more families and schools to let kids flex their creativity through play.”

The panelists included Vikas Gupta, co-founder and CEO of Wonder Workshop, Molly James, kindergarten teacher at the highly selective all-girls Kent Place School, James McLurkin, senior hardware engineer at Google, and Jeri Robinson, vice president of early childhood initiatives at the Boston Children’s Museum. Each explored the following questions posed by moderator Monica M. Smith, head of exhibitions and interpretation at the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation:

  • What is play – and how does it define who we are?
  • Is creativity innate, or can it be learned?
  • Is there a “magic age” to support and encourage a child’s learning through play?
  • How do we get more play into formal education?
  • What resources in life make great toys to inspire creativity?
  • How can parents help their children engage in playful learning?

The experts highlighted the importance of bringing more play into the school curriculum, giving parents the confidence to play with their children, and helping society understand and value the benefits of play. With these key ingredients, parents and educators can help children grow into successful, inventive, and innovative adults.

“Supporting play is key to broadening the demographics of who becomes an inventor, scientist, or engineer,” said Arthur Daemmrich, PhD, director of the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. “Perspectives brought forward in this report provide insights on how to keep the world creative, today and for the future.”

Raising a Generation of Inventors: How Play Fosters Creativity and Innovative Thinking in Children can be downloaded at

About The Genius of Play
The Genius of Play is a national movement to raise awareness of play’s vital role in child development, spearheaded by The Toy Association. Deeply rooted in research and facts, The Genius of Play is a leading resource on the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional benefits of play that serve children throughout their lives. The Genius of Play enables today’s busy parents and caretakers to use the power of play to help raise a happier, healthier, and more productive next generation. Visit for easily accessible play ideas and tips, expert advice and other play resources. It’s More Than Play!

About the Lemelson Center
The Lemelson Center engages, educates, and empowers the public to participate in technological, economic, and social change. The center undertakes historical research, develops educational initiatives, creates exhibitions, and hosts public programming to advance new perspectives on invention and innovation and to foster interactions between the public and inventors. The Lemelson Hall of Invention and Innovation, featuring Draper Spark!Lab, “Places of Invention” and “Inventive Minds,” is a signature part of the National Museum of American History’s 45,000-square-foot space centered on the theme of innovation. For more information, visit



Contact: Adrienne Appell
The Toy Association

Check Out Our Latest Editions! 

rmcover vol59i2a

rmcover vol59i1

Latest New & Notable Products

rmnn vol59i1 billboard

rmnn vol59i1 uglydolls

Contact Us

Retail Merchandiser Magazine
150 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 900
Chicago, IL 60601


Click here for a full list of contacts.

Latest Editions

Spread The Love

Back To Top