The Carpathian Foundation launched the "Playing for Change!" project in the spring of 2021 with the support of the LEGO Group.
The LEGO Foundation was established in 1986. Its main goal is to show children - living anywhere in the world – how to learn through play, thereby making their lives better and local communities stronger. Their target group is primarily children aged 0-12, with a particular focus on early childhood, when both physical and mental development is the fastest.
In 2021, its primary goal is to support mainly unprivileged kids, engaging them, their parents and caretakers with playful activities, using learning through play.
The project has two parts, which take place in parallel, in several locations. The aim of the project is to raise awareness - especially among children (and parents) - to the importance of environmental protection and sustainability, to expand kids’ knowledge about it, and to move their mindset in a “greener” direction.
The first part of the project is a pilot green education project, which will be implemented in three locations, in three small communities for 9 months. The aim of the sub-project is to introduce sustainability issues to children aged 5-10 living in selected communities, all of whom are disadvantaged and members of families living in (deep) poverty. Due to their social status and potential situation, these families are only able to take sustainability considerations into account to a limited extent. The project responds to this, with the help of environmental educators and local organizers to introduce ~120 children in a playful way to the economical use of water, environmentally friendly heating solutions, kitchen-garden maintenance, the problem of waste generated and the ecological role in the system. Through children, we also try to address and involve parents, thus creating a more sustainable, greener vision together with them. The knowledge generated during the process is disseminated widely in an adaptable form.
In the other part of the project, we announce a creative art competition for kindergartens, primary schools and non-governmental organizations in the East-Northern Hungary. "The Earth is My Friend!" competition focuses on sustainability and the environmental protection. Institutions may apply in case disadvantaged or complexly disadvantaged children learn there. We look for creations that use raw materials found either in households or in nature. Each applicant group or class will receive a giant LEGO/DUPLO Box containing various LEGO/DUPLO cubes and parts. In the second round, the teams/classes have to build a structure from these raw materials, be it a city, an object or something from nature, which is related to environmental protection and green thinking. In joint design and construction, educators help children, while they learn about important environmental issues through joint play and construction. Photos and videos will be taken of the process, as well as the children will have to present the completed construction. Entries will be judged by a jury, which will include LEGO staff. Members of the winning teams in each category will receive a LEGO prize per individual.
It is expected that 100 groups / classes will take part in the competition and 2,500 children to receive LEGO gifts.
Overall, the aim of the project is to increase the awareness of children - and through them their family members - about environmental protection and sustainability, and to sensitize them on the topic, but not within the framework of traditional frontal education, but through playful learning where LEGO toys get a big role.