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LEGO DUPLO “gets” Today’s Grandparents with new Play Phone Line and more…

In honor of National Grandparents Day, LEGO® DUPLO®, experts in play and toys for toddlers and preschoolers, today launches the LEGO DUPLO Play Phone Line for grandparents, a resource that offers tips, suggestions, and inspiration to grandparents of children ages 1 to 5 years old as they embark on an exciting new chapter of life. LEGO Systems also reveals today results from a recent Harris Interactive® survey of parents regarding their perspective on the grandparents of their child/children, including the finding that respondents believe that their mother and father are more hands-on as grandparents than they were as parents, notably participating in play instead of merely supervising.

Photo by Bettina Hansen/The Arizona Republic
Photo by Bettina Hansen/The Arizona Republic

“Yesterday’s grandparents were noodle casseroles and needlepoint; today’s grandparents are Facebooking fun makers,” said Michael McNally, brand relations director for LEGO Systems. “Grandparents today are more active and engaged with their grandchildren, so we hope to inspire them with great ideas for how to make the most of that special time.”

Live today and free to call, the LEGO DUPLO Play Line at 1-800-835-4386 – mention “grandparents” – will answer questions from and provide guidance to grandparents—and parents—who are looking for clever playtime ideas. Sample topics include simple ways to introduce building play for the first time; how to manage play with multiple grandchildren of different age groups; and how to teach a grandchild their colors through play. An activity guide can be emailed or snail mailed, or grandparents can visit www.YouTube.com/LEGO keyword “DUPLO” to watch a series of inspirational play videos featuring Dan Steininger, a LEGO Master Builder and new grandfather. Have ideas of your own? Share them on https://www.facebook.com/LEGODUPLO or email them to grandparents@LEGO.com

“One of the things I learned only after I became a grandparent myself is that kids respond much better when you are on their level, and when you’re letting them direct the play time,” said Steininger, whose 20-month old grandson is already developing building skills. “I’m really excited to combine my skills as a Master Builder with my new experiences as a grandfather to spread the playful word with other new grandparents like me.”

In advance of the hotline debut, LEGO DUPLO and Harris Interactive fielded an online study of 500 parents who have one or more 2-5 year old child, and whose mother or father spends at least some time with the grandchild or grandchildren. Key findings include:

Grandpa Now versus Dad Then. Parents feel that the way their own parents play with their grandchildren is different than the way they played with them as a child. When asked whether grandparents supervise, drop in, or actively participate during playtime, 23 percent of parents said grandparents merely supervise playtime now, compared to 37 percent back then.

  • Diversified Play-folio. Parents surveyed said that their own parents, as grandparents, are more often to engage in different types of activities with their grandchildren than their own grandparents did when they were children. The only exceptions? Shopping and baking.
    • Playing on the floor together (40 percent recall their own grandparents doing this, while 74 percent say their children and their own parents – the children’s grandparents – do so today)
    • Reading together (43 percent and 64 percent, respectively)
    • Going to the park (36 percent and 56 percent, respectively)
    • Today’s grandparents are seen as spending more time engaged physical fitness (59 percent) and traveling (54 percent) than today’s parents’ recollections of their own grandparents.
  • Grandma, the Teacher. Parents clearly feel that their children learn when spending time with grandparents, with vast majorities indicating their children learn educational skills (87 percent) and social skills (98 percent) in the presence of their grandparents.
  • More Guest Appearances from Grandparents. Today’s parents indicate that their children’s grandparents are more present in special occasions, with 87% of them helping to celebrate a grandchild’s birthday in person and 86% joining holiday celebrations, compared to their recollection of their own grandparents participating in birthday celebrations (68%) and holiday celebrations (77%) when they were young.
  • Rule-Breaking Grandparents. 84 percent of parents of young children surveyed said that their child’s grandparents are likely to break at least one parenting rule with their grandchildren. Giving the child something they don’t typically eat is the most expected infraction (62 percent), followed by letting them stay up later than their bedtime (45 percent), and letting them watch TV or play video games more than the parent himself or herself would allow (40 percent). But parents feel that grandparents are breaking the traditional “rules” of passive grandparenting, too, with 46 percent of parents reporting that their children’s grandparents “actively participate” in playtime…even if they do it while feeding the child chocolate.

LEGO DUPLO offers so many ways to play, from letting children recreate the big top with My First Circus to being a vehicle for role play with My First Garden or My First Market Place to learning how to count with Number Train. Or, let kids get imaginative with the 65-piece Creative Bucket, featuring a wagon base and flowers, and, of course, eye-decorated bricks for building animals, dinosaurs, monsters and more.

Additional resources for making the most out of playtime with grandchildren are available at www.facebook.com/LEGODUPLO and at www.duplo.lego.com. For information specific to story time building, including building instructions tailored to books that lend themselves to play as recommended by the Association of Library Service to Children, or to download fun DUPLO Jams to add music to play time, visit www.readbuildplay.com.

LEGO Systems, Inc. is the North American division of The LEGO Group, a privately-held, family-owned company based in Billund, Denmark, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of creatively educational play materials for children.  The company is committed to the development of children’s creative and imaginative abilities, and its employees are guided by the motto adopted in the 1930s by founder Ole Kirk Christiansen: “Only the best is good enough.”  Visit www.LEGO.com

 LEGO, DUPLO, their logos, the brick and knob configuration and the minifigure are trademarks of The LEGO Group. ©2013 The LEGO Group.


Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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