Three ways UNICEF is innovating for children and unlocking their creativity
Let’s celebrate World Creativity and Innovation Day with UNICEF’s initiatives that empower children to express their ideas for a better future and foster their full cognitive potential.
Children and young people need support to nurture their potential as innovators. They are also aware of the challenges their communities face. Cultivating their creativity and critical thinking skills is key to helping them develop their capacity to address these issues.
Through three different play initiatives, UNICEF Supply Division is empowering children to build their confidence as thinkers, makers and problem solvers, while also nurturing their full potential: from using LEGO® bricks and recycled materials to imagine, create and shape their own future to repurposing packaging materials into toys that enable children to play, learn and recover.
Get ready to be inspired as we explore the amazing world of child creativity, innovation and sustainable practices.
Imagining the future and building it, brick by brick
UNICEF teamed up with the LEGO Group to launch Build the Change workshops across different countries and regions. Thousands of young innovators from Cambodia, Costa Rica, Egypt and Madagascar joined this special collaboration to build a more child-friendly world using LEGO bricks. Children were empowered to express themselves on issues they care about through playful activity.
Check out some of the inspiring ideas that emerged during the workshops in the four countries over the past year.
Repurposing cardboard into play for children’s recovery
One of UNICEF’s latest product innovation initiatives, Project Play, aims to repurpose packaging into toys to stimulate play among malnourished children. The project is already bringing smiles to children in Uganda, Pakistan and Sierra Leone during proof-of-concept testing that started in 2022.
By including pre-printed and pre-cut toys into Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) cardboard packaging, Project Play promotes healthy child development while also addressing waste management. This initiative demonstrates how small innovations can make a big impact in creating a sustainable future for all children to play, learn and thrive.
Creating sustainable toys for malnourished children, designed by children
Drawing inspiration from Project Play, UNICEF Burundi organized Play to Heal, a three-day competition for 100 children aged 5-15. This time around it was kids who became the creators of toys for other kids. The young minds were invited to design toys for the stimulation of children under treatment for acute malnutrition using empty RUTF cartons and other recycled materials. This initiative not only fostered creativity, but also raised awareness among youth about the needs of other children and the importance of preserving our planet.