Sanjay Luthra Chairman of Toy Industries Europe and MD EMEA Mattel
Despite the uncertainties we currently face in the world around us, one of the things I am sure of is the continued importance of play in children’s lives.
Play is an essential part of daily life for children – and often adults – during this global pandemic. Play offers a multitude of benefits and opportunities for learning, entertainment, distraction and stress relief from being confined inside for hours on end. It will also be a source of happy memories and comfort of spending time together for many once the pandemic has passed.
Helping children to get the most out of play is at the heart of everything the toy sector does. That’s why, I am proud to be part of a sector that has responded to the crisis by providing much needed resources for the public health response, as well as the work being done across the industry to support children and families to play during the confinement period.
Despite a difficult landscape, and the fears this brings for the future, it is heartening to see so many companies big and small asking what more they can do to help. Like many toy companies, at Mattel we are using our resources and technical know-how to contribute to the production of protective gear like facemasks.
National toy associations and companies alike have been busy developing a wealth of free and safe online play tools and ideas for children and families. Others in the sector have activated funding programmes to help the most vulnerable children during these difficult times. We all have an important part to play.
As Chairman of Toy Industries of Europe, I would particularly like to thank our national toy associations for the work they are doing at local level to ensure companies can keep selling toys, despite businesses being forced to close across the EU. TIE itself is working to make sure that channels of communication are kept open for members to exchange essential local insights and responses.
It’s clear that long after the public health crisis ends, we will see an impact on society, culture and the way we do business for years to come. Let’s hope that one positive that comes out of all of this is an appreciation of the difference that the magic and power of play can make in children’s lives.