April 06, 2023 4 min read

Playing Our Part: Right To Play

At Mastermind Toys, we believe that play is kids’ work!

Through play, kids get to discover the world around them, develop life skills, and explore their curiosities and interests in fun, engaging ways.

But for some, experiencing the power of play simply isnt possible because of financial, social, or cultural challenges, mental or physical health, or other barriers facing Canadian families today.

That’s why we created Play to Give; Mastermind Toys is partnering with national organizations who work directly with kids coast-to-coast in overcoming thesebarriers. Together, we’re helping kids get back to doing what they do best: playing!

One of our charitable partners is Right To Play, a global organization that aims to protect and educate children and youth, empowering them to rise above adversity.

Like Mastermind Toys, Right To Play understands and believes in harnessing the power of play to transform kids’ lives.

How it Began

Right To Play was founded in 2000 by Norwegian Olympic speed skater Johann Olav Koss. During a humanitarian trip to Eritrea in 1994, Johann noticed kids playingwith a shirt tied into the shape of a ball. Amazed by their resilience, he realized the importance of play in the face of adversity.

Twenty years on, Right To Play has grown to reach 1.52 million children in 15 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Canada!

The PLAY Program

One of Right To Play’s programs, Promoting Life-Skills in Aboriginal Youth (or PLAY), is a before and after school program for Indigenous youth acrossCanada. Through PLAY, theyre committed to walking in partnership with Indigenous communities to develop and deliver safe and responsive play-based programming that meaningfully supports kids in reaching their full potential.

For over 10 years, Right To Play has focused on empowering youth in over 70 Indigenous communities in Ontario, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, and Yukon.

How it Works

1. PLAY community partners hire local Community Mentors.
2. Right To Play staff provide training, resources, and coaching through Community Mentors.
3. Community Mentors deliver safe and inclusive youth programs and events.

Using four different types of play, kids get the opportunity to discover new skills:
Games make learning engaging and fun!
Sports inspire and install teamwork skills.
Creative play encourages self-expression.
Free play makes space for self-directed, collaborative play.

PLAY's Impact

Over half ofparticipants in the PLAY program felt improved confidence and leadership skills.From 2021 to 2022, PLAY reached 3283 kids across Canada, with 52% being girls or gender non-binary.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the PLAY program was deemed an essential service. They continued remote coaching, retaining 80% of Community Mentors.

By working with teachers and educators in Canada, Right To Play aims to make Indigenous issues and history a core part of the school curriculum. Using Right To Play's established success in play-based programming, they will partner with educators to support the growth of these programs.

The Future

Right To Play hopes to expand over the next 5 years to incorporate guided play patterns (inquiry-based and collaborative) in order to promote holistic life skills and academic development in children.

They aim to empower 100 million children by 2030 with the education, skills, and opportunities they need to rise above adversity and create a more peaceful and equitable world.

Our Impact

Since 2021, Mastermind Toys has supported Right To Play through our namesake brand of toys and games via our Play Guides, donating $30,000 to date! Our focus has been to build awareness of their work within Indigenous communities across Canada. Every dollar raised stays within Canada to support these communities.

Until June 21st 2023, all 68 Mastermind Toys stores coast-to-coast will be fundraising in support of Right To Play. As an iconic symbol of play—and Right To Play’s logo—we will also be donating a portion of the proceeds from select Made by Mastermind Toys balls in support of the PLAY Program.

A portion of the proceeds from our Rainbow Playground Balls will be donated to Right To Play (from March 30th - May 10th), as well as a portion of proceeds from our Mega Mesh Balls (from May 11th- June 21st) as part of our Spring and Summer Play Guides!

The Rainbow Playground Ball is available in four sizes and two colourways, designed for all ages and stages of development.

Our Mega Mesh Ball is a giant, 20” inflatable, fabric-covered soccer ball that's fun for the whole family! It’s
available in multiple colourways—and a new multicoloured Super 25” size! This jumbo ball is light and safe—awesome for throwing, catching, kicking, and playing!

At Mastermind Toys, our goal is to inspire generations of lifelong learners through the power of play.

Written by Melania Fedyna, Senior Copywriter & Voice of Play

Melania Fedyna
Melania Fedyna

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