Research funded by the company indicates that early formal schooling could affect educational development.
Hanne Rasmussen, head of the Lego Foundation, suggests that a lack in understanding of the value of play is pushing parents and schools to reduce it as a priority. If children are being pushed towards formal education earlier and earlier, they then miss out on play-based learning which evolves skills such as problem-solving, empathy and creativity.
She said: “All over the world, we see parents spending so much energy in doing the best for their child, and play is not on that list because they do not have the background to understand what it could do.”
Lego identifies five types of play and the variety of skills they develop, such as physical, symbolic, with rules, with objects and pretence.
The Lego Foundation is putting £4m into a new Lego professorship at Cambridge University, with the first incumbent chosen in April.