KaBOOM!, the national non-profit organization bringing play to children who need it most, and Mattel (Nasdaq: MAT), the world’s largest toy company, announced a new partnership last week to build the understanding of the critical need for active play in the lives of all children. To launch the partnership, Mattel and the Mattel Children’s Foundation provided $500,000 in financial support for the creation and promotion of a major study with kids about how they engage in play, a compelling summary of existing research about play’s benefits, and accompanying digital content. Whether building the skills children need to succeed in the 21st century or simply giving children joy, play is an essential part of childhood. But in recent decades, play as we know it has been slowly disappearing. The overall goal of the partnership is to foster a groundswell of support around the cause of play, and ultimately, a world where all children have the time and engaging opportunities to play actively, every day. “We know that play can transform children – from sedentary to physically active, bored to mentally active, and solitary to socially active. But play is increasingly becoming a thing of the past,” says Darell Hammond, Founder and CEO of KaBOOM!. “A balance of active play that strengthens bodies, stimulates minds and fosters friendships, is critical for the future of our children and society as a whole.” “Mattel believes play is fundamental to learning and development at all ages. We believe all children have a right to the time, place, tools and an advocate for play in their lives,” says Deidre Lind, Executive Director, Mattel Children's Foundation and Philanthropy Programs for Mattel, Inc. “We are thrilled to collaborate with KaBOOM! to better understand play behavior and spread the word about the power of play.” The first two pieces produced from the partnership include a two-minute video titled, “I Believe in Play” and a synthesis of play-related research titled, “Play Matters: Giving Kids the Childhood They Deserve,” both available at kaboom.org/act. They were unveiled at the 2013 Playful City USA Leaders’ Summit, held September 23-24 in Baltimore, Md. Over the next weeks and months, these products and those still to be produced, will be shared with parents, educators, play advocates and other stakeholders through a multi-channel communications and marketing campaign.