Lego is celebrating 90 years of its iconic plastic bricks and the "power of play" with a global array of events and activations celebrating World Play Day, including celebrity tie-ups, a revamped Leicester Square store hosting events for kids and families, brand tie-ups and the unveiling of a gigantic plastic birthday cake.
The Danish company said it was "dedicating its anniversary celebrations to helping more families find a moment of play in the day, after new research found that families feel they don't play enough".
Lego's own research found that the majority of parents believe play helps their children develop lifelong skills such as creativity (93%), communication (92%), problem-solving abilities (92%) and confidence (91%). However, the majority of children (82%) wish they could play more and a third (34%) of parents feel their families do not play together enough.
Today (10 August) sees the reopening of Lego's London Leicester Square store (pictured below), with a "play-packed opening at what is now the biggest Lego store in the world".
Fans queued for hours before today's official opening, with Lego character Lester (pictured below) arriving by London bus.
The new-look store features "Stories of Britain" builds, letting visitors get their photo taken alongside William Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes, in the driver's seat of a model of James Bond's Aston Martin DB5, or standing by Lego reconstructions of Buckingham Palace and Big Ben.
A selection of experiences has also been created: an Interactive Storytelling Zone where guests can explore 90 years of play via a walkthrough experience; a Personalisation Studio where visitors can imagine themselves in Lego form; and a store centrepiece, the Tree of Discovery, an interactive build showcasing Lego's commitment to society and the planet.
Natali Stojovic, Lego Group's senior vice-president, Lego Retail, said: "Thank you to all the fans who visited the store opening. We were so excited to welcome you and overwhelmed by your amazing support and passion for the brand. We can't wait to see even more people during our opening celebrations over the coming days."
Last night saw an official preview event attended by celebs including athlete Greg Rutherford, performer Kimberly Walsh and model Ellie Goldstein.
Lego Group also recruited world famous photographer Rankin to help celebrate the 90th anniversary. He shot a smorgasbord of Lego fans from the ages of one through to 90, including some well-known names such as former England footballer Peter Crouch.
The “1-90” portraits are being displayed in outdoor media across UK cities and Lego.com over the coming fortnight
Meanwhile, other London Lego stores (including in Westfield shopping centre and Stratford) will pay host to a brand tie up between Lego and Adidas, with a takeover that will also take place in shops in New York and Berlin.
Other stores in cities around the world have been transformed into "playgrounds with fun, anniversary-themed building activities, giveaways and display areas for creations to be showcased".
Lego has teamed up with creative people from across the global and spanning the arts, sports, foods and art. Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys, football legend Thierry Henry, gamer Loserfruit, chef Yotam Ottolenghi and DJ Peggy Gou are all on board to "remind people how simple and fun play can be with exciting play challenges".
Elsewhere, guests at Legoland theme parks are being invited to "Play your way" and experience five types of play activities and collect badges when they explore the attraction.
A raft of activities that kids can engage in are being made available online for 24 hours, including building challenges and a "What brick are you?" quiz, available via Lego.com, its social channels and via Lego Life magazine. Consumers can keep up to date with activity by following the hashtag #Lego90year, or by visiting LEGO.com/90-Years-Of-Play.
Across the Atlantic, Lego is opening a new play installation in West Harlem, created with the input of local children and youth organisation The Brotherhood Sister Sol and brought to life by artist Hebru Brantley.
Topping it all, Lego House (which houses the newly-built Lego Campus pictured below) in Billund in Denmark will unveil a 94,128-piece birthday cake.
Lego was founded by Ole Kirk Kristiansen, a Danish carpenter who made his first wooden car in 1932 designed to teach children about the world. He named his company name from the phrase "Leg Godt", which means "play well" in Danish.
Today, Lego Group is chaired by Kristiansen's great-grandson, Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, who recounts of his forebear: "He only had a small workshop, but he had big ambitions to ensure as many children as possible could experience the benefits that play brings.
"Whether 1932, 2022 or on our 100th Anniversary in 2032, we have and will always strive to continue Ole's legacy by helping all families, wherever they are in the world, to play well."