Take Back Childhood

Our mission

Provide a launch pad to ignite imagination and a sense of wonder in all children so they can discover themselves, their passions, and their purpose.


There was a time not so long ago when childhood offered the space and freedom for children to explore their world. To be curious. To be creative. To be bold. To be bored. To just . . . be. Today, our overscheduled and overstimulated children are using their imaginations less than ever. It’s a crisis in the making. And it’s why we’re committed to making products that inspire open-ended thinking and encourage kids to see new possibilities. It’s part of our bigger vision to Take Back Childhood. Because by giving children a true childhood, we give them a path to realizing their full potential!

What we create

We make toys and other products that offer Countless Ways To Play. We believe the best playthings are often simple concepts that inspire children to come up with their own twists. With everything we create, we hope to encourage:

  • Free Play
  • Creativity
  • Imagination
  • Learning
  • Discovery

Starting a movement

It has become increasingly clear over the years that it’s not enough to simply make engaging toys. We feel it is our obligation to change the world’s way of thinking about childhood and play. Free time, those precious moments when kids have the freedom to create something from nothing and to follow their curiosity, is in short supply in today’s world. Real learning and growth happen when kids are given the unstructured time and space to explore the outer reaches of their imaginations. To turn the tide, we’re starting a movement to fight for free time and all the countless ways to enjoy it! It’s time to Take Back Childhood.

Join us

Let's work together to let kids be kids. Here are some ideas to get started:

Plan for Play. Put free time on your calendar just like you’d pencil in soccer practice.

Let Kids Lead. Your role is to guide and facilitate, not direct or dictate.

Keep It Free. The best play, discovery, and creation truly begins with nothing but imagination.

Check our blog every month to read our co-founder Melissa's take on play, imagination, and childhood. Share your thoughts and pictures on how your family is embracing the movement, at #TakeBackChildhood.

Parents’ perspectives on play

As part of our mission to Take Back Childhood, we partnered with Gallup for a study on parents’ perspectives on childhood play. Experts agree that child-led play is essential to development, but do parents recognize and value the benefits of this kind of play? Go here to read more about what we learned and to find links to ways you can make time for play in your child’s life!

It's when we're bored and have to dig deep to find ways to fill our time that imagination is born.

Melissa, co-founder of Melissa & Doug

Without play, children will develop without imagination and creativity.

Joan Almon, Director of Alliance for Childhood

Free play is an essential part of childhood. All children should be afforded ample, unscheduled, independent, nonscreen time to be creative, to reflect, and to decompress.

American Academy of Pediatrics

Kids who are just passively stimulated by a glowing screen don't have to do the neural heavy lifting to create those images... thus stunting their own creative abilities.

Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, PhD and Childhood Addiction Specialist

5 reasons to believe in free play

Play reveals passions

It's through play that kids discover interests, passions, and talents. We want our kids to be happy and, ideally, building a career when they grow up that's true to their core selves. Figuring out who they truly are and what they love to do begins with play.

shop the benefit

Play promotes creativity & problem-solving

Given time and space and removed from distractions, kids gravitate to creativity and creative thinking. When they are able to let their minds and bodies roam, they can come up with imaginative solutions to problems.

shop the benefit

Play develops resilience & grit

Kids at play have the freedom to try out their ideas, test them, and try again. It’s a safe space for trial and error.

shop the benefit

Play builds social skills

Playful interactions - with friends and grownups alike - help kids navigate social terrain, negotiate terms, define norms, develop empathy, and so much more.

shop the benefit

Play sharpens cognitive skills

Play is important for healthy brain development as it is how children learn to master the world around them. It’s a critical tool for language acquisition and also a way kids develop new competencies that build confidence.

shop the benefit


join us
Get inspired #TakeBackChildhood