Lego has re-imagined a popular product to make it more representative of the world today. Since being launched a decade ago, Lego Friends characters have been redesigned to include neurodivergence, mental health conditions, gender, culture, ethnicity, physical traits, and abilities. The backstories of the characters have also been adjusted to portray more real-world emotions of children in modern society.
The Lego group conducted new research to support the launch of Lego Friends and wants to highlight the importance of friendships and the well-being of children at an early childhood age. The research found that two in three children would like to see more toys and characters portray emotions which reflect real-life scenarios.
Head of product, Tracie Chiarella said that the updated Lego Friends Universe is more than just playing with toys.
“Providing children with the opportunity to learn and see relative emotions in their toys and characters will give children the confidence to navigate making and maintaining friendships as well as complex emotions.”
Over 18,000 children aged six to twelve were surveyed as part of Lego’s research. The study found that children rely on friendships to deal with complex emotions, and eight in ten said they would turn to their friends when they have problems.
The study discovered that children value ‘having fun’ and ‘being happy’ as the main elements of their friendships and that 60 percent want someone to laugh with. The majority of all surveyed (94 per cent) said that friends make them feel happy.
In this research, the Lego Group highlighted that the importance friendships have on children is a big factor in understanding diversity.
Parenting expert and psychologist Dr. Justin Coulson said that the research gave an interesting inside into children’s interpretation of modern society.
“We can see that diverse and representative friendships in the toys kids play with and content they consume are becoming increasingly important for young kids.”
The new Lego Friends Universe has showcased a fully inclusive world of friendship and has aimed to provide children with the opportunity to express themselves more freely.