PlayMatters at Home- Emergency Materials

PlayMatters | In 2019, the LEGO Foundation made a bold investment and awarded a $100 million grant to bring LtP 800,000 pre-primary and primary school aged children impacted by humanitarian crises and living in Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania under the “PlayMatters: Sparking Lifelong Learning” project. PlayMatters is led by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), including Plan Børnefonden (Plan), Stichting War Child (War Child), Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), and the Behavioral Insights Team (BIT). This historic initiative is reimagining and reshaping the approach to learning in communities where refugees have been displaced from their homes and from headlines for as long as 30 years. With this major investment in the education of refugee and host community children, the LEGO Foundation is raising the bar in humanitarian funding and pushing governments and other international organizations to make bigger investments.

PlayMatters at Home, COVID-19 Emergency Response | As PlayMatters’ interventions were still in nascent stages of development when the COVID-19 pandemic forced school closures around the world, including in East Africa, the consortium quickly pivoted to develop a family-friendly home learning program to help caregivers engage their children in educational play. Knowing that ministries of education and other service providers were focusing on delivering the academic curriculum, PlayMatters chose to focus on supporting child and caregiver well-being. We prioritized promoting well-being by mitigating stress and learning loss, through play-based methodologies to make reading, math, and SEL activities fun for the whole family. 

At the center of our intervention is a series of paper-based home learning guides: PlayMatters at Home. There are two caregiver and child-facing guides in the series, one for ECD and one for Primary. The guides provide a recommended daily routine, tips for well-being, suggestions for caregivers on story-telling, and how to use every day interactions, such as household chores or casual conversation, as learning opportunities. In addition to the two guides for caregivers and children, we have also developed a guide for educators. This provides tips for educators to check in on families’ wellbeing and use of the packets and suggestions for educators themselves to support their wellbeing. We have also produced PlayMatters at Home Radio Programs which incorporate 1-2 of the activities from the packets and provide health and hygiene messages, as well as entertainment for families at home.

Right of Use | These materials were developed by the PlayMatters Consortium led by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), including Plan Børnefonden (Plan), Stichting War Child (War Child), Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), and the Behavioral Insights Team (BIT), in partnership with the LEGO Foundation. These materials are made available for your non-commercial educational use under these CC licenses: CC BY-NC-ND.

Versions of these materials are also available in additional languages. If you would like to access these translated versions or would like to request permission to translate the materials into another language, please contact Lauren Schmidt, Regional Project Coordinator at

Resource Info


Published by

International Rescue Committee (IRC)


Social and Emotional Learning
Adolescents and Youth