IKEA Soft Toy Campaign Benefiting UNICEF And Save The Children

 IKEA Orlando IKEA Soft Toy Campaign

Earlier this year IKEA announced the return of its annual ‘Soft Toys for Education’ campaign, which will run from November 10, 2013 to January 4, 2014. During this period, the IKEA Foundation will donate one euro (approximately $1.34)* to UNICEF and Save the Children to give children in developing countries access to a quality education. Launched in 2003, the campaign has impacted 10 million children in 46 countries and donations have totalled $74 million for 90 projects.

IKEA Orlando IKEA Soft Toy Campaign

Since 2003, the ‘Soft Toys for Education’ Program has Impacted Ten Million Children and Raised $74 Million!

The donations from the IKEA Soft Toys for Education Campaign will help train teachers in child-friendly teaching methods, improve child protection systems, supply educational materials like pencils, books, bags, rebuild schools and provide better water and toilet facilities; and increase school attendance rates. More than 10 million children will be educated in eliminating discrimination and stigma.

IKEA Orlando IKEA Soft Toy Campaign

Education is the most powerful and effective way to help children escape poverty. The change it can bring to a young life is immense. Education has a direct impact on well-being, from better health to increased opportunities. It gives children knowledge, skills and confidence they need to shape a better future for themselves. When a child begins and stays in school, he or she not only changes the course of their own life, but that of future generations. And that’s when small changes pave the way for bigger ones.

IKEA Orlando IKEA Soft Toy Campaign

Inspiration to read opens the door to education, which is why, every year, IKEA creates a children’s book based on IKEA soft toy characters as part of the annual Soft Toys for Education Campaign. In this year’s book, “The Princess and the Happiness,” young readers visit the fairy-tale forest and learn that happiness can be just around the corner.
Supporting Education—Together

IKEA Orlando IKEA Soft Toy Campaign

This year’s newcomers to the soft toys family are fairy tale heroes:
LUFSIG, the soft toy wolf
NOJSIG and GULLGOSSE, a princess and a king
KRULLIG, an elf
SÅNGTRAST, a fairy with a magic spell

Thanks to the unwavering commitment shown by IKEA co-workers and customers, the IKEA Foundation has donated more than $51 million to UNICEF’s education programs for children in Africa and Asia,” said Caryl Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “IKEA’s support has enabled UNICEF to get millions of children into the classroom, provide teacher training to improve the quality of education, and help ensure children complete school.” 

“We are looking forward to our continued holiday tradition of teaming with IKEA Soft Toys for Education. The enthusiasm of IKEA staff and customers brings desperately needed education and teacher training to children in underserved parts of the world and will impact future generations,” said Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children. “We are honored to be part of this partnership along with UNICEF, and look forward to creating lasting change for children.”

“We are incredibly proud to be part of the IKEA Soft Toy for Education campaign. The funding means we can continue our work on changing the lives of children with disabilities and children of minority groups, the most marginalized children, in Eastern Europe and South East Asia. We’re providing access to quality education for millions of children, impacting on generations to come.” Elisabeth Dahlin, Secretary General Save the Children Sweden and Chairperson Global Lead Agency for the IKEA Foundation Collaboration.

“IKEA’s soft toys bring smiles to the faces of thousands of children. But many children across the globe have few reasons to smile. They don’t have access to basic things most of us take for granted – like clean water, food or education. IKEA’s annual Soft Toys for Education campaign makes a real difference – helping thousands of new children every year get an opportunity to receive a quality education.” Per Heggenes, CEO IKEA Foundation.

IKEA Orlando IKEA Soft Toy Campaign
If you can’t tell, this guy is my favorite!!!!

Good things are Happening All Over. A small contribution can make a big difference. Here are some examples of how the IKEA Foundation donations have impacted children’s lives.Ethiopia: Education is a primary driver for Ethiopia’s development. In 2012, UNICEF’s Schools for Africa initiative helped 238,000 children – including 25,000 refugees — stay in school despite living in challenging conditions.

For an extra fun touch on your next visit to IKEA Orlando, you can play the #FindKingIKEA at @IKEAOrlando for a chance to win a $25 IKEA Gift Card!

IKEA Orlando IKEA Soft Toy Campaign

We always make sure to buy a few of these Soft Toys during the Campaign, and watch out for a huge Holiday Giveaway where you can win some of your own!

IKEA Orlando IKEA Soft Toy Campaign

Disclaimer: I bought these toys with my own money, because I wanted to make sure that I helped support a wonderful cause while spreading some Holiday Cheer!!!

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Tips For A Visit To ICE! At The Gaylord Palms

Tips for making the most of

Ice! Featuring Frosty the Snowman

at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

Gaylord Palms Ice!

During the holiday season, the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center is transformed into a Christmas Wonderland filled with perfect poinsettias, more than 2 million twinkling lights, lavish and gorgeous holiday displays, a breathtaking 54-foot-tall majestic Christmas tree, DreamWorks Animation characters Meet & Greet opportunities, spectacular live entertainment, and most of all ICE!

 httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaeJ_49DD40&feature=share&list=UUxhza5Nkv4ukqKmIFLE9dgA

ICE! featuresmore than 2 million pounds of hand-carved, vibrant ice sculptures bringing to life several scenes from Frosty the Snowman in a 9-degree retelling of this Christmas classic!You’ll want to make sure that you bundle up (you will also be provided with oversize parkas) to keep warm enough to take a few trips on the two-story ice slides!

Gaylord Palms Ice!

Preparing for a visit to Ice! at the Gaylord Palms Resort takes a lot of planning, and here are some of my favorite tips and tricks we have learned over the years!

  • Dress in Layers: I can’t stress this one enough! Make sure that you are prepared for the 9 degrees you will find inside of Ice! by protecting your fingers, nose, and toes! You will be given a nice a long parka to wear inside, make sure that you get one that is extra roomy I will explain in a moment, but it is definitely not sufficient to keep you warm for long periods of time. I over-do my layering, and I have never regretted it!
  • No Pockets: The parkas that you will be wearing do not have pockets, so I usually carry a small cross-body purse that is loose to wear under my parka to allow for easy access to my phone, Chapstick, and other things that I might need while I am inside.

Gaylord Palms Ice!

  • Phones: Your phones and cameras will get super cold, and even shutdown if you take them out a lot to take pictures. I like to stash my phone on the inside of my gloves to keep it warm and easily accessible. Also, if you are planning to wear gloves make sure that they are gloves that let you work your phone’s touch screen without taking them off. Gloves like this are a lifesaver!!!
  • Cameras: Going from regular room temperature to cold so quickly can make camera lenses fog up quickly. There is a short movie that you watch before entering Ice! that is a colder temperature than the room before, so use this as an opportunity to get your camera used to the cold. Like my phone, I try to have a warmer spot for my camera when it’s not in use.
  • Look around: Looking around may seem like a silly tip, but if you take an extra moment to take in the details you will find extra design features and maybe even a slightly hidden ice tunnel! Don’t rush! Take as long as you need in each room!

Gaylord Palms Ice!

  • Slides: If you are 2 or 62, take a moment to slide on the ice slides at least once! The slides are a ton of fun, and you are missing out if you don’t take a turn! Your roomy coat comes in handy here, because to ensure the best slide possible make sure that your jacket is completely underneath you and then lean back as you slide. One of the lovely slide monitors told me about leaning back this year, and it makes for a fast run down the slide!
  • Little Ones: You will quickly notice that all of the parkas provided by the Gaylord Palms are blue and it can be hard to distinguish since everyone has their hood up. One way that I make sure that I can quickly spot my daughter is by wrapping her in a brightly colored scarf and hat. Also, make sure that you are wearing something that they can easily recognize in the crowds that can form around the slides!

Gaylord Palms Ice!

  • Taking Pictures: You may notice when you first start taking photos that they seem dark. Don’t be tempted to use your flash, because it creates bright spots in pictures and can make the colors all wonky. My best advice, as I am not a master photographer, is to get close to what you are taking a picture of and to use a photo editing app or program afterwards.
  • HAVE FUN! Ice! is a lot of fun, so make sure that you enjoy it for as long as you can stand the 9 degrees!

Gaylord Palms Ice!

Make sure that you check out the 2013 bonus area, the Frostbite Factory featuring Artisans in Action. This live ice-carving zone allows you to get up close to watch a masterful ice carver from Harbin, China, home of the International Ice and Snow Festival, as he creates amazing sculptures before your eyes! He is part of a team of 40 talented artisans who travel from Harbin to work meticulously for more than a month to slice and shave 6,000 blocks of colored and clear ice, each weighing approximately 400 pounds, to carve this incredible experience. This area features great information about how the sculptures are created, too!

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ICE! is open daily from Nov. 23, 2013 to Jan. 5, 2014, including holidays. Ticket prices start at $16.99. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.ChristmasAtGaylordPalms.com.

The Gaylord Palms Resort is located five minutes from the gates of Walt Disney World at 6000 W. Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee, FL 34746.

Disclaimer: Through a partnership with the Gaylord Palms, I received admission to Ice! and accommodations at the Resort. All opinions are my own.

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