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Play Africa

Children’s museum catalysing innovations in creative learning, children’s rights, parent engagement and social cohesion.

Disrupting the idea of a “museum,” Play Africa developed a flexible museum model to bring transformative learning experiences promoting creativity, innovation and connection to a divided society. Through replicable programmes and exhibits, Play Africa empowers children, parents and teachers with learning approaches that bring global thinking to classrooms and communities.

HundrED 2024


Web presence






Target group
June 2022
I really want to thank Play Africa for the investment they've made. I’m glad Play Africa came on board and said, 'We want to be part of this, we want to make a difference!'

About the innovation

Re-imagining cultural institutions for our youngest citizens through play

What we do?

Play Africa is a pioneering, de-centralised children’s museum that creates inclusive spaces for high-quality play and playful learning. In seven years of successful operations, we’ve become a platform to champion children’s rights, bring families together, and foster social inclusion through inspiring play exhibits and facilitated programmes.

In Johannesburg, we are based inside a former prison at the iconic Constitution Hill, just 15 metres from Nelson Mandela’s cell.We transform this apartheid-era prison from a site of humiliation, oppression and fear, into a joyful family playscape of discovery and learning. However, not every child can come to us, so we create pop-up experiences in the city itself -- in school halls, parks, community centres and inner city rooftops.

We developed a scalable, replicable model to create Play Africa experiences in a range of urban contexts. The majority of our visitors include children who are from low-income homes, underserved communities, are physically or mentally disabled, neglected, orphaned, homeless, refugees or asylum seekers, physically and/or mentally abused or traumatised. We offer special access hours twice a month to make special provision, and remove additional barriers, for children with disabilities and special needs.

With a demonstrated track record of social impact, combined with world-class back-end controls and a realiable strategy for sustainable growth, we are poised to scale in several locations across sub-Saharan Africa and are looking for the right strategic partners.

Why we do it?

Everyone deserves access to safe environments where they can play, create, discover and connect with one another, so we make 21st-century, high-quality playful learning available to everyone – from all walks of life and abilities. Everyone who visits Play Africa can try new play experiences in science,technology, engineering, arts and math, that are locally-relevant and rooted ineducational pedagogies. Over the last five years, we have created inclusive, scalable, appropriate solutions in a society that is highly polarised, deeply unequal and characterised by exclusion.

Five days a week, we offer free, safe and inclusive public play and educational spaces open to the 1 million children age 12 and under in greater Johannesburg, and increasingly attract visitors from neighbouring provinces. Besides making provision for play on site at Constitution Hill, we conduct right to play outreach and advocacy programmes in underserved communities that directly serve tens of thousands of children nationwide.

Impact & scalability

HundrED Academy Reviews

Play Africa has tested and prototyped solutions to find a model that can be replicated while retaining high-quality social impact. It offers inclusive, equitable learning spaces, hands-on exhibits, programs, parent engagement, and teacher training.

Play Africa's flexible museum model is replicable, enabling the expansion of transformative learning experiences to reach a wider audience, fostering creativity and innovation in classrooms and communities.

- Academy member
Academy review results
Read more about our selection process


Hands-on science education in South Africa - "I am a Scientist" - #playafrica #stem #stemeducation
Play Africa: My Constitution strengthens children's rights, girls' rights & democracy through play
Designing & Building - STEM Seeds: STEM in the ECD Classroom - Play Africa + Kohl Children's Museum
Using Repurposed Materials - STEM in the ECD Classroom - Play Africa + Kohl Children's Museum
The Value of Play - STEM Seeds: STEM in the ECD Classroom - Play Africa + Kohl Children's Museum
STEM Seeds: Play Africa launches new resource for ECD educators to promote STEM skills and climate change awareness through play
3M and education non-profit Play Africa bridge STEM access with Science at Home
Pupils in fossil-rich East Cape village shown potential of palaeontology
"I am a Scientist!" Exciting science education & STEM learning for children in Africa - Play Africa
Inspiring the African Scientists of Tomorrow: Play Africa + Goethe-Institut + Science Film Festival
How does Play Africa inspire the African scientists of tomorrow? STEM at Science Film Festival 2020
Supporting parent and child mental health amid Covid-19 VIDEO
COVID-19 Helps Expand African Storytelling Stage
How to Inspire Children's Creativity, Problem Solving and Joy: Play Africa Children's Museum Video
Testimonial: Play Africa Children's Museum Sensory Play Exhibit for Children with Autism - RMB
How does Play Africa promote creativity and innovation in South Africa's schools? VIDEO
How to Stop Bullying & Xenophobia: Play Africa Children's Museum Fosters Inclusion of Refugees Video
Play Africa Connects (COVID-19 Response) - Supporting Your Child's Emotional Well-Being
Play Africa Connects (COVID-19 Response) - Parenting Children with Disabilities During Lockdown
Launch of Play Africa's Courtroom for Children's Rights in South Africa
Partnering with Parents How to Inspire Children's Creativity, Problem Solving and Joy
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