by Rachele Harmuth | 13 Apr 2023

Industry Commentary, Op-Ed


Post 3 in a 6 Part Series about MESH


Thinkfun turns their focus to the global youth mental health crisis and how play can make all the difference in protecting and strengthening children and teens.  The company’s new initiative brings together stakeholders from all over the toys and games industry with the challenge: how do we build MESH (Mental, Emotional and Social Health) skills through play?


In this bi- weekly column for The Bloom Report, we will look into the different areas of this initiative in depth. This week we share an overview of the initiative. 


Mental, emotional and social health requires the ability to navigate change. Change comes at kids in predictable and unpredictable ways that can cause “problems” - moments or challenges they need to find their way through in order to be healthy and grow. Problem solving is a core skill that strengthens a child’s mental health in the near and long term. 


Problem-solving requires practice. Most adults find it safer and faster to help kids by showing them solutions or jumping in to fix a problem themselves (and it is faster.) However, watching someone practice a skill does not build confidence or competence, therefore it is essential that kids experience solving problems for themselves. 


Using play to build to improve kids’ problem-solving ability and also their confidence in themselves as problem-solvers will make them safer and stronger as they grow. Toys and games that help players build this skill:


  • Offer challenges
  • Give opportunities to think about different solutions
  • Allow those attempts to impact the course of play


Toys and games that are built with problems for kids to solve, with no guarantee of success, are essential learning tools. In well-designed toys and games, the fun that kids experience along the way will encourage them to try and try again, giving them real world abilities they will use for the rest of their lives!


Toys and Games that make problem solving fun are some of the most impactful products in the development of MESH skills for kids.T” Rachele Harmuth, Head of ThinkFun.


For more information on the MESH initiative, please visit

mesh mental health problem solving toys games play youth mental health emotional health social health

Tait & Lily, Inventors of Betcha Can't!