Action & Research Grants

Grant funding is a distinctive feature of our annual Play Conference, and we are proud to have awarded $41,000 in funding to date.  Through competitive funding opportunities, we offer both Action and Research Grants to playmakers and researchers whose work has the potential to improve and expand the Play Movement.

Those interested in applying for one of our 2017 grants will first need to submit a presentation proposal for the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play: Where Design Meets Play, April 2-5 in Clemson, SC.   Those whose presentations are accepted are eligible to apply for research and action grants.

Research Grants support new & emerging PLAY research

Research Grants are $3,000 grants awarded for empirical research that supports new, innovative and thoughtful work on the value of play. These awards are seed funds in support of longitudinal or future research in diverse topics related to play, and grant recipients’ work reflects great potential for expanding knowledge in the field.

Previous Research Seed Grant Recipients:
reserach grant winners 2016

2016 – “The effects of play and character development on classroom behaviors and attentional fatigue in public school grades K & 1” – Debbie Rhea and Alexander Rivchun from Texas Christian University


2015 – “Creating Community Awareness through Prescribing Outdoor Play for Children” – Richard Christiana, Joy James, Rebecca Battista (Appalachian State University)

2014 – “Effects of Technological Toys on Children’s Imaginative Play” – Lynn Barnett

2013 – “Developing a Community Play Index” – Jeanette Gustat

2012 – “Creating the Encyclopedia of Play Science” – Megan Tulac

2012 – “Youth Physical Activity within Park Activity Areas: Differences by Gender Race/Ethnicity” – Andrew Kaczynski

2012 –   “Wouldn’t It Be Nice if Everybody Were on the Same Page? The Conflict over Play in Pre-School” – Reva Fish and Laura Klenk

2011 – “Recess: What We Know and What We Need to Learn” – Olga Jarrett

2011 – “Measuring Possible Concerns about Bringing Children to Nature” – Matthew Browning

2011 – “Deconstructing the Sport Experience: Understanding Variations in Context” – Matthew Bowers

Action Grants help communities PLAY

Action grants are $1,000 grants to facilitate play in communities. These grants support creative and innovative proposals to engage groups in play or to educate about the value of play. All activities should be completed within a calendar year from the time of award.

Previous Action Grant Recipients:

Seniz Yargici Lennes, IPA-USA Outgoing President Dorothy Sluss, 2016 Action Grant Winner Megan Dickerson, Genius of Play's Anna Yudina, and Fran Mainella2016 – “The Playworker Project” – Megan Dickerson from The New Children’s Museumkristine-jenkins_124x140

2016 – “Using an Outdoor Classroom to Extend Learning through
Play” – Kristine Jenkins
from First Steps South Carolina

2016 – “PlayiSeniz Yargici Lennes, IPA-USA Outgoing President Dorothy Sluss, 2016 Action Grant Winner Sondra Smith-Adcock, Genius of Play's Anna Yudina, and Fran Mainellang for a Change in Elementary Schools” – Sondra Smith-Adcock from University of Florida

2015 – “Play at the Core: the Importance of Play-Based Practices in Early Education, a Mixed-Methods Approach” – Emily Rea, Jared Carroll, Jacob Gomez and Sanam Jain

2015 – “Providing Appropriate Play Experiences for Children with Autism” – Rebecca Woodard and Zach Burt

2014 – “The Anarchy Zone and Other Stories from the Adventure Play Renaissance” – Rusty Keeler (on behalf of Ithaca Children’s Garden)

2014 – “Playground Ideas: Designing and Building Playspaces for a Changing Global Landscape” – Elizabeth Moreno

2014 – “Createcompanions” – Roberta Gardner

2013 – “All My Other Classes are Boring Lectures: Play Days as Service-Learning Opportunities” Heather Von Bank

2013 – “All My Other Classes are Boring Lectures: Play Days as Service-Learning Opportunities” – Joyce Hemphill

2013 – “Buffalo’s Pop-Up Adventure Playground – Community Based Free Play” – Joy Kuebler

2013 – “Play for All: Advocating Play to Vulnerable Populations” – Naomi Roberson and Kate Zmich