Now Accepting Nominations for 2018 Outstanding Researcher and Youth Practitioner Awards

The U.S. Play Coalition is now accepting nominations for its 2018 awards program, recognizing outstanding play research and youth practitioners.  First awarded at the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play, this new awards program honors exceptional individuals each year.  The winners not only receive a physical award, but also have conference fees paid, hotel accommodations and up to $500 in travel to attend the 2018 Conference on the Value of Play: The Many Faces of Play.  Deadline for nominations is 11:59pm EST on December 15.

Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research

The Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research honors its namesake, the contemporary father of play advocacy.  The award recognizes someone for a body of exceptional research that has enhanced and expanded the study of play.

“Joe Frost has been an influencer for our organization’s work as well as for the world of play,” said Stephanie Garst, executive director of the U.S. Play Coalition. “This award is a fitting tribute.”

Frost is the Parker Centennial Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin. He is known across the world for his more than 30 years of work on early childhood and children’s play environments. Past president of both the Association for Childhood Education International and International Play Association/USA, he is the author or co-author of 18 books and numerous publications and has also served as a consultant for playgrounds worldwide.

Frost was influential in the creation of the U.S. Play Coalition, serving as a steering committee member since the coalition’s beginning in 2009. He served as a keynote speaker that year at the coalition’s first conference – then called the Summit on the Value of Play –and has been an honorary chair for each successive conference.

 

YLI Youth Development Practitioner Award

The U.S. Play Coalition teamed with Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute for the Youth Development Practitioner Award. The award recognizes outstanding performance in the creation and implementation of youth development programs or services. (The nominee does NOT have to be affiliated with Clemson University.)

“There are many deserving practitioners across the nation, and our goal with this award is to bring recognition to this field of service,” said Stephen Lance, executive director of the Youth Learning Institute.


#Thankful4Play Photo Challenge for November

This November, we want YOU to help us show the world how you are #Thankful4Play with our first ever photo challenge.  As we lead up to the American Thanksgiving holiday, please post pictures on all your favorite social media platforms with the hashtag #Thankful4Play and tag @usplaycoalition too!
Top #Thankful4Play posts will be featured in our first ever #Thankful4Play Thanksgiving gallery – and the most popular photos will receive PLAY prizes!

Note: Photos will be shared on our social media and possibly in future publications.


#WePlayChat: How Communities Can Promote Play

Join us Tuesday, August 29 at 12:00pm EST as we welcome co-moderator Carly Demanett of the Eugene Civic Alliance to our #WePlayChat on “How Communities Can Promote Play.”

Carly Demanett is the Media and Communications Manager for Eugene Civic Alliance (ECA) in Eugene, OR. ECA was established to build and operate a community sports and entertainment venue to benefit the children of Eugene. 

It’s about kids and how we as a community provide for their basic physical fitness. It’s about how healthy activities affect our community and economy. It’s about the resilience of a community, despite setbacks, to play on.”

Here are the chat questions that will guide our dialogue:

Q1. What are your local communities doing to support play?
Q2. What are the secret ingredients to supporting sustainable play initiatives?
Q3: What is the best way to effectively communicate the importance of play within a community?
Q4: How can partnering with other orgs/businesses/schools/etc. help promote play?

#WePlayChat is our monthly Twitter chat for anyone seeking to gain knowledge around the wide open field of play. Launched in 2016, our #WePlayChat participants come from 7 countries, spanning 4 continents – all tuning in to connect around PLAY. We love sharing the voice of play on Twitter through our #WePlayChat.  We have our chats at different times on different days to get the most involvement across our membership.  You will not want to miss them! Tune in and to join in the conversation around the value of play. This FREE professional learning opportunity is a great way to connect with fellow play enthusiasts, teachers and experts from across the globe.


2018 Play Conference Logo Design Competition Announced

Are you creative?!  Handy with graphic design programs?! Wanna win a $100 Amazon.com e-gift card?!  Submit a design for our first ever conference logo by July 9.

The winning logo will be used to establish the conference’s visual identity and highlight the theme for the 2018 Conference on the Value of Play: The Many Faces of Play.


FREE CEUs, AIA Learning Units, and LA CES credits Available to Registered Attendees at The Play Conference

US-PLay-Round-TablesWant a PLAYful way to earn CEUs?!  Come to the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play: Where Design Meets Play, April 2-5 at Clemson University.

Clemson University awards CEUs for your participation in sessions at the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play. All keynotes, featured and educational sessions are 45 minutes in length.  Participants can be awarded .05 CEUs for each of these sessions attended. There is no additional fee for CEUs at this conference.

NEW THIS YEAR!  Several of our sessions qualify for AIA and LA CES credits.  There are 4 hours eligible for AIA learning units and 16 sessions pending LA CES approval (though we have been assured it is just a matter of time).  These credits will also be available at no additional charge to our participants.
Special registration options are available for schools, non-profits, and government agencies looking to send 4 or more delegates.  Contact Stephanie Garst for more information.

Register today for The Play Conference!


US Play Coalition to honor Joe Frost with Inaugural Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research

Dr. Joe L. Frost, Ed.D, L.H.D., is one of America’s leading experts on play and playgrounds and has a global reputation as the contemporary father of play advocacy.  He is the Parker Centennial Professor Emeritus at The University of Texas at Austin with a passion for children’s play and play spaces.  Joe has been an influential member of the US Play Coalition’s steering committee since its humble beginnings.  He has served as moderator at the 2009 Summit on the Value of Play and then as honorary conference chair for each successive play conference.  Joe Frost has been an influencer for our organization’s work as well as for the world of play.  Along with his wife Betty, Joe attends US Play Coalition events whenever he can!

At the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play: Where Design Meets Play, the US Play Coalition will present the inaugural Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research.  This is to be awarded annually in recognition of a body of exceptional research that has enhanced and expanded the study of play.  It only makes sense that Joe will be the first recipient!

Each year the recipient of the Joe Frost Award will receive not only a physical award, but also conference fees paid, hotel accommodations and up to $500 in travel to attend the Play Conference. To all of Joe’s friends, family, colleagues, students and admirers, we hope you will consider supporting the new award with a tribute donation to the Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research with a tax-deductible contribution today!


KaBoom! CEO to give PLAYtalk at 2017 Conference on the Value of Play

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Our next PLAYtalk presenter is determined to bring play everywhere, especially to low-resource communities in the United States.  James Siegal is CEO of KaBOOM!, the national non-profit that seeks to give all kids the childhood they deserve, filled with play.  KaBOOM! is dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the daily lives of all kids, particularly those growing up in poverty in America.

James Siegal says that, in addition to building play spaces in low-income neighborhoods, KaBOOM! urges local leaders to take steps to create equitable, kid-friendly cities.  “The conversations about improving cities all too often ignore the needs of kids and families,” he says.

Most recently, KaBOOM! hosted The Play Everywhere Challenge, a $1 million competkaboom-logo-tagline-1200x630ition to help kids access innovative play spaces.

For his PLAYtalk, James will discuss “Transforming Every Day Spaces into PLAYces”.

PLAYtalks are our Play Conference version of TED Talks. They will be a series of 15-20 minute dynamic, entertaining, enlightening, engaging, inspiring, informative talks by thought leaders in the play world.

Learn more about the conference by clicking here.

Early bird registration is now open!


Innovative Play Space Designer Matthew Urbanski to Keynote The 2017 Conference on the Value of Play

Innovative Play Space Designer Matthew Urbanski will be a keynote spMatthew Urbanski September 20, 2010 Pier 6- BBP © Julienne Schaereaker for the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play: Where Design Meets Play, April 2-5 at Clemson University.

Matthew is a landscape architect and Principal of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates in New York, NY. He lectures regularly on design of play spaces in the landscape and how spatial complexity, particularly when combined with plants and other natural materials, supports an integration of active and imaginative play. Examples from Matthew’s work in playground design include Maggie Daley Park in Chicago, a riverfront park in Tulsa, Hoboken’s Pier C Park, the Union Square Park Playground and Teardrop Park in Manhattan, and Pier 6 of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

US Play Coalition Steering Committee Member Teri Hendy introduced us to Urbanski.  “Matt and his amazing team of designers at MVVA are responsible for creating some of the most forward thinking play environments in the US today.  Matt sculpts the earth creating three-dimensional spaces that contain a wide range of types of settings that truly engage people of all ages beckoning them to join in the play.”  Hendy, who is president of Site Masters Inc., has worked with Urbanski on several projects in Germany.  She continued, “Architects and designers across the globe are gaining design inspiration from Matt’s play environments.  I think we are truly blessed to have the opportunity to hear him speak.”

Matthew’s keynote remarks will examine lessons learned from designing play spaces.  His presentation is called, “Designing for Fun: Making Play Spaces that City Kids (and Parents) Love”

 

US Play Coalition partners with Nickelodeon on the Road to the Worldwide Day of Play

2016 marks the 13th year of Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play (WWDoP).  On WWDoP, Nickelodeon goes completely dark for three hours, taking pon the road day of play logoirogramming off the air on all of its channels and shutting down its websites to reinforce one simple message: get up, get out, and go play!  Once again, the US Play Coalition is a partner with Nickelodeon for this important and FUN-omenal endeavor!

This week, the US Play Coalition has a series of events – educational events and PLAY events – as part of the 3rd annual “Road to Worldwide Day of Play.”  These are events leading up to the big day on September 17:

Tuesday, August 23 at 2:00pm EST, on Twitter

#WePlayChat – “Back to School” Twitter chat on “The Importance of Recess” with co-moderator Debbie Rhea of the LIINK Project

twitterchat1Dr. Rhea and the “Let’s Inspire Innovation ‘N Kids” (LIINK) team has been making headlines with their incredible work to get more and more frequent recess in the daily school schedule.  Their successes in Texas elementary schools have gone viral!  Recent news from across the country shows a growing trend in recognizing the value of recess:
DJR 2016-crop

Join us for this FREE professional learning opportunity and connect with fellow play enthusiasts, teachers and experts from the across the globe from the comfort of your own environs.

 

Thursday, August 25, 10:00am-11:00am EST, Washington, D.C. – fran-barryExpert Panel: The Value of Play

US Play Coalition co-founder Fran Mainella will be a panelist on this discussion moderated by Clemson University faculty member Dr. Barry Garst (who is also a Play Conference presenter and volunteer!).  This panel, that includes other distinguished experts, is part of a special one day workshop on Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. To register to participate, click here.

 

Thursday, August 25 – 100th Birthday of the National Park Service!

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This Thursday, August 25th, the National Park Service celebrates its 100th birthday and you’re invited! On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Park Service Organic Act into law, creating the National Park Service.  Did you know that our co-founder, Fran Mainella, was the FIRST woman to be the director of the National Parks Service??!!  She wants to make sure that you know there are 412 national park units and ALL NATIONAL PARKS ARE FEE FREE from August 25th through August 28th!  So GO PLAY in your favorite National Park! #FindYourPark

 

Saturday, August 27, 12:00-3:00pm EST, Nettles Park, Clemson, SC – Clemson Community Play Day

We are teaming up locally with the City of Clemson to have a Clemson Community Play Day as part of Nickelodeon’s Road to the Worldwide Day of Play.  Our friends at the Outdoor Lab and OLLI at Clemson University are also coming out to PLAY!  Join us for kids zumba, inflatables, YUMMY treats, games, crafts, Pickleball, photos with the Clemson Tiger and much more!!! It’s FREE fun for all ages! GET UP, GET OUT & GO PLAY!

 

Sunday, August 28, 2:15-3:45pm EST, Fluor Field, Greenville, SC – Play Day at Fluor Field 2016

The US Play Coalition is partnering with The Greenville Drive for another PLAY DAY AT FLUOR FIELD!  Pre-game festivities include field access to play games like blob tag, whiffle ball and relay races on the award winning Fluor Field outfield grass. Plus crafts, PLAY tattoos and a photobooth will be on the concourse near the team store! Following the on-field fun, participants will cheer on the Drive as they take on the Asheville Tourists at 4 pm. Be sure to stick around until the final out as kids will run the bases after the game!

Discounted Tickets in the Play Coalition section are just $8. Click HERE to order online or call the Drive Box Office at 864-240-4528.


Next #WePlayChat is All About ADVENTURE!

The next #WePlayChat on Twitter will explore Adventure Play on Wednesday, June 15 at 4:00pm EST.twitterchat1

 

This month’s guest moderator will be Reilly Bergin Wilson, a co-founder and board member of play:groundNYC, a new adventure playground in New York City. play:groundNYC is the first true adventure playground in New York City in over 40 years. Staffed by playworkers, play:ground allows for play with loose parts, hand tools, earth, and reclaimed materials. In the tightly managed urban landscape, having a dedicated space for free play like play:ground helps young people develop confidence, decision-making power, and a sense of ownership of their environment.

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Reilly Bergin Wilson of play:groundNYC

 

Here’s a glimpse at what we will be chatting about:

  • What are the defining principles of adventure play and does it differ from other kinds of play?
  • How do we increase public awareness of the principles of adventure play?
  • How can we get local parks departments to invest in playworkers rather than play equipment?
  • How can we integrate and apply the principles of adventure play to settings outside of “adventure playgrounds” (e.g. schools/home schooling, museums, child-friendly city policies)

This next chat is part of our new monthly Twitter Chat series.  #WePlayChat-ers to date include teachers, playground organizations, play advocates and other play enthusiasts from coast to coast as well as from Canada, Australia, Denmark and the UK – all tuning in to connect around PLAY.

A Twitter chat is a public Twitter conversation around one unique hashtag (#). This hashtag allows you to follow the discussion and participate in it. Twitter chats are usually recurring and on specific topics to regularly connect people with similar interests.  To be a part of our chat, be sure to search for #WePlayChat and follow the live stream of tweets.  Then respond by including the tag #WePlayChat

We love sharing the voice of play on Twitter through these #WePlayChats.  We are trying them at different times on different days to get the most involvement across our membership.  You will not want to miss them! Tune in and to join in the conversation around the value of play. This FREE professional learning opportunity is a great way to connect with fellow play enthusiasts, teachers and experts from the across the globe from the comfort of your own environs.

Remember that this month we will explore ADVENTURE PLAY with our guest moderator, Reilly Bergin Wilson.