Giving TuesPLAY supports Child-Centered Play at University of Florida

Giving TuesPLAY is TODAY! When you donate to the US Play Coalition, you will be helping to fund our Action and Research Grants for playmakers and researchers whose work has the potential to improve and expand the Play Movement.

Sondra Smlearning-to-playith and her team at the University of Florida were 2016 Action Grant Recipients.ready-to-play

With their grant, the university has created child-centered play time at TWO elementary schools in their area! Both of these schools serve children who are high needs, and the program works with 18 children at this time. Play is fun for these kids with toys, puppets, and other activities, but it is also an important part in their counseling. Graduate students in the university’s counselor education program are learning about the value of play in counseling children as they work with the students at these schools.

To support great projects like this, make sure to donate to the US Play Coalition TODAY!

 


Support Play Trailblazers Like These When You Support Giving TuesPLAY!

giving-tuesplay

This Giving Tuesday, consider donating to Giving TuesPLAY! The support we receive on Giving TuesPLAY helps to fund our wonderful grant winners. These winning projects are trailblazers in the world of play, and we need your help to get them going!

One of our 2016 Action Grant winners was The Playworker Project with Megan Dickerson from The New Children’s Museum.  These incredible Playworkers pictured here are now fully trained in play!

Museum Playworkers are people you might see in Museum galleries.  They are professionals trained in “playwork”: a practice that originated on adventure playgrounds in the United Kingdom. The Museum Playworker’s role is to observe what is happening at the Museum and respond in ways that create an environment in which all can play.cardboard-chaos-1 cardboard-chaos-5 museum-playworkers-2-0

Recently, the Museum created an indoor adventure playground called “Cardboard Chaos” as a prototype for big things that will be coming out in January.

GivingTuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, November 29, the US Play Coalition will be a part of #GivingTuesday, encouraging YOU to support PLAY by donating to our Action and Research Grants for playmakers and researchers whose work has the potential to improve and expand the Play Movement. We call it Giving TuesPLAY! (Get it?!) Big or small, your gift MATTERS!!

To support projects like The Playworker Project and other awesome programs and the development of play, be sure to donate on Giving TuesPLAY – Tuesday, November 29! We can’t wait to share the future of play with you!


Play Like a Girl Founder to give PLAYtalk at 2017 Play Conference

drk-headshotKimberly S. Clay, PhD, MPH, MSW
Founder & Executive Director, Play Like A Girl!®

Inspiring play. Unlocking potential.
So girls can do extraordinary things.
Play Like A Girl® is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering women and girls to be healthy and confident through sport, physical activity, and active play.  Founder and executive director Dr. Kimberly Clay will share her passion for helping girls reach their full potential and her latest efforts to #bringbackplay – starting in backyards, neighborhood parks and schools across the South.

Dr. Kimberly Clay began her career as a social worker and public health analyst.  In 2004, she surged onto the research scene as a National Institutes of Health Cancer Prevention and Control Fellow at the Minority Health Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. During her work, Dr. Kim visited local communities and witnessed the gender gap in physical activity and health-related outcomes firsthand, which led her to start Play Like A Girl!®.  Dr. Kim has also served as Public Health Advisor for the Centers Disease Control and Prevention and was a tenure-track professor at the University of Georgia until she took a sabbatical to lead Play Like A Girl!®plg-logo

Dr. Kim has been named one of Toyota’s Everyday Heroes, Xavier University’s 40 Under 40, and one of 50 People on the Move by the Nashville Business Journal.

Learn more about the conference by clicking here.

Early bird registration is now open!


Halloween-Inspired October #WePlayChat Explores Imaginary Play

weplaychat-halloween2016Mark your calendar for our Halloween inspired #WePlayChat on Monday, October 31 @ 11:00am EST. Join Play Ambassador, Dr. Heather von Bank, chair of the Department of Family Consumer Science at Minnesota State University – Mankato, for our chat on Imaginary Play!

 

Here are some of the themes we’ll be chatting about:heather von bank

  • What are your favorite childhood memories of imaginary play? And why?
  • Why do children create imaginary friends?
  • How do “imaginary friends” help children?
  • Is imaginary play on the decline?  Why or why not?
  • What (if anything) can be done to provide opportunities for imaginary play?
  • What was your favorite Halloween costume?!

#WePlayChat is 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 opportunityis a great way to connect with fellow play enthusiasts, teachers and experts from the across the globe.

Remember that this month we will explore IMAGINARY PLAY with our guest co-moderator, Heather Von Bank.

 


September #WePlayChat Explores Cultivating Play Environments

Join us Wednesday, Septetwitterchat1mber 28 at 9:00am EST as we welcome Ryan Fahey to our #WePlayChat on cultivating play environments.  Ryan Fahey is an advocate for school health, physical literacy and play. He is one of our strong Canadian play ambassadors with a background in Health & Physical Education.

With our 2017 Conference on the Value of Play: Where Design Meets Play coming this spring, we want start the conversation and learn about your expertise and experiences in this area oRyan & Riof play!

Here are some of the themes we’ll be chatting about:

  • What are the necessary ingredients to cultivate play environments?
  • What are some barriers to cultivating play environments?
  • Is it important for communities to take leadership initiatives in cultivating play environments? Why or why not?
  • In the future, what ways will we be able to cultivate play environments?

#WePlayChat is 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 opportunityis a great way to connect with fellow play enthusiasts, teachers and experts from the across the globe.

Remember that this month we will explore CULTIVATING PLAY ENVIRONMENTS with our guest co-moderator, Ryan Fahey.

 


Back to School Edition of #WePlayChat this August on Recess

The next #WePlayChat on Twitter is Tuesday, August 23 at 2:00pm EST.  This “Back to School” Twitter chat will be 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 have 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.

 


Nickelodeon brings PLAY to Kids Choice Sports Awards

kcsaNickelodeon, who we team up with for the annual Worldwide Day of Play, showed our executive director Stephanie Garst that they bring play to everything they do!  Last month Stephanie was invited to witness the Kids Choice Sports Awards first-hand with other Nick partners.  “Nickelodeon takes play to the next level!” says Garst. “They have celebrities playing silly games against each other and everyday kids doing some epic challenges!  I loved seeing everyone playing and just plain having fun!”

Check out some of the PLAYful highlights of the night:

 


Next #WePlayChat is Inspired by the Summer Olympics – Sport and Play

The next #WePlayChat on Twitter is Tuesday, July 26 at 2:00pm EST. On the eve of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we’ll be taking a close look at the twitterchat1relationship between sport and play.

Founder of the modern Olympic Games Pierre de Coubertin famously said: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.” But if the most important thing is not winning, shouldn’t we just play?

This month’s guest co-moderator will be Mark Cooper.  Mark has spent twenty years working in and around sport and play. Born in the USA and raised in the UK, he brings unique insights into the Olympics, having served the International Olympic Committee as head of communications for the Olmark cooper - ju;y 2016 chatympic Games. As an adventure play and wild play advocate, Mark has run weekly forest school sessions for for his five year-old son’s classmates and is currently creating a loose parts environment modeled on The Land in Wrexham, where he watched in amazement as six and seven year olds taught his son how to make a grilled cheese sandwich over an open fire. Having worked on joined up national policy initiatives for sport and play, Mark is acutely aware of the tensions between the kind of formal sport championed by the Olympic Games and informal play so precious to kids’ development.

Here are some of the themes we’ll be chatting about:

  • Are formal sport and informal play incompatible?
  • Are parents being sold a reasonable balance of formal sport and informal play?
  • Are there any lessons for informal play in the way formal sports are packaged?
  • As they introduce sports like skateboarding and surfing to the program, can the Olympics become more playful?

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 the RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SPORT AND PLAY with our guest co-moderator, Mark Cooper.


Next #WePlayChat is MORE than Play…it could be a $50 gift card to your favorite toy store!

twitterchat1The next #WePlayChat on Twitter will be on Wednesday, May 18 at 2:00pm EST.  Our partner Genius of Play will be our first guest moderator for the chat on “It’s MORE than Play!”  Plus one lucky #WePlayChat participant will win a $50 gift card to his or her favorite toy store!

According to Genius of Play’s Anna Yudina, they are “very excited to be the first ever #WePlayChat guest moderator! Our TIA_GOP_blue-orgmission is to raise awareness about the vital role of play in child development. Play is so much more than fun and games – it is essential for children to reach healthy physical, cognitive, social, and emotional developmental milestones. The partnership between the Genius of Play and the US Play Coalition is seamless because of the shared vision to promote the value of play. We look forward to having the conversation with parents, educators and play advocates about the benefits of play and how to encourage more of it.”

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

1.      What challenges do parents face today in letting their kids go play?
2.      What types of play activities help kids process emotion? (Hint: click here)
3.      In your opinion, what’s the biggest benefit of play?
4.      How do you encourage mixed age play?
5.      The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends kids spend how much time playing each day? (Hint: click here)

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 following tags for our May chat #GeniusofPlay #ItsMoreThanPlay #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 “It’s MORE than Play” with our partner Genius of Play!


2016 Grant Winners Announced

Grant funding is a distinctive feature of our annual Play Conference, and we are proud to have awarded $41,000 in funding to date.   At The Play Conference 2016: Rebooting Play the new grant winners were announced.  The review process was challenging as we had a record number of outstanding submissions this year.

Each year a $3,000 research seed grant is awarded to researchers who present empirical research at The Play Conference to support new, innovative and thoughtful work on the valreserach grant winners 2016ue of play.  This is seed funding 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.  This year, much of the funding for the research seed grant came from our first ever Giving TuesPLAY initiative.

The 2016 Research Seed Grant was awarded to Debbie Rhea and Alexander Rivchun from Texas Christian University for their project, “The effects of play and character development on classroom behaviors and attentional fatigue in public school grades K & 1.”

In addition to the research grant, $1000 action grants are awarded to support creative and innovative proposals to engage groups in play or to educate about the value of play. This year we had two partners supporting our action grants, Genius of Play and IPA-USA.  We also had funding from our Giving TuesPLAY initiative.

There were three projects that each received a 2016 Action Grant:
– The Playworker Project, Megan Dickerson from The New Children’s Museum
Seniz Yargici Lennes, IPA-USA Outgoing President Dorothy Sluss, 2016 Action Grant Winner Megan Dickerson, Genius of Play's Anna Yudina, and Fran Mainella– Using an Outdoor Classroom to Extend Learning through Play, Kristine Jenkins from First Steps South Carolinakristine-jenkins_124x140
– Playing for a Change in Elementary Schools, Sondra Smith-Adcock from University of FloridaSeniz Yargici Lennes, IPA-USA Outgoing President Dorothy Sluss, 2016 Action Grant Winner Sondra Smith-Adcock, Genius of Play's Anna Yudina, and Fran Mainella