Support Play Trailblazers Like These When You Support 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 2018 Action Grant winners is a project called “Loose Parts Play Builds Tight Communities” from Pure Play Every Day, Inc.

In 2017, in her first year as a US Play Coalition Play Ambassador, Patty Stine took advantage of an invitation to participate in the National Night Out (NNO) event at the Huntington Neighborhood Association in Waldorf, MD. She took her minivan and trailer full of play materials to the community center, set up her shade tent, then set out all the loose parts play materials. When the children arrived, they were drawn in by the unique collection of materials that allowed them to have freedom to choose where the play would go. It didn’t take long for them to dive into their evening of adventure. They dug in the sand in the sand and scooped water from the PVC sand and water table. They mixed water from the recycled laundry detergent containers with the sand. They added a bedsheet roof to the cardboard box playhouse. While the children designed, created, built and created new friendships, she snapped a few photos to share the glory of play with the world through Twitter.  This experience was the inspiration for this 2018 Action Grant winning project.

“As children play, they form friendships that cross economic and cultural differences,” says Patty Stine of Pure Play Every Day, Inc. 

With the 2018 action grant project, the Pure Play Every Day team recruited childcare professionals across their county to participate in a loose parts play training program.  In turn, the newly trained professionals could facilitate loose parts play as an available activity for the families attending their community’s NNO event. Pure Play Every Day, Inc. provided the trainees with a loose parts play starter kit as well as a training manual for sharing the purpose and value of play and suggestions for setting-up for loose parts play.

The photos in this post are highlights from some of this year’s Loose Parts Play at the National Night Out events.  Much more is coming from the Pure Play Every Day team!

GivingTuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, November 27, 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?!)

To support PLAYful projects like this and others, be sure to donate on Giving TuesPLAY – Tuesday, November 27!  YOU can help us provide action and research grants in 2019 with your Giving TuesPLAY gift!

Join the global movement and donate on Tuesday, November 27!  Big or small, your gift MATTERS!! We can’t wait to share the future of play with you!

 


Now Accepting Nominations for
2019 Outstanding Researcher
and Youth Practitioner Awards

The U.S. Play Coalition is now accepting nominations for its 2019 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 10th Anniversary Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR LIFE.  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.


Now Accepting Nominations for the 2019 Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research

The US Play Coalition is now accepting nominations for its second annual Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research.  This award is given annually in recognition of a body of exceptional research that has enhanced and expanded the study of play. The 2019 award winner will be named at the 10th Anniversary Conference on the Value of Play in Clemson, SC.

The inaugural Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research was presented to its namesake – Joe L. Frost, the contemporary father of play advocacy.  “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. “The creation of 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.

The 2018 Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research was presented to Dr. Olga Jarrett, Professor Emerita of early childhood/science education at Georgia State University, evaluator of an NSF project in Belize, and a past president of The Association for the Study of Play and the American Association for the Child’s Right to Play.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2019 Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research.  Deadline for nominations is December 15, 2018. The 2019 winner will be notified in mid-January and recognized at the 10th Anniversary Conference on the Value of Play at Clemson University, March 31-April 3, 2019.  The winner will have conference fees paid, hotel accommodations and up to $500 in travel to attend the Play Conference.

The Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research

Purpose:
This is to be awarded annually in recognition of an individual’s body of exceptional research that has enhanced and expanded the study of play.

Evaluation Criteria:
The basis for selection will be the degree to which the nominee has achieved an exceptional research contribution as evidenced by publications, patents, citations, or other criteria deemed important by experts in the field. Outstanding research contributions can take a variety of forms including, but not limited to, theoretical advances, experimental results, development of programs and tools.


November 28th #Weplaychat Featuring Maryland’s Own, Patty Stine!

Join us on Wednesday, November 28th at 12:00pm EST as we welcome co-moderator Patty Stine of Pure Play Everyday Inc. out of Maryland to our #WePlayChat on “Engaging Volunteers at Play Based Events”.

Patty Stine began her professional career in promoting play as a child delivering play structures manufactured by her family business with her parents. Since then she has worked as a play environment designer, preschool teacher, and child care, professional trainer. She learned through all of this that play has the power to positively influence the self-image and development of children. Patty also serves as a US Play Coalition Play Ambassador. Patty’s commitment to demonstrating simple ways in which children and youth can experience maximum benefit from their play is contagious and we are grateful to have her perspective as she drives our November #weplaychat!

Here are the questions Patty will be covering during #WePlayChat dialogue:

Q1: What are the elements (time, space and materials) of a “play based event”?
Q2: Who can/should be invited to volunteer at your play based event?
Q3: What are the benefits of having volunteers at your play based event?
Q4: Are there policies or forms you need to have in place before hosting your “play based event”?

#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 8 countries, spanning 4 continents – all tuning in to connect around PLAY.  This FREE professional learning opportunity is a great way to connect with fellow play enthusiasts, teachers and experts from across the globe.

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 and contribute to the conversation around the value of play.


2019 Youth Development Practitioner Award Apps Now Open

The US Play Coalition is pleased to partner with Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute for their third annual Youth Development Practitioner Award.  The purpose of this award is to recognize outstanding performance in the creation and implementation of youth development programs or services. The YLI award winner will be named at the 10th Anniversary Conference on the Value of Play in Clemson, SC.

According to Stephen Lance, Executive Director of Youth Learning Institute, “There are many deserving practitioners across the nation and our goal is to bring recognition to this field of service.”

The 2017 inaugural award went to Dan Mathews, chief operating officer at Camp Twin Lakes, a Georgia-based organization that provides camp experiences for children with serious illnesses, disabilities and other life challenges.

The 2018 YLI Youth Development Practitioner Award recipient is Pat Rumbaugh, a play advocate and co-founder of Let’s Play America. She is known as “The Play Lady”, has for more than 10 years, been an advocate, author, and participant in play activities for youth and the young at heart.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2019 Youth Development Practitioner Award.  Deadline for nominations is December 15, 2018. The winner of the 2019 Youth Development Practitioner Award will be notified in mid-January and recognized at the 10th Anniversary Conference on the Value of Play at Clemson University, March 31-April 3, 2019.  The winner will have conference fees paid, hotel accommodations and up to $500 in travel to attend the Play Conference.

2019 Youth Development Practitioner Award Application Process

Purpose:
To recognize outstanding performance in the creation and implementation of youth development programs or services.

Eligibility:
Must have operated a youth development program or service within the United States for at least 10 or more years.

Evaluation Criteria:
Applicants should show evidence of as many of met criteria in their submitted statement.

  • Accomplishments serve as an example for other youth serving programs.
  • Program/service demonstrates best practices and a nurturing culture that supports inclusivity and human resilience.
  • Outreach efforts promote youth development programs and encourage support and participation from the community at-large.
  • Equips young people to lead and serve, through direct work with youth and by training other practitioners.
  • Demonstrates positive impact on lives of young people and leads by example.
  • Demonstrates high level of leadership, professionalism and integrity in the field of youth development.
  • Strengthens the field of youth work by providing quality training opportunities for youth workers to maximize their investment in young people.
  • Focuses on attempts to improve the quality of youth services by providing training standards and improving program function.
  • Shares best practices with other youth practitioners or serves as a liaison in the community to create a network of participation and sharing of ideas/knowledge.
  • Program/service demonstrates exceptional commitment to public service and/or educational leadership.

If you have any questions, please contact Amy Bulger at bulger@clemson.edu.


Here is YOUR chance to GIVE the
gift of PLAY on Giving TuesPLAY!

After Black Friday and Cyber Monday is #GivingTuesday. It is a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, November 27, 2018, 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!!

Grant funding is a distinctive feature of our annual Play Conference, and we are proud to have awarded $52,000 in funding to date.   Check out the projects our grants have supported over the years – https://usplaycoalition.org/action-research-grants

Our 2018 Giving TuesPLAY goal is to fund at least one Research Grant and one Action Grant for our upcoming
10th Anniversary season.  We are on our way, thanks to a jump start challenge from our amazing steering committee. Now we challenge you! All funds raised on Giving TuesPLAY go to our grant fund – 100% of it!

YOU can help us provide action and research grants in 2019 with your Giving TuesPLAY gift!  Join the global movement and donate on Tuesday, November 27! Big or small, your gift MATTERS!! We can’t wait to share the future of play with you!


October 22nd #Weplaychat with Play Ambassador & Educator Gina Ruffcorn

Join us on Monday, October 22nd at 9:00pm EST as we welcome co-moderator Gina Ruffcorn of West Harrison Community School to our #WePlayChat as we discuss, “Learning While Moving: Incorporating Play & Motion Into The Classroom.

Gina is a Skype Master Teacher Founding Member, Skype Master Teacher Mentor, and Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert. Gina also has been honored with ambassadorships from Go Noodle, Spelling City, Kahoot and Pen Pal Schools. She has a Bachelors Degree from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa and a Masters degree in literacy and 21st Century Technologies from the University of Nebraska in Omaha. She currently teaches a 5th grade self-contained classroom at West Harrison Community School in Mondamin, Iowa where she also serves as the Technology Integrationist for her school district.

Here are the questions Gina will be covering during #WePlayChat dialogue:

Q1 What are your favorite ways to incorporate movement and play into your school/work days?

Q2 How do you tie-in play and movement within your curriculum standards?

Q3 How do you give your students voice and choice in activities?

Q4 What tips and tricks do you have for incorporating movement during transition times?


#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 8 countries, spanning 4 continents – all tuning in to connect around PLAY.  This FREE professional learning opportunity is a great way to connect with fellow play enthusiasts, teachers and experts from across the globe.

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 and contribute to the conversation around the value of play.


Play Pioneers Stuart Brown and Peter Gray to Keynote 10th Anniversary Play Conference

Play pioneers and US Play Coalition “firsts” to keynote for the 10th Anniversary Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR LIFE, March 31-April 3, 2019, in Clemson, SC.

Stuart Brown, MD, our very first keynote speaker (2009) and Peter Gray, PhD, our first ever PLAYtalk presenter (2016) return to our main stage to tackle the theme of “PLAY FOR LIFE,” reflect on the last decade of the play movement, and give insights into the next decade.

“This is truly a presentation by our play heroes!” says US Play Coalition executive director Stephanie Garst.  “It is also another first – the first time they’ve ever spoken TOGETHER!  This is definitely a MUST SEE!”

Stuart Brown, MD, was the very first keynote speaker at the 2009 Summit on the Value of Play (the precursor to the Conference on the Value of Play).  Trained in general and internal medicine, psychiatry and clinical research, Dr. Stuart Brown first recognized the importance of play by discovering its absence in the life stories of murders and felony drunken drivers. His years of clinical practice and review of over 6000 personal play histories affirmed the importance and need for healthy play throughout the human life cycle. His independent scholarship and exploration of the evolution and neuroscience of human and animal play have led to the establishment of the National Institute for Play. The Mission of the National Institute for Play (NIFP) is to bring the unrealized knowledge, practices and benefits of play into public life. Dr. Brown was the instigator and Executive Producer of the three-part PBS series, “The Promise of Play,” and coproduced the BBC-PBS series “Soul of the Universe.” His experience as a medical administrator, producer, and scientific consultant or creator to numerous other productions on Joseph Campbell, Cosmology, Animal Play, and Stress, plus his scientific and popular writings have identified him as the foremost “practical champion of the knowledge of play.” Dr. Brown’s book: Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul has been translated into twelve languages. He co-teaches From Play to Innovation at the Hasso Plattner School of Design at Stanford University, and is the “Key Strategist” for the Nevada Medical Center’s Global Play Science Institute. In addition to regular creative scholarly contributions for the PlayCore company, he enjoys other international corporate and academic consulting on play and its many contributions through their engagement with it, as it enhances overall human well-being. As the information base about play grows, it is evident that play is a public health necessity.

Our species, Brown says, “is built for play, and built by play.”

Peter Gray, PhD, is a research professor of psychology at Boston College, has conducted and published research in neuroendocrinology, developmental psychology, anthropology, and education.  He is author of an internationally acclaimed introductory psychology textbook (Psychology, Worth Publishers, now in its 8thedition), which views all of psychology from an evolutionary perspective.

Gray’s recent research focuses on the roles of play in human evolution and how children educate themselves, through play and exploration, when they are free to do so. He has expanded on these ideas in his recent book, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life (Basic Books, 2013). He also authors a popular blog called Freedom to Learn, for Psychology Today magazine.

Gray is a founding member and president of the nonprofit Alliance for Self-Directed Education (ASDE), which is aimed at creating a world in which children’s natural ways of learning are facilitated rather than suppressed.  He is also a founding board director of the nonprofit Let Grow, the mission of which is to renew children’s freedom to play and explore outdoors, independently of adults.

The Conference on the VALUE of Play
The Play Conference, as it is commonly known, is an annual educational conference presented by the US Play Coalition. The latest research and practices in the field of play are presented at the conference, which brings together play researchers, park and recreation professionals, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the U.S. and beyond. The three day event includes keynote and featured speakers, round tables on critical issues and trends, research symposium for academics, educational sessions for practitioners, action and research grant opportunities, PLAYtalks and PLAYinstitutes, networking, EPIC play breaks and more.

 

  

September 27th #WePlayChat: “How Culture Affects The Definition of Play”

Join us on Thursday, September 27 at 12:00pm EST (noon!) as we welcome co-moderator Jace Ferguson from Universal American School in Dubai to our #WePlayChat topic on, “How Culture Affects the Definition of Play.

Jace’s journey into the world of education started when he was just in his grade 12 year at his rural high school in Alberta, Canada. It was here where Jace was first shown the power of play and purposeful Physical Education where he job shadowed his Phys Ed teacher for an entire semester. This inspired his passion for education and propelled him to work towards receiving his Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta in 2006, Masters of Science in Recreation and Sport from Ohio University in 2013, and being engaged in this wonderful profession for twelve years.

Throughout his career, he has had the amazing opportunity to share his passion for play and education with students from K-12, work and develop programs to grow curriculum and pedagogy as the Health and Physical Education Council VP in Alberta. Currently, has has the amazing opportunity to work with students and fellow educators as an international teacher since moving to Dubai and to the Universal American School in 2015 where Jace currently serves as the K-12 Physical Education Program Coordinator. He has also become more involved in the pedagogy and professional development realm through offering webinars through ConnectedPE, #Physedagogy and have even presented at the live conferences in Dubai, Switzerland and soon Hong Kong in November.

Outside of the profession, Jace is constantly searching for new ways to become physically active with his wife and there very active soon-to-be two-year-old daughter. This usually involves random play at the playgrounds, pools and exploring new activity options that become available to them as this wonderful city continues to grow and develop. It truly is an amazing experience and I would never trade it for anything in the world!

Here are the questions Jace will be covering during #WePlayChat dialogue:

Q1. Which comes first, culture or play? Why?
Q2. How does play connect back with culture? Why is this important for healthy development?
Q3. How could cultural consideration impact the profession of education?
Q4. What does the future of Education look if Play is at the centre of culture and curriculum?

#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 8 countries, spanning 5 continents – all tuning in to connect around PLAY.  This FREE professional learning opportunity is a great way to connect with fellow play enthusiasts, teachers and experts from across the globe.

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 and contribute to the conversation around the value of play.


US Play Coalition partners
with Nickelodeon for the
15th annual Worldwide Day of Play

Nickelodeon is inspiring kids to embrace the transformative power of play and lead active lifestyles with its annual Worldwide Day of Play on Saturday, September 29.

2018 marks the 15th year of Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play (WWDoP).  Once again, the US Play Coalition is a partner with Nickelodeon for this important and FUN-omenal endeavor!  This year, the US Play Coalition helped to craft the official 2018 Partner Playbook, a planning guide for grassroots play events, complete with tips on ways to celebrate play and play activity ideas from US Play Coalition and other national partners like Afterschool Alliance, Boys & Girls Clubs of America; Girl Scouts of the USA, Kiwanis; Laureus Sport for Good, National Fitness Foundation, NFL PLAY 60, Playworks, Police Athletic League, Special Olympics, The Aspen Institute and USA BMX.

So get inspired by WWDoP and plan a Play Day in YOUR community!  It doesn’t have to be September 29 – Play Day can be any day!  Visit http://www.worldwidedayofplay.com/ for tips on ways to celebrate play and the official 2018 Playbook to help plan your own Worldwide Day of Play activities.

Check out the US Play Coalition’s Road to the Worldwide Day of Play event…!

4th Annual Clemson Community Play Day
Saturday, September 22, 11:00am-2:00pm
Nettles Park, Clemson, SC

The US Play Coalition and Clemson Parks and Rec are teaming up again for our annual Clemson Community Play Day as part of Nickelodeon’s Road to the Worldwide Day of Play. Our friends from Clemson University, the Outdoor Lab and Pickens County First Steps will be there too!  Join us for inflatables, games, crafts, photo ops and more!!! There will be a designated toddler play space AND opportunities to get wet!!  It’s FREE fun for all ages! Pack a lunch and stay for a while!  GET UP, GET OUT & GO PLAY!