PlayCore and GameTime Take Research to a New Level with Recognition Program for Communities

PlayCore’s Center for Professional Development is uniquely committed to sound research and best practices to advance play and recreation through programs, publications, continuing education, and advocacy. Their unparalleled network of esteemed scholars provides them with the validated research to compose best practice resources and help inform the design of products created by their brands, like GameTime. With their National Demonstration Site program, PlayCore recognizes communities for designing spaces using best practices outlined in the research.

The National Demonstration Site program was created to recognize thoughtfully planned outdoor environments that ensure people can be physically and socially active through play and recreation. Communities are recognized in a number of ways, including an online map,  and the positive attention gained can attract additional partners, funding, and serve as a model environment for others to replicate and share.   With a total of five National Demonstration Site programs for inclusive play, nature play, playful pathways, youth fitness, and adult fitness, PlayCore and GameTime are helping communities get the recognition and exposure they so richly deserve.

GameTime’s inclusive parks at Hugh Mac Rae Park in Wilmington, NC and Havens Gardens Park in Washington, NC are two of many parks being recognized as a National Demonstration Sites for following research-based best practice principles in inclusive design.


Research also informs many product designs, like the Expression Swing, the only swing where parent and child can swing together in complete attunement.


Featured Sessions at 2017 Conference on the Value of Play

The US Play Coalition is proud to announce its featured sessions for the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play.  The annual conference, whose 2017 theme is “Where Design Meets Play – Bringing Play to Landscapes, Curricula, Programs, Museums, and Beyond,” will be April 2-5 at Clemson University.  Here is a glimpse at the featured speaker lineup…more to come!

“Sometimes It Hurts: Designing Play Environments with as Much Risk-Taking as Possible and as Little Safety as Necessary”
Panelists:
– Moderator / US Perspective: Teri Hendy, Site Masters, Inc.
– European Perspective: Julian Richter, Richter Spielgeraete GmbH
– UK Perspective: Harry Harbottle, CATE Consultancy
– Canadian Perspective: Jennifer Martin, TELUS Spark
This two-part session includes speakers from the US, Germany, the UK and Canada presenting an international view of the role of risk taking in designing children’s play environments.  The panel will focus on the perception of risk vs. the reality; designing for acceptable risk that balances risk and play value; establishing a precedent of risk tolerance; and modeling risky play that creates healthy and innovative communities.

“How Science and Research are Rocking the Play World”
Stuart Brown, MD – Founder of National Institute for Play
Joe Frost, Parker, PhD – Centennial Professor Emeritus, University of Texas
Tom Norquist – Senior Vice President of Product Development & Marketing – PlayCore/GameTime

When Stuart Brown, a pioneer in research on play, and Joe Frost, the contemporary father of play advocacy, are your guides, only magical things can happen!  Tom Norquist, product innovator at GameTime, will lead the conversation with his mentors on how hard science and research are the building blocks of playful design.

“The Genius of Play: Designing an Integrated Program to Help Families Capitalize on Key Developmental Benefits for Their Children”
Panelists:
– Anna Yudina, Director of Marketing Initiatives, Toy Industry Association
– Erik “Dr. E.” Fisher, Ph.D., Psychologist, Media Consultant, Author
– Jackie Retzer, Marketing Communications, Toy Industry Association
– David Gallagher, Chief Program Officer, Playworks
The presentation highlights research findings about parental attitudes towards play and shares best practices for utilizing social media, expert influencers, and partnerships to build a national play movement.


“Designing a Practice of Play”

Dan Harding, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Architecture and Community Design+Build
Clemson University
A question that has remained centric to my personal endeavors as a craftsman, designer, and educator has been seemingly simple: Is it possible to design a Practice based on Play?  Perpetual musing on the premise yields further inquiry into: can we Play at Practice?, and, can we Practice at Play?  In the spirit of a Robert Pirsig Chautauqua, I endeavor to highlight the landscape my work has explored and the territory it has attempted settle.

“Using Empathy to Design School Based Play”
David Gallagher, Chief Program Officer, Playworks
This session will focus on how to have an empathic lens when designing programming for play within schools.

 

“Lighting with LED . . . The Opportunities and the Challenges”
Joe Crookham, Chief Executive Officer and President, Musco Sports Lighting, LLC
This session will cover LED related issues regarding energy, maintenance, spill, glare, sky glow and the impact of color spectrum choices on both vision and health.  This session will discuss design opportunities and challenges when using diode light devices, LED, to illuminate large areas such as a ball field, play areas and walkways.


“The Future of Schoolyards and Strategies to Work with School Communities to Get Things Funded and Built”

Bambi Yost, Assistant Professor, Landscape Architecture,  Iowa State University, will share lessons learned from  her time as Project Manager and researcher on Denver Public School’s Learning Landscapes schoolyards.

“Playing Outside the Lines: Play As A Metaphor for Life”
Erik “Dr. E.” Fisher, Ph.D., Psychologist, Media Consultant, Author
Often we teach kids to play games by the rules, and there is definitely a value to this. However, what can happen when you  take play and the game beyond the rules and look to what play can teach about the child and what you can teach children about life through play?

“BrandNewNoise: Where Design Meets Play”
Richard Upchurch, Founder of BrandNewNoise
Explore the inspiration and process behind the brand’s creative sound gadgets. It started out as a simple voice recorder made from the electronics of a $2 toy and some wood scraps – a simple design.  Today BrandNewNoise is making handcrafted sound gadgets for all kids, musicians, lovers, and aliens looking to explore – even celebrity soundmakers like the Black Keys.  Each recorder is handmade in Brooklyn, NY out of American sustainable wood. Richard’s talk will focus on how the simplicity in design leads to creative input and play for the end user.

“Placemaking Leads To Playmaking: How Edible & Medicinal Gardens Make Serenbe More Playful”
Steve Nygren – President of Serenbe
After escaping Atlanta to rural South Fulton, Steve Nygren noticed the positive affect nature had on his daughters. They were happier, more relaxed and chose nature over toys. He then set out to create a built environment that would not only cater to play, but encourage it.”  Serenbe is a progressive community connected to nature on the edge of Atlanta.  Serenbe’s architectural planning sets a new standard for community living.  Steve’s presentation will share the specific ways nature makes children healthier, happier and smarter, how increased access to nature transforms our culture, and show how edible and medicinal gardens encourage outdoor play.

 “Ten Strategies to Get a C in Play”
Michael Bryant, Director of Educational Program Activation at Discovery Education
At Discovery Education, Michael Bryant was instrumental in the launch of Techbooks, powerful digital resources instead of the traditional textbook. Currently, Mike works with corporate and non-profit partners to craft engaging free programs and resources for students all over the world. From hosting virtual field trips at a Ford plant to immersing himself in a STEM lab for the Tiger Woods Foundation, Mike works to ensure all educators and students have access to the best resources. Michael’s featured session will focus on the 4Cs (Collaborate, Create, Communicate and Critical Thinking) and strategies & resources Discovery Education has found to work well before, during and after school.

 

New to the Play Conference? You’re Gonna Wanna Read This!

Meet Marie-Catherine Dubé, Aquatic Play Design expert at Vortex International and poster child for all the reasons YOU should come to the Conference on the Value of Play !  This is her story…

My first experience at the US Play Coalition’s annual Conference on the Value of Play was definitely a memorable one, to say the least. As a senior Industrial Design student studying at Purdue University the spring of 2015, I discovered the existence of the coalition while working on my thesis in Nepal, the fall prior. My work, Tilt: the Playscape Project, involved studying play in a third world environment, and from there I would build a playground at a local school. I quickly fell in love with the field of play.  Discovering that there was this whole GROUP of people—professionals!—who were also passionate about play, I knew I needed to get to this conference however possible. Through educational sessions, roundtables, and amazing keynote speakers, I discovered how multifaceted this field of study can be, how broad the span of interested individuals actually is.

The most valuable part of my first experience at the US Play Coalition conference, aside the sessions (that were actually educational!), the roundtables, the keynotes…was the networking. Meeting people to share ideas with and work with was truly the jumpstart to my career. I attended a session on water play where a company from Montreal, Canada was presenting. As an avid Montreal Canadians fan (and Canadian by birth), I later saw one of the presenters in the hospitality suite on the last day and was not shy about my love for Canada and play. As it turns out, networking your passion is pretty valuable; I met the right person at the right time!  Turns out that presenter was the president & CEO of Vortex!  Because of that conversation, I later got what I consider is the coolest job in the world! I moved to Montreal and now work as a waterpark designer, where every single day I get to study and utilize my love for play. Because of that conference in 2015, I absolutely love my job, the US Play Coalition, and I’m a Play Advocate for life!

Haven’t convinced you yet?!  Check out all the details for the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play…and join me!


March 22nd #WePlayChat: Play to Support Growth and Well-Being

Join us Wednesday, March 22nd at 1:00pm EST as we welcome Kimberly Hart to our #WePlayChat on “Play to Support Growth & Well Being.” Kimberly (@KimberlyEHart) is a mother who is passionate about being active and healthy. She is a content developer at AAAStateofPlay.com. Growing up in Indianapolis, Kim has always been dedicated to staying healthy and being active especially after having two children. With the obesity epidemic on the rise, Kim makes a conscious effort to involve her children in playful activities like baseball, hiking, and enrolling them in camp during the summer. At times Kim volunteers at the camp, helping out with the daily activities for all the kids. In her spare time she offers personal trainingKimberly Hart for those looking to help improve their health goals.

Here are the chat questions that will guide our dialogue:

Q1: Do you believe that play is an integral part of a child’s growth and well being? Why?

Q2: In what ways does play support the emotional health of children? Are there kinds of play that nurture mental well-being?

 Q3: How does free play support physical growth and well-being? In what ways does this differ than the benefits of organized sports?
Q4: What role does recess play in a child’s growth and well-being? 
#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 the across the globe.

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!


Conference Speakers Focus On “Planning for Play”

The Landscape Architect and Aquatic Play design expert agree on one thing—the key to a successful project is determined before the first shovel gets near the site. It’s all in the planning.

Marie-Catherine Dubé, Aquatic Play Design expert at Vortex International, and Zak Pierce, a professional Landscape Architect with CLH Design, will explain their common view at the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play in Clemson, South Carolina.

“We need to understand the site, the community’s culture, and how we can enhance the play experience through natural elements,” says Marie-Catherine. “We’ve found that water can elevate the play experience and plays a critical role in appealing to users of all ability levels.”

“We also need to consider the health, safety, and welfare of all users,” adds Zak. “We want our projects to accommodate a multi-generational audience so that everyone benefits from a community play space. It’s a lot more than picking components out of a catalog.”

Learn more about how you can maximize the play value of a community space, from design to execution, by attending their talk.


More Featured Sessions for 2017 Conference on the Value of Play

The US Play Coalition is proud to announce the last of its featured sessions for the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play.  The annual conference, whose 2017 theme is “Where Design Meets Play – Bringing Play to Landscapes, Curricula, Programs, Museums, and Beyond,” will be April 2-5 at Clemson University.  Here is a glimpse of the featured speakers who will round out our lineup.

 

“How Science and Research are Rocking the Play World”
Stuart Brown, MD – Founder of National Institute for Play
Joe Frost, Parker, PhD – Centennial Professor Emeritus, University of Texas
Tom Norquist – Senior Vice President of Product Development & Marketing – PlayCore/GameTime

When Stuart Brown, a pioneer in research on play, and Joe Frost, the contemporary father of play advocacy, are your guides, only magical things can happen!  Tom Norquist, product innovator at GameTime, will lead the conversation with his mentors on how hard science and research are the building blocks of playful design.

 

BrandNewNoise: Where Design Meets Play”
Richard Upchurch, Founder of BrandNewNoise

Explore the inspiration and process behind the brand’s creative sound gadgets. It started out as a simple voice recorder made from the electronics of a $2 toy and some wood scraps – a simple design.  Today BrandNewNoise is making handcrafted sound gadgets for all kids, musicians, lovers, and aliens looking to explore – even celebrity soundmakers like the Black Keys.  Each recorder is handmade in Brooklyn, NY out of American sustainable wood. Richard’s talk will focus on how the simplicity in design leads to creative input and play for the end user.

 

“Placemaking Leads To Playmaking: How Edible & Medicinal Gardens Make Serenbe More Playful”
Steve Nygren – President of Serenbe

After escaping Atlanta to rural South Fulton, Steve Nygren noticed the positive affect nature had on his daughters. They were happier, more relaxed and chose nature over toys. He then set out to create a built environment that would not only cater to play, but encourage it.”  Serenbe is a progressive community connected to nature on the edge of Atlanta.  Serenbe’s architectural planning sets a new standard for community living.  Steve’s presentation will share the specific ways nature makes children healthier, happier and smarter, how increased access to nature transforms our culture, and show how edible and medicinal gardens encourage outdoor play.

 

 “Ten Strategies to Get a C in Play”
Michael Bryant, Director of Educational Program Activation at Discovery Education

At Discovery Education, Michael Bryant was instrumental in the launch of Techbooks, powerful digital resources instead of the traditional textbook. Currently, Mike works with corporate and non-profit partners to craft engaging free programs and resources for students all over the world. From hosting virtual field trips at a Ford plant to immersing himself in a STEM lab for the Tiger Woods Foundation, Mike works to ensure all educators and students have access to the best resources. Michael’s featured session will focus on the 4Cs (Collaborate, Create, Communicate and Critical Thinking) and strategies & resources Discovery Education has found to work well before, during and after school.

Check the conference site often for updates and news!

  

Inaugural Lineup of Pre-Conference Play Institutes Announced

The moment you have waited for has arrived!  Check out our inaugural lineup of Pre-Conference Play Institutes for the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play: Where Design Meets Play.

These Play Institutes are 3-hour topic-specific trainings that take place on Sunday, April 2 from 11:00am-2:30pm (includes a 30 minutes break).  Registration is required.  Cost is just $25 for the institute of your choice.  Click on each of the titles below to learn more.

Play Facilitator Certificate of Completion
Ellen O’Sullivan, PhD., CPRP
President, Leisure Lifestyle Consulting

Change Agents for Play: Program Design Starts with Understanding Your Audience
Deborah Rhea, Ed.D. – Professor, Texas Christian University and Director, LiiNK™ Project
Alex Rivchun – Project/Budget Manager, LiiNK™ Project
Laura Clark – Research Associate, LiiNK™ Project

Effective Playground Protective Surfacing – The Elusive Goal
Rolf Huber, Canadian Playground Advisory Inc.
Ken Kutska, International Playground Safety Institute, Inc.

These Pre-conference Play Institutes are available ONLY to conference attendees as an add-on option. Cost to attend an institute is $25. Pre-registration is required.
 

#WePlayChat with Rae Pica: The Joys of Unstructured Play

Join us Monday, February 27 at 12:00pm EST as we welcome Rae Pica to our #WePlayChat on “The Joys Of Unstructured Play.” Rae has been an Education Consultant, specializing in the development and education of the whole child and children’s physical activity, since 1980. A former adjunct instructor with the University of New Hampshire, she is the founder and director of Moving & Learning (now Rae Pica Keynotes & Consulting) and the author of 19 books. Among many other roles,  Rae served on the task force of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (now SHAPE America) that created national guidelines for early childhood physical activity, is a member of several advisory boards, and serves on the executive committee of the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International. In addition, Rae is co-founder of the BAM Radio Network, the world’s largest online education radio network, where she currently hosts Studentcentricity, interviewing experts in education, child development, play research, the neurosciences and more.

Here are the chat questions that will guide our dialogue:

Q1. What are elements of unstructured play? How do these elements differ from structured play?

Q2. What are the benefits associated with unstructured play?

Q3. What are the unstructured play recommendations around the world? Should these change?

Q4. What messaging should we use with parents & schools around unstructured 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 the across the globe.


Industry Leaders Announced for Keynote “Power PLAYer Panel”

The US Play Coalition is proud to announce the latest addition to the keynote lineup for the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play: Where Design Meets Play, April 2-5 at Clemson University.

Some of the biggest names in the industry will come together for our second keynote session – the “Power PLAYer Panel.”  Tackling the landscape of play from research, health, youth, parks and governmental perspectives, this is a discussion NOT to be missed!

Moderator:
Fran Mainella – Founder/Co-Chair of the US Play Coalition & Former Director of the National Park Service
Fran Mainella served as the 16th Director of the National Park Service from 2001 – 2006. She was the first woman to hold this key position. Prior to heading the National Park Service, Mainella served for twelve years as Director of Florida State Parks. She has also served as executive director of the Florida Recreation and Park Association and as president of both the National Recreation and Park Association and the National Association of State Park Directors. She is currently a Visiting Scholar at Clemson University Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management and the founder and co-chair of the US Play Coalition.

Panelists:
Stuart Brown, MD – Founder and President of National Institute for Play
Trained in general and internal medicine, psychiatry and clinical research, Dr. Stuart Brown has spent his career studying animal behavior and conducting more than six thousand “play histories” of humans from all walks of life—from serial murderers to Nobel Prize winners.  Brown’s research asserts that play is essential to our social skills, adaptability, intelligence, creativity, ability to problem solve, and more. Play is hardwired into our brains—it is the mechanism by which we become resilient, smart, and adaptable people.

Michael Suk, MD – Chief Physician Officer, Geisinger System Services
An orthopaedic traumatologist by training, Dr. Michael Suk has served as a White House Fellow by President George W. Bush and served as Special Assistant to Secretary Gale A. Norton at the U.S. Department of the Interior.   During his tenure as a White House Fellow, Dr. Suk organized Get Fit with US, designed to support HealthierUS, a federal interagency program based on the premise that increasing personal fitness and becoming healthier is critical to achieving a better and longer life.  At Interior, Dr. Suk spearheaded an initiative to develop the link between public health and recreation by coordinating five Interior bureaus.  Dr. Suk believes that simple outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and camping on public lands and waters can serve as a gateway to a healthier lifestyle.

Kim Moore Bailey – Executive Director, Youth Outside

Kim Moore Bailey brings a wealth of experience to her role as Executive Director for Youth Outside. Kim provides the leadership and vision that drives its mission of connecting youth to nature by eliminating barriers, providing resources, and promoting outdoor programming. Inspired by her own passion for the outdoors and years of both professional and personal experiences, Kim focuses on Youth Outside’s strategic direction, grantmaking portfolio, and working to achieve measurable results. Kim believes that Youth Outside serves as an intermediary to develop the critical connections required to engage underrepresented youth to nature and to encourage the capacity building of the organizations supported.