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.

 


El Gato Tag

El Gato

picture1

In honor of National Feral Cat Day (October 16th) and National Cat Day (October 29th) – El Gato!

El Gato is a tag game. And like most tag games, has a number of variations. Below are three versions of El Gato Tag.

Version 1:

One player is chosen or volunteers to be el raton (the mouse) and another is chosen or volunteers to be el gato (the cat). The remaining players form a circle around el raton and join hands to prevent el gato from sneaking in. If el gato gets into the circle, players lift their arms to allow el raton to escape and then quickly lower their arms to keep el gato inside the circle. At this point, el gato must now try to get back outside the circle. The in-and-out-of-circle chase continues until el raton is caught. Once el raton is caught a new el gato and el raton are chosen.

Version 2:

Players form a large circle. One player volunteers or is chosen to be el gato. El gato walks around the inside of the circle, stops in front of someone and asks: “Do you have bread and cheese?” When asked, the person says, “No” and points to someone else. As el gato turns and moves toward to that person around the outside of the circle, ALL of the players quickly exchange places. If the person who was pointed at is caught s/he becomes el gato. Or if el gato gets to that person’s place in the circle before it gets occupied, the one who is without a spot becomes el gato and the game begins again.

Version 3:

Players form a large circle. One player volunteers or is chosen to be el gato.  El gato walks around the inside of the circle, stops in front of someone and asks “Who has bread and cheese?” This person responds with, “My friend ____” giving the name of someone in the circle. Then BOTH the person being asked and el gato run to that friend. The last one to the friend is now el gato and the game begins again.

 

Sources:

Quezada, F. (August, 2015) Interview.

Ramos, R. (n.d.) El Gato y El Raton. Retrieved on August 30, 2015 from http://www.elboricua.com/El_Gato_y_el_Raton.html

West. J.O. (1989) Mexican-American Folklore: Legends, Songs, Festivals, Proverbs, Crafts, Tales of Saints, Of Revolutionaries, and More. August House, Inc.: Little Rock AR


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.

 


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”

 

The Peanut Plunge

The Peanut Plunge

 picture1

Source: ©2015. Joyce Hemphill, Laura Scheinholtz, and Heather Von Bank and adapted from The Power of Playful Learning.

Supplies:

  • 2 paper towel tubes cut into thirds
  • Hook portion ONLY from a molded plastic hangers from retail stores
  • Individual serving size yogurt cup
  • Strip of paper
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Tape

To play this game you will need a trunk and a peanut.

MAKE:

The Peanut

  • Place cup upside down on the table. Tape one end of the strip of paper close to the cup’s bottom.
  • Tape the other end of the strip directly across from it creating a loop.

NOTE: The loop needs to be big enough for the hook on the end of the trunk to readily snag it

The Elephant Trunk

  • On both ends of each paper tube, punch holes about ½ inch from the openings.
picture1
  • Prepare the hook.
    • Check the hook from the plastic coat hanger for sharp edges. File down any sharp edges.
    • Take about 6 inches of string, lay it on the table, place the cut end of the hook in the middle of the string, and tie a knot.
    • Secure the string using duct tape.
  • Attach the hook to one of the sections of paper tubing.
    • Take one end of the string that the hook is on and lace it through one of the holes in one section of paper tube. Tie a knot.
    • Take the other end of string and lace it through the opposite hole of that section of paper tube, and tie a knot.
    • Snip any long strands.
    • NOTE: When held by up by the tube, the hook should hang down from the midpoint of the tube’s opening.
  • Attach segments.
    • Next, connect the tube with the hook to another section using a 2- to 3-inch piece of string. Thread one end of the string through a hole in one section, the other end of the string through a hole in the other section. Tie. Repeat on the other side of the tube.
    • Continue connecting tubes until there are three or four tubes tied together in a strand with a hook dangling at one end.
    • For the last two holes of the LAST tube, you will add enough length – about 1½ feet of string to reach behind your head and be able to tie a bow. Take one 1½ foot length of string, thread one end through one of the punched holes, and tie a knot. Take another 1½ foot length of string and do the same with the other hole.

PLAY:

  • EACH PERSON MUST HAVE HER/HIS OWN TRUNK. Do NOT share trunks. To don the trunk, position the opening of the last tube over the nose, pull the string up over the ears and behind the head where you will tie it with a bow.
  • Identify the start and a designated area storage area or finish line.
  • Place the peanut at the starting point.
  • Using ONLY the trunk pick up the peanut, carry it to the designated storage area, set it down, and remove the hook – NO hands! NOTE: This is a hands free game. Hands may not guide the trunk.
  • Return to the starting point. THEN go back to the storage area, pick up the peanut, and return home.

 


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!

nps 100thnps uniform_300

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.


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:

 


Flick It!

flick itSupplies:

  • Chalk (recipe below)
  • 3 Bottle caps or jar lids
  • Sidewalk or paved driveway

Make:

  • Using the chalk, draw a 3-foot by 3-foot square on the sidewalk or paved driveway.
  • Create a 3 x 3 grid by drawing lines going down and lines going across at the one-foot and two-foot marks.
  • Write a number 1 through 9, in each of the grid squares
    • One number per grid square
    • In any order
    • No repeats

Play:

The object of the game is to get the highest score possible.

  • Place the lid/cap on the ground outside of the grid.
  • Using your thumb and a finger flick the lid.
    • One attempt per lid/cap. There are no ‘do overs’ if the lid rolls or lands outside of the grid.
    • What if the lid lands on a line? No points.
      • Note: Feel free to change any of the rules. After all, it is your game.

Need more of a challenge?

  • Create a grid with more squares.
  • Create a grid with smaller dimensions.
  • Use two-digit numbers.
  • Use more lids/caps.
  • Add a rule that the lids/caps MUST land in a straight line (horizontal, vertical, and/or diagonal).

Want to play the game indoors?

  • Table Top Version
    • Draw the grid on paper and tape it down using painters’ tape
  • Floor Version
    • Use painters’ tape to create the grid on the floor.

Recipe for Sidewalk Chalk (Originally shared May, 2015)

Supplies:

  • Toilet paper  tube
  • Small square waxed paper
  • Rubber band
  • Disposable large plastic cup
  • Wooden craft stick
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Corn starch
  • Tempera paint
  • Water

Make:

  • Secure a double thick piece of waxed paper at the end of a toilet paper tube with the rubber band.
  • In the disposable large plastic cup mix ½ cup plaster of Paris and ¼ cup corn starch. Slowly add ¼ to ½ cup water while stirring with the craft stick. Add tempera paint until the desired color is achieved.
  • Spoon mixture into prepared toilet paper tube. Set the tube upright (waxed paper side down) in an open container while the mixture cures or hardens.  Once it is dry peel off the paper tube.  It is now ready to use!

IMPORTANT NOT: Do NOT rinse cup in the sink!!  Dispose of the cup with the remaining mixture in it. This stuff will clog sink!


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.