Panel on Play in Higher Ed to be First Installment of “Play Hour Live”

A panel of university educators will discuss play in higher education in a LIVE Zoom presentation, “Do They Even Know About Play? Ways to Help Young Adults Reconnect with Play,” Friday, April 3, 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT. (The session will be recorded and included in our official 2020 ONLINE Play Conference content.)

The panel discussion is the first installment of our “Play Hour”  LIVE Zoom sessions, scheduled weekly in April as part of the 2020 ONLINE Play Conference: PLAY FOR ALL. Registered conference attendees will receive Zoom details by email.

Our modern day university classrooms look, sound, and feel very different as compared to even 10 or 15 years ago. Professors are taking greater strides to engage students in course content through conversation, project based learning, and critical inquiry.

By creating inventive and playful systems of pedagogies, students can develop a deeper understanding of theories, educational pedagogies, and effective ways to work with others.

The benefits of learning and exploring new content through play let students explore new ideas through playful experiences, develop intrinsic motivation, focus more on process than product and have fun. Playful classrooms and opportunities for spontaneous learning can promote students’ development of creativity and imagination (Lieberman, 1977).

But do young adults even know how to play, or how to define play in a classroom, or if play is even acceptable?

In this panel discussion, five university educators will discuss ways they help their students playfully explore course content in a university classroom. Panelists will address the following areas through the lens of play: arts education, graphic communication, engineering, construction, and recreational activities.

Heather Von Bank, PhD (panel moderator) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Consumer Science in the area of Child Development Family Studies at Minnesota State University Mankato. For the past 11 years, she has taught a class to undergraduate students about the importance of play in the lives and development of children. The students create a play day for the community and in turn learn a lot about themselves and their own play histories.

Pam Davis works in Student Affairs at Clemson as the Director of Campus Activities & Events. They manage several indoor/outdoor venues on campus and coordinate events. Prior to her current position, she worked with the City of Greenville (SC) Parks and Recreation to implement youth and adult fitness, athletic and community programs and events, as well as coordinate the Mobi-Rec vehicle, which takes “play” all over the city, especially to lower-income areas.

Erica Walker, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Graphic Communications at Clemson. Her recent research focuses on working with adjunct professors, in highly specified areas of visual and graphic communications, to translate their work experiences into fast-paced, game-based activities. Prior to that, her dissertation focused on the impact on that a senior design project had on students and instructors as they transitioned from a from lecture-based course to physical, interactive games.

Brad Putman, PhD, is the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies for the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences and is an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering. He has incorporated a playful mindset into his courses, including Pavement Design and Construction where he challenges students to address real problems that engineers face using “loose parts” to create a prototype of their solution.

 

 

“Play Hour” is a series of LIVE Zoom sessions every Monday and Friday in April at 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT as part of the 2020 ONLINE Conference on the Value of Play.  All “Play Hour” LIVE Zoom presentations will be recorded and included in our online conference launch (May 1), so don’t fret if you miss any!


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 has been moved ONLINE for 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is our first-ever online Play Conference!


Outdoor Industry Asssociation’s Lise Aangeenbrug Kicks Off 2020 ONLINE Play Conference

The US Play Coalition is proud to announce Lise Aangeenbrug, Executive Director of the Outdoor Industry Association, will kickoff the 2020 ONLINE Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR ALL with a LIVE Zoom keynote presentation, “Promoting the Power of Play.”

For the last 30 years, Lise’s career has been in service of protecting land and wildlife habitat, building parks and trails, and connecting communities to the outdoors.  Lise currently serves as the Executive Director of the Outdoor Industry Association, a membership-driven trade organization for the outdoor industry. They are a force for the industry in recreation and trade policy, sustainable business innovation and increasing outdoor participation.

Until a few weeks ago, Lise was the executive director of the OIA’s charitable arm, the Outdoor Foundation (and she continues to serve as its president).  The Foundation is on a mission to get everyone to thrive outside.  Prior to joining the Foundation, she served as the executive vice president for the National Park Foundation and the executive director of the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund.

Upon taking the helm of the Outdoor Foundation in 2018, Lise said that she looked forward to working with her stakeholders “to collectively inspire the next generation to PLAY in and love the outdoors.”  In her new role with the Outdoor Industry Association, her focus broadens to “build thriving businesses, thriving people and a thriving planet.”

“Lise is a leader in the outdoor industry with experience in conservation and connecting people to the outdoors through the Thrive Outside Community Initiative and similar efforts. We are honored that Lise is still able to share her valuable insights with us, after we had to cancel our in-person conference.  Play is a valuable tool people can use to help address anxious times, and a necessary release when isolated at home,” says Stephanie Garst, executive director of the US Play Coalition.

In early March, the US Play Coalition announced they would shift their 2020 Play Conference to an online format in response to the rapid pace of the COVID-19 outbreak. Most of the ONLINE conference will be recorded educational and research sessions originally slated for that in-person conference – more than 50 presentations to date.  “Live” presentations like this one by Lise Aangeenbrug are only available to registered conference attendees.  The presentations will be recorded and included in the ONLINE conference content for those who cannot join in real time.

SPECIAL NOTE: Given that Colorado (Lise’s home state) is now under a stay-at-home order, this presentation will be low tech.  There is no production team or marketing experts creating a flashy video.  This will be Lise and a laptop…and we are grateful she will share her expertise with us.

 

 

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 has been moved ONLINE for 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It will be our first-ever online Play Conference!


Play Conference Planners Respond to COVID-19 Pandemic by Moving Conference ONLINE

With the rapid pace of the COVID-19 outbreak, the US Play Coalition is officially moving its annual Conference on the Value of Play to an online format.

“We feel it’s the right and responsible thing to do,” says executive director Stephanie Garst.  “The US Play Coalition leadership feels strongly that our conference takes on a new importance at times like these. Play is a valuable tool people can use to help address anxious times, and a necessary release when isolated at home.”

The conference planning team moved quickly to get the conference moved online.  This will be the FIRST EVER ONLINE Conference on the Value of Play.

“We hope you will engage with us virtually, in the interest of public health, wellness, safety and education!!” Garst said.


ONLINE Play Conference Registration includes
:

  • Access to all “live” online presentations by many of our headliners as well as other interactive live opportunities in April. The headliner presentations will also be recorded and included in the 2020 ONLINE Play Conference content.
  • Access to view 50+ recorded educational and research symposium sessions to watch and learn at your own pace from May 1 through June 30, 2020.
  • Invitation to join closed LinkedIn and Facebook groups for 2020 ONLINE Play Conference attendees to connect with PLAY colleagues, share resources and engage around the VALUE of play year-round!

The annual Conference on the Value of Play, now in its eleventh year, brings together leading 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 globe.  “PLAY FOR ALL” will explore play across the lifespan and address universal issues of health, education, access, equity, inclusion, design and more.


The US Play Coalition is thrilled to announce the current slate of headliners for the 2020 ONLINE Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR ALL.

Lise Aangeenbrug is Executive Director of the Outdoor Industry Association, a membership-driven trade organization for the outdoor industry.  For the last 30 years, Lise’s career has been in service of protecting land and wildlife habitat, building parks and trails, and connecting communities to the outdoors.

Aangeenbrug will address efforts her organization is spearheading to get kids, families and entire communities PLAYING outside.  Learn more…

 

Michael J. Hynes, Ed.D., is an educator, scholar, and thought leader. A superintendent of public schools on Long Island, New York, Hynes has also published numerous articles and featured in numerous podcasts on school leadership.  His article on “Play, Recess and Mental Health”  was #1 for 2018 in EDUCATION WEEK.

Hynes’ presentation will be “Creating a School Vision of Play and Wellness: The Importance of a Balanced Approach to Education.”   More details...

 

There are dozens more Research Symposium and Educational Sessions at our 2020 ONLINE Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR ALL.  Stay tuned for more details.


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 has been moved ONLINE for 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It will be our first-ever online Play Conference!


March 24 #WePlayChat – The Growing Need For Equitable Unstructured Play In Schools

Join us on Tuesday, March 24 at 9:00pm EST as we welcome co-moderators Eric Saibel and Scott Bedley from California to discuss the topic, “The growing need for equitable unstructured play in schools.”

New this year, #WePlayChat has a new look at feel. We are changing the flow of these professional learning opportunities to cover the what, how and why during chat. We look forward to the enriching dialogue this will create each month.

About The Moderators

Scott Bedley is a 5th Grade teacher from Orange County, CA. He is an Orange County Teacher of the Year (TOY) and California TOY Finalist. Eric Saibel is a middle school principal from Marin County, California. He is also an EdWeek and Edutopia contributor and proponent of standards-based grading. Along with Tim Bedley, they co-founded Global School Play Day in 2015. The first year saw 65,000 children participate; this past February, over 560,000 children from 75 nations participated. This growth is due to their collaborative leadership in providing a strong voice to the value of play through their collective networks.

Here are the questions Eric an Scott will be covering during the #WePlayChat dialogue as well as some additional context to guide this topic:

Dr. Peter Gray’s research demonstrates the adverse effects of the decline of play in children of this generation. We can combat the epidemic of anxiety and depression in American youth by embracing unstructured play. Benefits include physical and emotional wellness, collaboration, pro-social skill development, conflict resolution, creativity. It is also an equity issue – many communities don’t have adequate open space or play facilities for kids, or are unsafe for children.

Q1. What are specific ways you are helping students/parents incorporate play during this time of social isolation?

Q2. What obstacles are you facing in adopting more play-based strategies in the classroom? At home?

Q3. Why is it so important that we talk about equity when talking about unstructured play in schools?

Q4. What are next steps we can take NOW to promote unstructured play and inspire more schools to participate in the 7th Global School Play Day on 2.3.21?____________________________________________________________________________________

#WePlayChat is our monthly Twitter chat for anyone seeking to gain knowledge around the wide open field of play. Launched in 2016, it is the longest running monthly play based chat in the world. Our #WePlayChat participants come from 9 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.

Join us and contribute to the global conversation around the value of play!  When the time come for our chat, jump on Twitter and search for the hashtag #WePlayChat and follow along on the “Latest” tab.  Feel free to like, reply and retweet.  Just be sure to include the hashtag #WePlayChat so your input is part of the feed!

Learn more about #WePlayChat online at https://usplaycoalition.org/weplaychat-on-twitter


Thankful for Our
Longtime Top Supporters

With Valentine’s Day behind us, we want to give some special love to four longtime, top supporters.

Since our founding MORE THAN TEN YEARS AGO (in 2009!), these four sponsors have been at our side, giving top level financial support to insure that the US Play Coalition could not only grow, but also evolve and expand its reach to spread the importance of the VALUE of PLAY.

They are truly are leaders in advancing the play movement. Their support comes from their deep belief in our work, our message, and our network.

 

Please click on their logos to learn more about each.


February 24 #WePlayChat on Recess and Play in School with Dr. Michael Hynes

Join us on Monday, February 24 at 6:00pm EST as we welcome co-moderator Dr. Michael Hynes from Long Island, New York to discuss the topic, “The Importance of Recess and Play in School.

New this year, #WePlayChat has a new look at feel. We are changing the flow of these professional learning opportunities to cover the what, how and why during chat. We look forward to the enriching dialogue this will create each month.

About The Moderator

Dr. Michael Hynes works as a public school superintendent of schools for the Port Washington School District, Fulbright Specialist and an associate professor of education and leadership on Long Island, NY. His mission is to spread the message of the importance of a holistic approach to educating children. He emphasizes the importance of play, recess in schools, mental health and yoga and mindfulness in the classroom. Dr. Hynes is a former assistant superintendent, principal and teacher. Hynes is also a public school advocate, TEDx and keynote speaker and has published numerous articles and featured on several podcasts and articles on school leadership. Hynes has focused his work on transforming schools by tapping into Potential Based Education, which focuses on the significance of social, emotional, physical and cognitive development for students as well as developing strategic plans for school buildings and school districts. Dr. Hynes educates the masses on global school initiatives and universal best practices. He has studied and worked with the Finnish school system. Hynes received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Bethany College and his doctorate in educational administration from Dowling College. He has undergone professional training to integrate organizational learning and school leadership into programs at New York University, Stony Brook University and Harvard University. Dr. Hynes has been awarded the “Friend of Education Award” and the “Distinguished Leadership Award” by Phi Delta Kappa as well as numerous other awards related to leadership.

Here are the questions Dr. Hynes will be covering during the #WePlayChat dialogue:

Q1. What can you do to make sure all children receive the proper amount of recess every day in school?

Q2. How can we foster more mix-aged play in school?

Q3. How much recess do you feel all elementary children should have every day and why?

Q4. Knowing that self-directed play is critical for child development, what is one thing an educator can do to make that happen in school?____________________________________________________________________________________

#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 9 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.


Headliners Announced for the 2020 Conference on the Value of Play

The US Play Coalition is thrilled to announce the current slate of headliners for the 2020 Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR ALL, March 29-April 1, at Clemson University.

John Whyte, MD, MPH is a popular physician and writer who has been communicating to the public about health issues for nearly two decades.  He is currently the Chief Medical Officer, WebMD.  In this role, Dr. Whyte leads efforts to develop and expand strategic partnerships that create meaningful change around important and timely public health issues.

Whyte will share insights on social media, consumerism, health and the connection to play.  Read more…

 

Lise Aangeenbrug is Executive Director of the Outdoor Foundation, the charitable arm of the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA).  For the last 30 years, Lise’s career has been in service of protecting land and wildlife habitat, building parks and trails, and connecting communities to the outdoors.  In March, Aangeenbrug will take up the mantle of Executive Director of Outdoor Industry Association and continue serving as president of the Outdoor Foundation.

Aangeenbrug will address efforts her organization is spearheading to get kids, families and entire communities PLAYING outside.  Learn more…

 

Michael J. Hynes, Ed.D., is an educator, scholar, and thought leader. A superintendent of public schools on Long Island, New York, Hynes has also published numerous articles and featured in numerous podcasts on school leadership.  His article on “Play, Recess and Mental Health”  was #1 for 2018 in EDUCATION WEEK.

Hynes’ presentation will be “Creating a School Vision of Play and Wellness: The Importance of a Balanced Approach to Education.”   More details...

 

In addition to these headliners, there will be dozens more amazing presenters!  Click here to see a list of the education and research symposium sessions.

 

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.

  

January 2020 #WePlayChat – A New Decade of Play

Join us on Tuesday, January 28 at 4:00pm EST as we welcome co-moderator Ryan Fahey from Ottawa, Canada to discuss the topic, “A New Decade of Play”.

Starting this month, #WePlayChat will have a new look at feel. We are changing the flow of these professional learning opportunities. Moving forward, we will cover the who, what, how and why during each chat. We look forward to the enriching dialogue this will create in 2020.


About The Moderator

Ryan Fahey is a dedicated husband, two-time author, international speaker, teacher, and consultant in the fields of wellness education, leadership and business development. Ryan serves as the Lead for Special Projects and Campaigns at Physical and Health Education Canada as well as Play Ambassador Coordinator for the US Play Coalition. During his free time, you can find Ryan on the trails, reading a good book or drinking great coffee with his wife Amber. Ryan and his wife both reside in beautiful Ottawa, ON and continues to be a strong advocate for play in the north.

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

Q1. Who will lead innovative play initiatives in this new decade?
Q2. What do you think the next ten years of play will look like?
Q3. How will new play programs, initiatives and campaigns look in this new decade?
Q4. Why will it be more important than ever for people to play in this next decade?


#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 9 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.


Reflecting on Play
from Back in the Day

As a kid your imagination is filled with toys, video games, monsters, sports and a room full of blank canvases to allow your brain to explore. When I was a kid growing up in inner-city New Jersey, most of my afternoons and weekends were surrounded by family members and friends.

The first thing I can vividly remember doing as a kid was learning how to play football from my mother and father, who in his past was a 2x all-state high school selection. Early on, I would be out in the neighborhood with my cousins and friends playing street football with my mother watching nervously from the side, praying I didn’t get hurt playing with teenagers three times my size and 10 years older than me. Football remained a love of mine until 7th grade.

My grandmother bought me a mongoose bike, black and orange interior design with black rims and wheels with orange handlebars and pedals. Riding that bike was my favorite thing to do after school, besides throwing the football. You could bet your top dollar I was gonna be riding down the biggest hills, curviest roads, and most dangerous turns every single day.

I once had a bad experience in my playful childhood. I had sandals on, and I was about 6 years old, speeding down the hill on my bike. I noticed I was going too fast and tried to use my brakes, but the speed was overwhelming. I ended up using my sandals and scraped all of my toes and blood was everywhere. I remember sitting in the middle of the street crying and my grandmother picking me up, cleaning me off, and giving me a lollipop. Once I recovered from my gruesome injuries, I did not ride my bike for weeks.

On weekends, I would play video games with my friends and cousins, but my favorite thing we did was play hide and go seek and tag until the street lights came on.

Playing outside and being away from my room was the cool thing to do when I was a kid, and I took every advantage of being active, free, and young as much as I could. Being outside taught me my love for sports and what it meant to be full of life and imagination.

 

 

 

Aamir Simms is a junior at Clemson University and an intern for the US Play Coalition.

 


Here is your LAST CHANCE to
GIVE THE GIFT OF PLAY with a
year-end donation to our Grants Fund

Inspired by the generosity of so many, we are extending our action and research grant fundraising effort through December 31. Please support our action and research grants with a gift of any denomination to the US Play Coalition.

We will give 100% of all donations made through December 31, 2019, to our grants fund. There are no hidden costs or fees…everything we raise through the end of the year goes to our 2020 grants. Please go online to GIVE PLAY- http://bit.ly/DonatePlay

YOU can 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. Big or small, your gift MATTERS!!

Grant funding is a distinctive feature of our annual Play Conference, and we are proud to have awarded close to $60,000 in funding to date.   The 2019 grant winners are bringing play to children in Baltimore and Frisco, Texas, providing Spanish tools for families to understand the benefits of toys and developing a tool to assess the quality and efficacy of outdoor play environments.  Check out all of the projects our grants have supported over the years – https://usplaycoalition.org/action-research-grants

Our 2019 goal is to fund at least one Research Grant and one Action Grant at our upcoming 2020 Play Conference.  All funds raised through 12/31/19 will go to our grant fund – 100% of it!

YOU can help us provide action and research grants in 2020 with your gift!  We can’t wait to share the future of play with you!

 

 

The U.S. Play Coalition
The U.S. Play Coalition is an international network of individuals and organizations that promotes the value of play throughout life. Formed in 2009, the coalition is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The coalition is housed in Clemson University’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management department, part of the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences.