PLAY Institute Approved for three hours of SC-CCCCD training credits

Play and Education from a Global Perspective

 

Sunday, March 31, 2019, at the Madren Center on the Clemson Campus from 9:00 to 12:30 (includes a 30 minute break).

This PLAY Institutes is essentially 4 workshops in one amazing 3-hour training that kickoff our conference programming on Sunday morning.

SPECIAL NOTE – This session has been approved for three hours of SC-CCCCD state-approved training credits will be provided in the Curriculum Category.

The goal of this institute is to provide conference participants with new ways to engage students of all ages in play-based, interactive learning both indoors and outdoors. Four presenters will provide current information on educational practices in the United States, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. Presentations will include educational slides, video clips and photos of school settings in the U. S. and other countries that model the use of nature and the outdoors within an educational context. Presenters will pose questions and encourage dialogue with the audience. Attendees will receive handouts and the format will be informal and interactive. Three hours of professional development for professionals in early childhood education and related fields will be available for participants.

The presenters are as follows:

Dr Tracey Hunter-Doniger, Associate Professor, College of Charleston – Her workshop is on Forest Schools in Germany and the Netherlands and focuses on promoting creativity and autonomy for preschool children in natural, outdoor learning environments.

Mary MacKenzie, M. ED, United Kingdom and the Institute for Child Success. Her workshop is on Creating Balance for Young Children and Childhood Unplugged, emphasizing ways to teach children in outdoor learning settings and to encourage physical activity in natural settings..

Dr. Dee Stegelin, Institute for Child Success and Professor Emeritus-Clemson University. Her workshop is An Overview of the Reggio Emilia Approach: Bringing the Indoor and Outdoor Learning Environments Together.

Dr. Heather Von Bank, Associate Professor, Minnesota State University: Project-Based Learning Strategies for All Learners. She speaks to the benefits of using project-based learning for both young children, adolescents, and adults as an effective way to engage them in real-world and highly interactive learning.

FOR OUR SOUTH CAROLINA EDUCATORS THAT ONLY WANT TO ATTEND THIS INSTITUTE, WE HAVE A SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU!

Click the box below to register for this special  training for just $15/person.  That’s 3 hours of training for just $15/person!!

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.


AIA CEU Approved Sessions Announced

 

For our many architect and design play friends, check out  the AIA CEU approved sessions at the 10th Anniversary Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR LIFE, March 31- April 3 in Clemson, South Carolina:

 

 

Play for All: Providing Accessible and Inclusive Outdoor Play and Learning Environments – Ji Hyun Oh

The purpose of this presentation is to share the study that examined provisions of playground environments in a preschool setting and to discuss how outdoor play spaces and play elements can support or hinder rich play experiences for children with and without disabilities.

Reframing the Playground: European Play Precedents at Tulsa’s Gathering Place – Chelsea Hoffman, Teri Hendy, Peter Heuken

European playgrounds provided the inspiration for the largest public playground in the United States, Tulsa’s Gathering Place. This virtual tour of precedents and the Tulsa installations explores how European-style play innovations can find a home on this side of The Pond.

Taking the idea of an inclusive playground past the label to true Universal Design – Alice Reese and Hannah Linter

Today’s buzzword in play is the accessible playground. Is a true inclusive playground limited by this label and idea? A true inclusive playground takes accessibility several steps further towards universal design.  The key to universal design is an environment that enables versus a play piece defining the user as disabled.

Blank Slate: Design for Learning, Exploration and Physical Growth – Paul Russell

Today’s buzzword in play is the accessible playground. Is a true inclusive playground limited by this label and idea? A true inclusive playground takes accessibility several steps further towards universal design.  The key to universal design is an environment that enables versus a play piece defining the user as disabled.

Temple University Students Design an Eco-schoolyard for Play and Learning at Greenberg Elementary – Lolly Tai

Temple University landscape architecture students assisted in the design of the eco-schoolyard for play and learning at Greenberg Elementary School in Philadelphia. Through a comprehensive design process and collaboration between university and school, Temple students demonstrated how their role impacted the initial impetus for creating a healthy and green schoolyard.

Playable Infrastructure – Meghan Talarowski

How do we make space for play? Through places, policies, and people. This session will discuss the role of the designer, the developer, and the community in fostering play for all ages through real world examples and step by step recipes of successful “playable infrastructure”.

 

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.


LACES Approved Sessions Announced

For our many landscape architect play friends, check out all of the LACES approved sessions at the 10th Anniversary Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR LIFE, March 31- April 3 in Clemson, South Carolina:

  • Playable Infrastructure
  • What type of play is that? Categorizing play-types to objectively evaluate outdoor play environments
  • Socio-Environmental Barriers to Outdoor Play and Their Impact on Child Health Outcomes
  • Free play and alternative education pedagogies
  • Hardware or software in provisioning public play spaces for children: An analysis of forces at play
  • Action Research on Play for Life: The Making of Transitional Play Unit for Two-Year-Old Classrooms
  • Play for All: Providing Accessible and Inclusive Outdoor Play and Learning Environments
  • A Field-Testing Study on Outdoor Play Environments: Findings and Lessons Learned
  • Play by the River – Bringing natural, all-ages play to a new River Garden by the Mississippi
  • Learning through doing: The benefits to learning through planning for inclusive play.
  • I’m Tired of Saying “No”: Creating invitations for boisterous and adventurous play in the classroom
  • Sensory Inclusive Play: Partnering with KultcureCity to become Sensory Inclusive Certified
  • Reframing the Playground: European Play Precedents at Tulsa’s Gathering Place
  • Traffic Gardens and Dramatic/Challenging Play: Engagement as a Means of Facilitating Risk Competence
  • Developing Minds and Bodies Through Loose Parts Play
  • Naturalized Outdoor Learning Environments in Childcare Facilities: A Review of Policies in 3 States
  • Rotary PlayGarden: An Inclusive Play Success Story
  • Approaches for Evaluating the Design of Natural Playspaces to Sup-port Children’s Outdoor Play
  • The Role of a Playground Consultant
  • Inclusive Play Panel
  • “But, I have nothing to do in the park!” – Thinking about places for teens
  • Elevating Lifelong Play to Create Healthy Communities
  • Guerrilla Playfare:Lessons Learned From Parkour & Streetsport For Designing More Play-Friendly Cities
  • Taking the idea of an inclusive playground past the label to true Universal Design
  • Blank Slate: Design for Learning, Exploration and Physical Growth
  • Temple University Students Design an Eco-schoolyard for Play and Learning at Greenberg Elementary
  • How to Make Your Community Playful
  • Creating Playful Learning Communities
  • Lighting Play Environments for Today & the Future

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.


2019 Lineup of PLAY Institutes Announced for 10th Anniversary Conference

We are thrilled to announce the 2019 lineup of PLAY Institutes for the 10th Anniversary Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR LIFE.

These PLAY Institutes are 3-hour topic-specific trainings that kickoff our conference programming on Sunday, March 31 from 9:00am-12:30pm (includes a 30 minutes break).

Pick one of these great PLAY Institutes to start your Play Conference off with a bang!

Primal Play Playshop – How to Move and Play Like an Animal to Become More Human

Darryl Edwards, founder of HEALTH Unplugged, owner of Fitness Explorer Training and author of Paleo Fitness and Paleo from A to Z

Get fitter, stronger and healthier using the power of Primal Play. Regardless of your relationship with activity; whether you have a love affair with fitness and relish a new challenge or hate exercise but want to get passionate about movement again – you will gain practical movement skills that will assist you in performing everyday, recreational and extraordinary physical tasks more effectively using the power of play. You will also have a lot of fun doing it!

 

Play and Education from a Global Perspective

SPECIAL NOTE – This session has been approved for three hours of state-approved training credits will be provided in the area of Child Growth and Development.

Dolores (Dee) Stegelin – PhD, Professor Emeritus-Early Childhood Education, Clemson University and Research Fellow at the Institute for Child Success
Tracey Hunter-Doniger, PhD – Associate Professor-Art Education, College of Charleston
Mary Mackenzie – Senior Fellow, Institute for Child Success
Heather Von Bank, PhD – Chair and Associate Professor of Family Consumer Science, Minnesota State University-Mankato

The goal of this institute is to provide conference participants with new ways to engage students of all ages in play-based, interactive learning both indoors and outdoors. Four presenters will provide current information on educational practices in the United States, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. Presentations will include educational slides, video clips and photos of school settings in the U. S. and other countries that model the use of nature and the outdoors within an educational context. Presenters will pose questions and encourage dialogue with the audience. Attendees will receive handouts and the format will be informal and interactive. Three hours of professional development for professionals in early childhood education and related fields will be available for participants.

 

Respawn: A Gaming-Based Approach to Play That Optimizes Therapeutic Success Through Adaptive Engagement

Erik Johnson, OTR/L,  Chief Medical Officer for Operation Supply Drop & Warfighter Engaged, Consultant on new Xbox Adaptive Gaming Controller and Former Army Occupational Therapist

This session is designed to describe different emerging technologies available for use in therapeutic play and how the use of video games and technology can open an alternative world of play for people with disabilities.  It will also explore how industry is looking at inclusive design as it approaches game development and overall engagement with digital play.  We will discuss the evolution of the new Xbox Adaptive Controller and how Microsoft adopted the help of occupational therapists to create a product that caters to anyone with physical or cognitive impairments.

 

Play Risks: Exploring Research & Interventions

Ahren Hoffman, Director of Education & Jean Bailey, Educational Consultant
American Specialty Toy Retailing Association

The importance of play for children is well documented and the research is universal on the benefits of play! It is the very fuel children use to explore the world, develop skills and practice emotions. It is the catalyst for adults to relieve stress, connect to others and be more productive. There are societal concerns and risks related to the increasing lack of play across the lifespan, especially in childhood. What is the toll on neglecting play?

This session will explore a timeline of play risks across the lifespan like technology, creativity, aging population and more. Attendees will gain insights through thought leadership and research as well as participate in discussions on play interventions to conquer risks and advocate for the power of play.

 

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.

 


December 13th #WePlayChat on “Serious Play” with Darryl Edwards

Join us on Thursday, December 13th at 4:00pm EST as we welcome co-moderator Darryl Edwards out of the United Kingdom to our #WePlayChat on “Serious Play.”

Darryl Edwards, Founder of HEALTH Unplugged and owner of Fitness Explorer Training, is an international speaker, coach, nutritionist and author of Paleo Fitness and Paleo from A to Z.  He has been published in titles such as Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Elle, Men’s Fitness and featured on the BBC, ABC in Australia and the international documentary We Love Paleo.

After almost two decades working as a technologist in investment banking, Darryl transformed his health after adopting an ancestral model to well-being.  Darryl now advises people on maintaining a healthy lifestyle – amidst the epidemic of obesity and other chronic lifestyle diseases.

As the founder of the PRIMAL PLAY methodology, he makes activity fun, effective and engaging while getting individuals healthier, fitter and stronger in the process. He specializes in working with children from 4 to 94 – fitness for those who hate to exercise – as well as for those who love it but relish a new challenge. We are excited to have Darryl’s expertise leading the conversation!

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

  • Q1. What is Serious Play?
  • Q2. Does the emphasis on fun trivialise play?
  • Q3. What are the effects of ‘serious play’ on society?
  • Q4. Does ‘Serious play’ have a place in the workplace? Education space?

#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.


R&D Project Utilizing Play to Link Design with Classroom Pedagogy Supported by Giving TuesPLAY Funds

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

The 2018 Research Grant Winner is a project from the Natural Learning Initiative at North Carolina State University titled “Transitional Play: Investigating the play value of a transitional semi-covered space in an early childhood classroom.”  The goal of this research and development (R&D) effort is architectural innovation and associated evidence demonstrating the positive effects of childcare center indoor-outdoor transitional spaces on child and teacher behavior.  Initiated by the research grant, this proposed R&D project is expected to provide a gateway to creating the first viable prototype of a transitional play and learning space. Findings will be translated into design guidelines demonstrating how a transitional space can become an integral part of the outdoor learning environment and add pedagogical value to classroom design.

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?!)

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!

To support great projects like this, make sure to donate to #GivingTuesPLAY TODAY!  You can help us provide action and research grants in 2019 with your Giving TuesPLAY gift!

 

 

 


Program Educating on Access to Play for Under-Resourced Children, Especially Girls of Color, Supported by Giving TuesPLAY Funds

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

One of the 2018 Action Grants will support access to play for under-resourced children in Charleston, SC, especially girls and girls of color.  Leaders at the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry in Charleston will host “Unequal PLAYing Field: A Panel Discussion on the Importance of Accessing Equal Play for Girls and Girls of Color.”  

The panel and related training will advance ideas and share information about disparities in access to safe, equitable play options for under-resourced children, especially girls and girls of color. Panelists are experts in the field of play, child development, and working with under-resourced communities and will offer first-hand knowledge about the challenges and opportunities to level the playing field for all children. The panel will target teachers, educators, advocates, parents and administrators to spark action on behalf of all Charleston’s children, especially those in under-served communities and communities of color.

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?!)

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!

To support great projects like this, make sure to donate to #GivingTuesPLAY TODAY!  You can help us provide action and research grants in 2019 with your Giving TuesPLAY gift!

 

 

 


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.   The 2018 grant winners are utilizing play to help children build friendships, providing access especially for girls of color, and linking architecture design with classroom pedagogy.  Check out all of 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!


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!

 


I Used To Think Play Was _________. But Now I Think Play Is _______

After teaching the “Benefits of Play in Child Development” course for the last 10 years, I have read this opening line in students’ reflection paper many times. This year my thoughts about play have also changed. I used to think that play was something I could teach my students but now I think that play is something we need to experience to be understood. The focus of my teaching has always been to help college students understand the benefits of unstructured play by helping me organize a Play Day; a community event where families play with used and recyclable materials. The students create the games or activities for the Play Day but this summer I changed the theme to an Adventure Playground. For those of you reading this, and have just crawled out from under a pre-fab playground set, an Adventure Playground provides children with loose parts and encourages them to engage in freely-chosen, child-directed play.

But…before I could host my first Adventure Playground Play Day, I had to rethink my own thoughts about what an unstructured Play Day would look like. Then I had to convince my students that an adventure playground was the way to go, and finally I had to pull it all together, and get the community to show up.

Thinking Playful Thoughts

Although it was not difficult to image what an adventure playground could look like, kids playing with ‘junk’, it took me some time to accept the idea that an unstructured Play Day could work. At the time I was reading a book about playful intelligence; in fact I had the pleasure of meeting the author at the US Play Coalition Conference in Clemson SC last April. I serendipitously pre-ordered the book by Anthony DeBenedet titled Playful Intelligence: The Power of Living Lightly in a Serious World, and discovered after getting home from the conference, and finding the book on my doorstep, that I had met the author at the conference.  Anthony’s book helped me to look at play from a different perspective, the adult point of view. As a university professor, I teach students about children development from a play perspective. My students will one day work with children as a teacher, counselor, occupational therapist, or child life specialist. I am also the parent of two kiddos who love to pretend that they are puppies. I am so steeped in teaching and advocating for children’s play that I forgot to consider adult play! Some of the key points in Anthony’s book helped me to realize that I needed to change things with my play class. That I can use my sense of wonder to rediscover and embrace my imagination; to think about a Play Day that could be different. I knew that play is for all people; I just had to remember that I also needed play.

I think she might be crazy?!

While the students were curious to learn more about adventure playgrounds, they were not sold on the idea, yet. One student thought I was a bit crazy to bring junk to a nature center and let kids play with boxes, pallets, and tubes. After reading parts of Penny Wilson’s Playwork Primer and talking with Morgan Leichter-Saxby co-founder of Pop-up Adventure Playground, the students were beginning to think of themselves as play workers instead of event planners. The role of the play worker is to provide the loose parts and allow children opportunities for risk and child-directed. However, moving to the play worker mindset takes some practice. The students who worked at daycare centers and summer youth programs, had a “safety first” mentality. Students realized they did not have to rush to help children at the Play Day; that in fact they should think of themselves as a resource and not as a remedy. Students appreciated our conversation with Morgan, and were fascinated at the scenes from the documentary “The Land.” They were completely surprised at the level of trust the play workers had with the children as we watched the kiddos use knives, build fires, and scale trees. One student reflected, “Now I know that by telling a child to be careful in the middle of their play, it restricts their play, and I’m not going to do that.”

If you build an adventure playground, they will come?

When I first started hosting Play Days I would make a flyer, post them around town at different businesses and childcare facilities, and hope for the best. Within the last 5 years, I have noticed that the more social networking sites that I posted my event to, it has increased the attendance at the Play Day. I always contact local media outlets to promote the event, however, even after I tell my students about my efforts, and encourage them to post to their social media pages, they are still unsure if anyone would show up. However, it always works! About 60 people came to the Adventure Playground Play Day. Not only was the kiddy-pool filled with mud a favorite, the children were eager to paint their toes, legs, and faces. The parents appreciated the chance for their children to get messy without having to worry about cleaning up the space, that was our responsibility.

The students were concerned about the mess afterwards, however they noted that it was a mess worth cleaning up. They suggested that for “next time” I should warn students about the mess. Although I do plan to give the future student a heads-up, I also want them to experience the Play Day in their own way. If someone had told me, 15 years ago, after I helped my colleagues Joyce Hemphill and Laura Scheinholtz arrange a Play Day, that play would be the focus of my research, advocacy, and teaching philosophy I would never have believed it. You cannot warn people about some things in life, you just have to let them experience it for themselves.

 

About the Author

Heather Von Bank, PhD, is Chair and Associate Professor of Family Consumer Science at Minnesota State University-Mankato.  She teaches and advises in the Child Development and Family Studies area. Her specialty areas include research on parent–child relations during the stage of adolescence and family life issues. Dr. Von Bank is co-author of the book “The Power of Playful Learning.”