#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.


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.
 

The ABCs of the 2017 Play Conference Research Symposium and Educational Sessions

The full detailed schedule is coming soon with dozens more session titles…but until then, below is an alphabetical list of the Research Symposium and Educational Sessions that have been confirmed for the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play: Where Design Meets Play.  Check back often because we will update the list as our presenters continue to confirm their sessions.

 playing with boxes from Pat Rumbaugh   DSCF1349   IMG_2667

Be sure to REGISTER TODAY because the early bird deadline for this PLAYful conference is February 24.

  • 7 Elements of PLAY & the Impact on Learning in the Classroom
  • A Call for Trauma Informed Play
  • All Grown Up! Emerging Trends with Play Past Childhood: Parkour, Parks, and Programming
  • Ambassadors for Play – Next Generation Play Workers
  • An Invitation to the Playground: Obesity and the Power of Play and Recreation
  • Bringing play into the architecture curriculum
  • Brown Bag STEM Challenge: Experiencing STEM through Play
  • Building a Community of PLAY Through an Interdisciplinary University Collaborative
  • CAN SCREEN TIME BE QUALITY TIME?
  • Caretakers of Wonder: Promoting Science Concepts with Playful Activities
  • Creating Family Friendly Cities
  • Designing Effective Playground Environments to Stimulate Play
  • Designing for a Playful Park: Creating a Play program for Boston’s Greenway
  • Designing Play and Recreation Environments that Turn Research into Practice
  • Documenting Play With Video – A Curricular Lens
  • Equitable Play Opportunities: A Social Justice Issue
  • Generation Migration:  An Intergenerational Adult Day Camp Experience
  • Get PLAYFUL with DANCE
  • Getting Out of the Way: Designing for Playwork
  • Healing through Play: Play Opportunities as Positive Distractions at Pediatric Healthcare Environment
  • Imagination Playground, Tinker Toys, and Play
  • Impact of Adlerian Play Therapy on Externalizing Behaviors of At-Risk Preschoolers
  • Integrating STEAM and 21st Century Learning Skills into Summer Camp
  • It All Starts on the Playground: Magical Bridge Playground and Beyond
  • Kidmania: Designing for Playing, Learning, and Growing
  • Learn Through Play : A Post-Occupancy Evaluation of the Smale River Front Park’s Adventure Playground, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • LET US Play: A New Approach to Old Games
  • Meeting Preschool Teachers Where They Are! Creating Digital Play Landscapes in Rural Communities
  • Monkey Brains and Monkey Bars
  • Nature Play Begins at Your Zoo and Aquarium: The Phoenix Zoo’s Successful Adventure in Bringing Nature Play to the Community
  • Outdoor Classroom (subject but not the correct name of presentation)
  • Parents as Potential Gatekeepers of Play:  Strategies for Managing Overparenting in Out-of-School Time
  • Parents Can Read, Rattle & Roll
  • Patterns, Place, and Play: How Design Initiatives Can Highlight What Is Right In Front of Us
  • Play Everywhere:  Creating Family-Friendly Cities
  • Play Facilitation: Choices that Count
  • Play Facilitation: Unleashing Power of Play for Children
  • Play For All: Inclusive Playscape Design
  • Play in American Life, a Tribute to Dr. Joe L. Frost:  Meet the Authors
  • Play to Innovate
  • Play Under Pressure
  • Play University: A Hands-on Approach to Guiding Children Through the Stages of Play
  • Playful Pedagogy: Playwork and Playing Out
  • Playing on Two Wheels
  • Playing to Heal: A Trauma Sensitive Sports Practice
  • Pop Up Play: Affordable, Safe, and Community Driven Solutions
  • Pretend Play and Brain Growth
  • Promoting the Power of Play Through a Regional Play Conference
  • Pure Play at the Fair: How temporary space leads to permanent play
  • Quantitative Assessment of Playground Quality and Inclusivity
  • Reclaiming Play
  • The Adult Play Cycle: Sex, Drugs, Netflix & Chill
  • The Connections Between Invention and Play
  • The LiiNK Project: The effects of play and character development on attentional fatigue in public school grades K & 1
  • The LiiNK Project: The effects of play and character development on classroom behaviors, BMI, and character scores in public school grades K & 1
  • The Magic of Children’s Gardens
  • The Power of Play: Improving School Climate Through Play
  • The Shape of the New Adventure Play Movement
  • The Transformational Power of an Inclusive Playground
  • Unleashing the Preschooler’s Potential in the Classroom and Beyond: How Movement & Play Power Learning
  • Why Play Must be Open-Ended, Mindful, and Wacky in Order to be Worthwhile!
  • You want me to do what?

Landscape Structures – For a Better Tomorrow We Play Today

We recently launched a campaign that we hope will start a new dialogue in the playground industry. It asks all of us to consider why we invest in our children, playgrounds and in play. With the greater impact of play on children and our communities in mind, we created a video that puts a spotlight on what we at Landscape Structures all instinctively know but don’t always put into words: For a better tomorrow, we play today.

Play is, of course, valuable because it encourages physical fitness and fun. However, we believe the playground instills deeper values in children like leadership, perseverance and cooperation. It’s these values that ultimately shape the adults they become and the reason why we are so dedicated to bringing play to all children. Watch our video and learn more about the campaign at shapedbyplay.com. If you feel a connection to the message, share it with your online followers and tell everyone how you’ve been #shapedbyplay.


January 2017 #WePlayChat: Play Based Experiential Learning

Join us Friday, January 27 at 1:00pm EST as we welcome Amowi Phillips to our #WePlayChat on “Play Based Experiential Learning.” Amowi  has a life-long interest in children, play, culture and design in African contexts. She is a strong advocate for securing kid-friendly public cultural spaces in urban Africa. She works as a social innovator and concept team leader through Mmofra Foundation on Playtime in Africa, a children’s park and natural learning project in Accra, Ghana which is the only one of its kind in the country.

Here are the chat questions that will guide our dialogue:

Q1. What are some global examples of play-based experiential learning (#PBXL)?
Q2. In your community, how is learning from play valued?
Q3. What environments work best for playful hands-on learning?
Q4. How can child-centered design and public spaces promote playful learning? 

#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.


#WePlayChat: A Year In Review

In 2016, the US Play Coalition launched a monthly Twitter chat, dubbed #WePlayChat. #WePlayChat is a FREE professional development opportunity for anyone seeking to gain knowledge around the wide open field of play. #WePlayChat also serves as a platform to engage and network with other organizations and individuals through social media. There was great discussion throughout the year – each month with a different play themed topic and chat moderators who used their unique experience and expertise to facilitate the dialogue.

With the first successful year of our #WePlayChat in the books, we wanted to take a moment to share

The top tweets of #WePlayChat2016!

Thank you to all of those individuals, partners, sponsors and organizations who have been a critical part of our #WePlayChat learning opportunities this past year. We are excited to continue the conversation in 2017 and beyond. Join us for #WePlayChat2017! Find us on Twitter @USPlayCoalition


The Genius of Play Becomes “Play Collaborator” with the US Play Coalition

The Genius of Play, the Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) research-backed initiative to bring more play into kids’ lives, has engaged in a new partnership to become a play collaborator with the US Play Coalition.

The Genius of Play will be a highly visible partner and participate in a featured educational session during the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play: Where Design Meets Play, as it continues to spread its message about the important developmental benefits of play.

“We are thrilled to be able to partner with the US Play Coalition on their biggest event, the annual conference on the value of play!” said Anna Yudina, TIA’s director of marketing initiatives. “By becoming a play collaborator with the coalition, The Genius of Play will be able to reach hundreds of play professionals and advocates to help amplify our message of raising happier and healthier kids through the power of play. What’s more, our missions are perfectly aligned, which means there will be many opportunities to collaborate on various initiatives in the future.”

Stephanie Garst, executive director of the US Play Coalition, said: “We are excited to break new ground with our play collaboration with The Genius of Play. You can’t think of children and toys without thinking of play…it just makes sense! We are big fans of the work The Genius of Play is doing on social media to educate people on the meaning and the value of play. It is this work that truly brought us together.”

The US Play Coalition’s annual Conference on the Value of Play brings together leading play researchers, park and recreation professionals, educators, health scientists, landscape architects, designers, planners, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the country. The three-day event includes keynote and featured speakers, play institutes, PLAYtalks, research symposium, educational sessions, roundtables, grant opportunities, networking, and opportunities for play.

 


Inaugural Youth Development Practitioner Award to be Given at 2017 Conference on the Value of Play

The US Playli-large-logoy Coalition is pleased to partner with Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute for their first ever Youth Development Practitioner Award.  The purpose of this award is to recognize outstanding performance in the creation and implementation of youth development programs or services. The inaugural recipient will be named at the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play in Clemson, SC.

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

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2016 Youth Development Practitioner Award.  Deadline for nominations is December 15, 2016. The winner of the 2016 Youth Development Practitioner Award will be notified in mid-January and recognized at the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play at Clemson University, April 2-5, 2017.  The winner will have conference fees paid, hotel accommodations and up to $500 in travel to attend the Play Conference.

2016 Youth Development Practitioner Award Application Process

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

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

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

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

If you have any questions, please contact Melanie Bargar at 864-787-2893.


Powerful LiiNK Project is Another Beneficiary of Giving TuesPLAY Funds

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

reserach grant winners 2016Debbie Rhea and Alexander Rivchun from Texas Christian University were the 2016 Research Grant winners for their work on the LiiNK Project.  The LiiNK team has been making headlines with their incredible work to get more and more frequent recess in the daily school schedukids-on-climbing-rings le. Their successes in Texas elementary schools have gone viral!

The LiiNK Project (Let’s inspire innovation ‘N Kids) is in its fourth year overall and its second year in public schools (14 elementary schools total). We were very fortunate to receive a research grant from the U.S. Play Coalition to continue our work in the public schools to improve learning through play and character building. LiiNK’s intervention encompasses three aspects: 1) teacher and administrator training on how and why the combination of unstructured, outdoor play and character development are important to the school day; 2) implementing four-15 minute unstructured, outdoor play sessions daily in the schools; 3) implementing four- 15 minute character development lessons weekly in the schools. The research grant funds were used this year to help implement this intervention in 10 more elementary schools at the grades K and 1 levels.kids-on-playground-structure

Schools have become so focused on learning outcomes and assessment tools that little regard has been given to the social, emotional, and physical health of our children. As a result, teachers and administrators do not know how to allow more flexibility in the school day for unstructured play and social emotional learning due to academic time constraints daily. We have been able to train LiiNK teachers and administrators to think differently about how to integrate play and character into the school day without losing learning time. The results that we have collected are amazing in all aspects for the child and the teacher. Different results that will be highlighted in the presentation are BMI trends over a two year period, behavior shifts in the classroom, attentional fatigue trends, and reading/writing score outcomes.

To supkids-on-swingsport great projects like this, make sure to donate to the US Play Coalition TODAY!  Time is ticking for #GivingTuesPLAY!

 

 


Giving TuesPLAY supports Child-Centered Play at University of Florida

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

Sondra Smlearning-to-playith and her team at the University of Florida were 2016 Action Grant Recipients.ready-to-play

With their grant, the university has created child-centered play time at TWO elementary schools in their area! Both of these schools serve children who are high needs, and the program works with 18 children at this time. Play is fun for these kids with toys, puppets, and other activities, but it is also an important part in their counseling. Graduate students in the university’s counselor education program are learning about the value of play in counseling children as they work with the students at these schools.

To support great projects like this, make sure to donate to the US Play Coalition TODAY!