NPR Correspondent and Author to give PLAYtalk on Screen Time and Play

Anya Kamenetz will be a PLAYtalk presenter at the  2018 Conference on the Value of Play: The Many Faces of Play, April 8-11, at Clemson University.

Anya Kamenetz is the lead digital education correspondent for National Public Radio. She is the author of several books about learning and the future. Her latest book is The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life (PublicAffairs, 2018).

Kamenetz’s 2018 PLAYtalk presentation is titled “From FaceTime to PlayTime: How Screens Can Fit into a Playful World.”

Kamenetz covered technology, innovation, sustainability, and social entrepreneurship for five years as a staff writer for Fast Company magazine. She’s contributed to The New York TimesThe Washington PostNew York Magazine, Slate, and appeared in documentaries shown on PBS and CNN.

Kamenetz was named a 2010 Game Changer in Education by the Huffington Post, received 2009, 2010, and 2015 National Awards for Education Reporting from the Education Writers Association, and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for innovation in 2017 along with the rest of the NPR Ed team.

 

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.

 

The ABCs of the 2018 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 2018 Conference on the Value of Play: The Many Faces of 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 28.

  • A Critical Approach to Play and Recreation Evaluation: Telling More of the Story
  • Adaptive Sports Development: Building a 7-a-side Paralympic Soccer Club Program
  • An Analysis of School Playgrounds and Parks using Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • An Exploration of Infant and Toddler Outdoor Play
  • A Walk on the Wild Side: Connecting Play and Zoo Walkways
  • Activating an Urban Neighborhood for Outdoor Play:  Strategies for Replication
  • Applying Play Research and Theory to School, Community, and Family Settings in Trinidad & Tobago
  • Assessing Availability and Quality of Play Spaces for Cities within the East Africa Community
  • Beyond Cardboard and Sticks: The Role of Toys in Facilitating Play
  • Biophilic Approach to Children’s Nature-based Outdoor Designed Environments
  • Building a #All-In Classroom Culture: Real-World Challenges In a Game-Based Atmosphere
  • Celebrating a University Collaborative Community of Play
  • Children’s PlayDays – Play Provision in a Time of Extreme Crisis
  • Combining Modern Technology with Outdoor Play
  • Community-Based Strategies for Building and Activating Inclusive Playgrounds
  • Community Health Lessons From Volunteer Implementation of Natural Play Spaces
  • Creating a Playful Event for Children with Special Needs
  • Creating Specialized Outdoor Play Training To Empower Children’s Experiences
  • Diabetes Day Camp: Playing To Learn, Heal and Connect
  • Discover, Play, Share: Using Play To Build Early Literacy And STEM Skills In Preschoolers
  • Discover the Secret Language of Play
  • Exploring a Multi-Sector Approach To Play
  • Four Elements of Play As Described By Ugandan Women
  • Get Playful With Dance
  • How Better Play Makes Better Schools
  • How I Learned To Be an Adult; Lessons Learned On the Recess Playground
  • How to Open a Toy Library
  • How to Survive and Thrive As a Purely Play-Based Program: The Sunflower Creative Arts Story
  • Idea Factory: STEM through Play
  • Inclusive Design for the Aquatic Splash Pad
  • Improv Parenting: Using Improv to Parent Playfully and Mindfully
  • Is It Play?  Is It Learning? A Cross-Cultural Study of Children’s And Parents’ Views
  • “It’s Gonna Hurt”: Roughhousing and Risk in Play
  • Learning to Build
  • Leisure Activities among Urban Older Adults in China: How and Where do They Play?
  • Let’s Get Some GoNoodle On!
  • Making Classroom Magic with Mystery Skype
  • More Fences, More Freedom? Exploring How the Design of Public Play Areas Affects Supervision
  • Municipal Government and Play, It Can Be Done!
  • Natural Harmony: An Instrumental Guide to Blending Music & Community
  • Naturestart: Professional Development For Informal and Early Childhood Educators in Blended Classrooms
  • Night at the Brewseum: Adults at Play!
  • Opportunities and Barriers of Play at Pediatric Gardens: A Recent Case Study
  • Play and Prevention of Bullying Behaviors
  • Play Based Education through a Comprehensive School Health Framework
  • Playground Literacy: Supporting Active Learning through Play
  • PlayMatters – Therapeutic Value of Play for Children Impacted by Agent Orange from the Vietnam War
  • Play Politics: School and Municipal Decision-Making Challenges in Canada Limiting Access to Play
  • Play, Time, Behavior, and Flourishing
  • Prevention, Promotion and Play: Using Interactive Activities to Promote Child Health and Wellness
  • Recess Results: A Survey on Educators’ Perspectives on the Benefits of Recess
  • Remember Play? How Our Personal Play Histories Springboard Support for Child-Directed Play
  • Results of Grassroots Efforts to Increase Nature Play Infrastructure for Children
  • Scaling Up: Building Play Networks At the Regional Level
  • Sensory Play: An Integral Component of Inclusive Recreation
  • The Butterfly Effect: Building On the Big Idea
  • The Healing Power of Play – Restoring Childhood to Kids Impacted By Disasters
  • The Real Toy Story: How to Create a Toy Library by The #1 Library in the Country
  • The Role of Play in the Art Museum: A Case Study at the High Museum of Art
  • The Urgent Need for Play-Based Experiential Learning in Preschool and Kindergarten
  • Three Key Questions to Scaffold Playfulness
  • Tips, Tools, and Tales from the Field: Fostering All-Out, Joyful Play in Adults
  • Transitional Play: Exploring the Play Value of Classroom Indoor-Outdoor Relationship of Space
  • Water Play and Children’s Complex Scientific Explorations
  • What’s Going on with the Midwest Play Conference?: A Nature and Loose Parts Play Workshop
  • YMCA Of Western Ontario; Outdoor Play Project
  • Your Senses at Play! Explore Playground Designs And Programs That Support Children With Autism
  • Zoos as a Nature Play Destination: Nature Playgrounds at Bronx Zoo and Houston Zoo

…and MANY, MANY MORE!!  You don’t want to miss this exciting professional development opportunity!  Join us at the 2018 Conference on the Value of Play: The Many Faces of Play, April 8-11 at Clemson University.


January 29 #WePlayChat: Play To Heal Community Trauma

Join us Monday, January 29 at 9:00am EST as we welcome co-moderator Nathan LeJune from New Orleans to our #WePlayChat to discuss, “Play To Heal Community Trauma.”

After serving in various youth-development roles for over 10 years, Nathan ‘Nate’ LeJeune moved to New Orleans from South West Louisiana to be a part of the ever-changing community landscape. He has served as a Program Director for a local community-based youth development program (Excite All-Stars) and Program Manager for the Up2Us Sports AmeriCorps program. Nathan has now transitioned to training coaches and programs across the country in sports-based youth development strategies and practices. When Nathan isn’t studying the latest trauma-sensitive research, he enjoys spending time with his family, attending sporting events, and playing as many sports as his wife and body will allow. Join us in welcoming Nathan to our monthly #WePlayChat learning opportunities.

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

1. How can coaches and facilitators of play aid in healing a community affected by trauma?

2. We know that opportunities for free play develop strong social-emotional skills for kids. How can we incorporate safe opportunities for free play in sports settings?
 
3. When we play we create connections and build competency, the ability to learn new skills. How can these outcomes benefit our individual and communal sense of safety and contribute to healing?
 
4. What are other aspects of play and sport that can be therapeutic for kids, and help them feel safe and supported when playing?

#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.


Now Accepting Nominations for 2018 Outstanding Researcher and Youth Practitioner Awards

The U.S. Play Coalition is now accepting nominations for its 2018 awards program, recognizing outstanding play research and youth practitioners.  First awarded at the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play, this new awards program honors exceptional individuals each year.  The winners not only receive a physical award, but also have conference fees paid, hotel accommodations and up to $500 in travel to attend the 2018 Conference on the Value of Play: The Many Faces of Play.  Deadline for nominations is 11:59pm EST on December 15.

Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research

The Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research honors its namesake, the contemporary father of play advocacy.  The award recognizes someone for a body of exceptional research that has enhanced and expanded the study of play.

“Joe Frost has been an influencer for our organization’s work as well as for the world of play,” said Stephanie Garst, executive director of the U.S. Play Coalition. “This award is a fitting tribute.”

Frost is the Parker Centennial Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin. He is known across the world for his more than 30 years of work on early childhood and children’s play environments. Past president of both the Association for Childhood Education International and International Play Association/USA, he is the author or co-author of 18 books and numerous publications and has also served as a consultant for playgrounds worldwide.

Frost was influential in the creation of the U.S. Play Coalition, serving as a steering committee member since the coalition’s beginning in 2009. He served as a keynote speaker that year at the coalition’s first conference – then called the Summit on the Value of Play –and has been an honorary chair for each successive conference.

 

YLI Youth Development Practitioner Award

The U.S. Play Coalition teamed with Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute for the Youth Development Practitioner Award. The award recognizes outstanding performance in the creation and implementation of youth development programs or services. (The nominee does NOT have to be affiliated with Clemson University.)

“There are many deserving practitioners across the nation, and our goal with this award is to bring recognition to this field of service,” said Stephen Lance, executive director of the Youth Learning Institute.


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 28, 2017, 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 $47,000 in funding to date.   Check out the projects our grants have supported over the years – https://usplaycoalition.org/action-research-grants

Our 2017 Giving TuesPLAY goal is to fund at least one Research Grant and one Action Grant, for a total of $4,000. We are on our way, thanks to a jump start challenge from our amazing steering committee. Now we challenge you!

YOU can help us provide action and research grants in 2018 with your Giving TuesPLAY gift!  Join the global movement and donate on Tuesday, November 28! Big or small, your gift MATTERS!! We can’t wait to share the future of play with you!


October #WePlayChat: “Play and Millennials”

Join us Thursday, October 26 at 12:00pm EST/ 11:00am CST as we welcome co-moderator Dr. Heather Von Bank from Minnesota State University-Mankato to our #WePlayChat on “Play and Millennials.

Dr. Heather Von Bank is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Consumer Science at Minnesota State University-Mankato.  Her area of expertise is Child Development and Family Studies. Dr. Von Bank received her PhD. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Educational. She is currently the FCS Department Chairperson and also teaches Parenting Education, Lifespan Development, and The Role of Play in Child Development. In 2013 Dr. Von Bank, co-authored her first book, “The Power of Playful Learning: The Green Edition.” Feel free to connect with Heather on twitter prior to the chat @HeatherVonBank.

Here are the chat questions that will guide our dialogue:
  • What do we know about the millennial young adults today and their play history?
  • How does this play history differ across other generations?
  • How have education testing policies of the last 10-15 years affected young adult’s ideas about the value of play?
  • How do millennials’ play experiences affect their parenting practices? Lifestyle choices?

#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.


September #WePlayChat: Creating a Healthier Life by Participating in Play

Join us Thursday, September 28 at 12:00pm EST as we welcome co-moderator Darryl Edwards; Creator of the Primal Play Method™ to our #WePlayChat on “Creating a healthier life by participating in play.

Darryl Edwards, is a Natural Lifestyle Educator, movement coach and creator of the Primal Play Method™. Darryl developed the Primal Play methodology to inspire others to make activity fun while getting healthier, fitter and stronger in the process.

Darryl is the author of several award-winning books including Paleo Fitness and Paleo from A to Z. His work has been published in titles such as Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Elle Magazine, Men’s Fitness and he has featured on the BBC documentaries Eat to Live Forever and Doctor In The House.

Feel free to connect with Darryl at PrimalPlay.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/DarrylFEdwards Twitter @fitnessexplorer, Instagram @fitnessexplorer

Here are the chat questions that will guide our dialogue:
Q1. How does play lead to positive health benefits?
Q2. How does play support positive mental well being?
Q3. What challenges exist which prevent people from playing?

Q4. Can playing influence other areas of your life? I.e. relationships? work

#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 the conversation around the value of play.


#WePlayChat: How Communities Can Promote Play

Join us Tuesday, August 29 at 12:00pm EST as we welcome co-moderator Carly Demanett of the Eugene Civic Alliance to our #WePlayChat on “How Communities Can Promote Play.”

Carly Demanett is the Media and Communications Manager for Eugene Civic Alliance (ECA) in Eugene, OR. ECA was established to build and operate a community sports and entertainment venue to benefit the children of Eugene. 

It’s about kids and how we as a community provide for their basic physical fitness. It’s about how healthy activities affect our community and economy. It’s about the resilience of a community, despite setbacks, to play on.”

Here are the chat questions that will guide our dialogue:

Q1. What are your local communities doing to support play?
Q2. What are the secret ingredients to supporting sustainable play initiatives?
Q3: What is the best way to effectively communicate the importance of play within a community?
Q4: How can partnering with other orgs/businesses/schools/etc. help promote 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 across the globe.


Book Review: Playing it Up– With Loose Parts, Playpods, and Adventure Playgrounds

Book Review by Dr. Debora B. Wisneski (University of Nebraska- Omaha) with Melany Spiehs and Carol Burk (Omaha Public Schools)

Almon, J. (Ed.)(2017). Playing it up– With loose parts, playpods, and adventure playgrounds. Annapolis, MD: Alliance for Childhood.

Debora: In 2014 in Vancouver Canada, I was able to listen to the Canadian environmental activist Severn Cullis-Suzuki give an impassioned speech on the future. She was speaking of building a better world for our children’s future. Part of her presentation included her reminiscing of her involvement in the environmental movement. She recalled in her younger years feeling the need to fight- against policies harmful to the earth and against corporations who polluted. However, she had made a transition in her career from fighting to one of building. She came to the realization that when the powers- that-be would one day come to the realization that harming the earth is unsustainable, they would need to turn to those who know how to live in earth-friendly and sustainable ways. Thus, Cullis-Suzuki began to focus her efforts on creating a sustainable community where she lives and raises her family. In the process, she also came to the realization that the Utopia she dreamed of currently would not exist at a national or global level, but she discovered that there was a network of such communities that already existed around the world. These communities created a sort of web that spread across the globe that could stay connected though so far apart.

Cullis-Suzuki’s description of the state of her cause, reminded me of the plight of play in American schools and lives. It is easy to get discouraged when fighting against school policies and practices that hinder children’s play in education; however, I have become more hopeful when I have turned my attention to collaborating with others to build play spaces in schools and communities. While every city or school does not support play, there are many places and people around the world that are building play spaces. Joan Almon’s new book “Playing It Up- With Loose Parts, Play Pods, and Adventure Playgrounds” is a wonderful documentation of the work of play advocates and playworkers around the U.S. who are building play spaces and expanding our network of play communities. In Almon’s edited book each chapter is written by a play leader who describes in detail innovative ways play spaces are being designed and what materials are being organized and used in these spaces. The book opens with a ringing endorsement by Dr. Stuart Brown.

Melany: The first chapter begins with Almon describing the state of play in the U.S. and her concerns for children. She displays a deep respect for young children and her message is one of urgency but not hopelessness. Due to our current society filled with lawsuits, safety is a major concern in schools. She states, “Society’s fear of play, with its various physical and psychological risks, remains a major obstacle that needs to be overcome, or at least minimized, if children are to play freely again” (p. 3). Children use play to deal with stress and anxiety and with the decrease in play children are displaying an increase in obesity, depression, hyperactive disorders and autism. Yet, Almon trusts that children are naturally risk aware and a good at assessing risk and thus, advocates for loose parts, playpods and adventure playgrounds to support their play.

Debora: The second chapter, written by Rusty Keeler, offers a reflection of the state of free and risky play in the U.S. and his recognition that play is returning to the world of children. As he states, “The world is changing because we are consciously evolving it. We are consciously choosing to say “yes” to the play opportunities we believe children need” (p. 15) The following chapters are written by the play leaders from around the U.S. describing the unique aspects of their play spaces and providing evidence of this play evolution. Along with the stories, there are beautiful high quality photographs that make you want to be in these spaces and extensive biographies and websites of the contributors which is extremely important when we are striving to make connections within this movement. The first section of stories focuses on the process of starting up play projects and the practical details necessary for success. The second section highlights various examples of adventure playgrounds- the risky child-initiated wild spaces with loose parts and minimal adult intervention that were considered taboo in American culture. On these pages, these fantastic spaces come to life. The third section describes play pods in parks and schools- smaller outdoor spaces but with a multitude of recyclable and reused materials for building and pretend- changing how children play during traditional recesses. The fourth section illustrates the movement of bringing play back to nature. The book concludes with calls to advocate for play and essential lists of resources, play advocacy groups, and the principles of playwork- all the tools one could use to begin his or her own play project. And this is the real power of the book- it inspires one to action. It is contagious as two of our reviewers who are preschool teachers discovered. Here, they describe how Almon and her co-authors inspired action at their preschool and elementary school:

Melany: At Spring Lake (Elementary), we have an abandoned outdoor classroom on site. It is a large area blocked off by a chain link fence. Inside there are trees, small sheds and overgrown raised beds. The weeds have taken over and there has been no one to take care of the area since it closed down many years ago. I have had my eye on this space since I started at Spring Lake back in August. After talking to my team and my administrators I have been given permission to lead a resurrection of this outdoor classroom. Seeing Joan Almon’s photos of children playing in nature and reading the play stories encouraged me to take this leap of faith. She was that gentle nudge that I needed to be an advocate for outdoor play at my school.

Carol:
We read Joan’s book before we opened up our outdoor classroom. Her words about risk assessment helped us to remember that children are capable and can do their own assessment. It made for a more authentic experience for everyone. We noticed there was minimal re-directing from adults, almost no conflicts between children, and children resolving, negotiating, and compromising with each other.

Reviewers Carol Burk, Debora Wisneski, and Melany Spiehs

“Playing It Up” can be ordered from amazon.com and is available at no cost online at allianceforchildhood.org. We recommend this book as essential for the play movement today.


#WePlayChat: “The Role of the Adult for Children’s Play” Featuring Play Ambassador Matt Leung

Join us Friday, July 28th at 3:00pm EST as we welcome Matt Leung to our #WePlayChat on “The Role of the Adult for Children’s Play.”

Matt Leung has spent over 10 years working with children and youth in the recreation sector. Matt is a Master Trainer with DANCEPL3Y, and the original Play Ambassador at Vivo for Healthier Generations, a local recreation centre in Calgary. Matt has facilitated play-FULL trainings and workshops across Canada and leading up to the 2017 International Play Association conference being held in Calgary, he sits on the steering committee for YYCPlays, a committee of professionals invested in building Calgary’s capacity for play.

Here are the chat questions that will guide our dialogue:

1. What is the role of an adult in children’s play?

2. How can adults best support the child’s right to play?

3. Where do adults have the most influence on a child’s play?

4. What are some great examples you’ve seen of positive adult impact on 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 across the globe.