Summer PLAY Reading Review:
Joan Almon’s Playing it Up

In August 2017, we published this book review below of Joan Almon’s then-new publication by Debora B. Wisneski, Ph.D. (University of Nebraska- Omaha) with Melany Spiehs and Carol Burk (Omaha Public Schools).  As news of Joan’s passing continues to be on our heart, we wanted to include this as a special part of our Summer PLAY Reading Review series.  

Upon learning of Joan’s death, Melany Spiehs, one of the co-authors of the review, shared this sentiment: “Joan was such an inspiration and her spirit must live on through us!”

 

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” is available as a free download from Alliance for Childhood. We recommend this book as essential for the play movement today.


Summer PLAY Reading Review – Balanced and Barefoot

Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children, by Angela Hanscom

One of my all-time favorite TV shows as a child was Reading Rainbow.  The show, hosted by LeVar Burton on PBS, promoted the importance of reading and featured children reviewing their favorite books. As a kiddo, I dreamed about being on Reading Rainbow and telling everyone about MY favorite book. Thanks to the US Play Coalition, and their commitment to advance and promote play for people of all ages, I get the chance as a playful adult to provide a review of my favorite playful books! Angela Hanscom wrote the first book that I’ll review – Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children (New Harbinger Publications 2016).

Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist and founder of Timbernook, a nature-based developmental program for children, was inspired to write her book because of the interactions she had with the children and families in her practice. She noticed that kiddos were having problems with balance and coordination that were not typical for children their age. Due to her training and observations, she discovered that children’s opportunities for free play has been removed from children’s everyday lives.

Hanscom’s book advocates for unstructured outdoors play and promotes it as the most optimal way for children to development healthy bodies, minds, and social skills. 

In each chapter, Hanscom describes the benefits of play by addressing questions that many parents have about their children’s development such as “Why can’t my child sit still?”, “When is my baby ready to play outside?” and “Why is my child so emotional?” Hanscom wrote this book primarily for parents.  As a parent myself, I fully appreciated the reasons she provided for the crucial role that play has for children’s development of physical, emotional, social and cognitive skills. However, this book is also important for individuals who do not have children or, more likely, have many children, such as educators, principals, superintendents, leaders at childcare centers, and child advocacy groups. Hanscom provides insight, examples and additional resources to show that playing outdoors can address and minimize behaviors like inattentiveness, lack of creativity, fidgeting, and aggression.

The book also outlines in detail the ways that children benefit from outdoor play particularly to support and build upper body strength, endurance, core strength, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, proprioceptive skills (i.e. awareness of the position and movement of the body), auditory senses, and sensory integration skills (i.e. allows us to make sense of stimuli). Hanscom is particularly interested in understanding sensory processing disorders; this occurs when children have difficulty making sense of external stimuli and using it to create a larger understanding of their world. Children’s senses are most aware when they are outdoors in nature, crunching leaves, feeling mud, dirt, or sand and smelling fragrant breezes. Hanscom fully makes the case that anything that can be done indoors can be moved outdoors.

Caregivers and educators may identify with information from the chapters depending on the age of the children in their lives. Personally, the sections devoted to school-age kiddos and the risk for their overuse of technology, limited opportunities for free play due to increased structured organizations, and many schools’ dwindling time devoted for recess stand out as significant. In Chapter 3, Hanscom makes suggestions about ways to allow children to be active outdoors without a lot of adult interference.  Adults, as we know, can suck the fun out of play! Hanscom spends considerable time addressing how decreased recess, in favor of increased classroom seat time, has negatively affected children’s cognitive development. The resources she provides in the book provides a guide for key points that any recess advocate would bring to a school board meeting and discuss why recess is essential to support children’s cognitive and academic development.

Hanscom is at her best when she helps parents address their fears about outdoor play. She takes a no-nonsense approach, addressing the ways in which parents create too many rules and overschedule their children’s lives to the point that kiddos do not experience the wonder of boredom and have few opportunities to daydream. She makes suggestions about ways to get outside as a family and get “back to the basics and focus on simplicity for the sake of creativity.”

Hanscom’s book should be on the bookshelf of every parent, grandparent, caregiver, educator, or administrator who values children’s time outdoors and wish to promote all the ways that play can affect children’s growth and development.

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” and a member of the US Play Coalition’s Steering Committee.


Sponsor Thank You Week Kickoff – Thankful for Our Longtime Top Supporters

As we kickoff our Sponsor Thank You Week, we want to give a special shout out to four longtime, top supporters.  Since our founding 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.


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.


Wednesday, March 27th #Weplaychat: “Recess is Essential For Developing Young Minds” with the Voice of Play!

Join us on Wednesday, March 27th at 7:00pm EST as we welcome co-moderator Kariann from IPEMA (The International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association) and the Voice of Play, an initiative promoting growth in the quality and quantity of children’s free play and the use of playgrounds, Our March #WePlayChat will be focused on “Recess is Essential for Developing Young Minds”.

 

 

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

Q1. Does your school currently have recess? If so, how long is it and is it structured or unstructured?
Q2. What are the consequences of taking recess away from a child?
Q3. Do you think recess positively changes a student’s behavior? Why or why not?
Q4. Do you think recess helps students socially? What about academically? Why or why not?

#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.


10th Anniversary
Limited Edition Play Swag

For our 10th Anniversary we have a few special things up our sleeve…PUN INTENDED!

 

HURRY! We have a VERY LIMITED TIME t-shirt campaign for our 10th Anniversary Conference!
There are 5 color options on unisex short sleeve, long sleeve or youth short sleeve options.

Order before the campaign ends at 11:59pm EST March 12! (we will do another campaign soon)

*IF YOU ARE ATTENDING THE PLAY CONFERENCE, EMAIL STEPHANIE AT SPGARST@CLEMSON.EDU TO BE PART OF A BULK ORDER AND AVOID SHIPPING COST!!!

Order online:

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!!!
Our 10th anniversary swag just got FANCY!!!

Made locally in Clemson, South Carolina. These very popular cuff bracelets are available in three colors – silver, gold and rose gold. Support the US Play Coalition and PLAY by purchasing a PLAYful bracelet!

Order now through March 20 and choose “pickup” to avoid shipping and pickup at the Play Conference! Otherwise it is just $3.50 to ship in the US. (only available in the US at this time.)

They make great gifts, so order as many as you want!

Order yours before time runs out…!!!!

http://bit.ly/play-bracelets


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.

 


10th Anniversary Play Conference
PLAYtalk Presenters Announced

Lenore Skenazy and Michael Hynes will be our PLAYtalk presenters at the 10th Anniversary Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR LIFE, March 31-April 3, 2019, in Clemson, South Carolina.

Lenore Skenazy is the founder of the Free-Range Kids movement and president of the non-profit Let Grow. Her work has helped restore childhood resilience by pushing back on overprotection and inspired Utah’s 2018 ‘free-range parenting’ law.

Michael Hynes, Ed.D., is the outspoken Superintendent of Schools for the Patchogue-Medford School District in Medford, New York. His article on “Play, Recess and Mental Health” was #1 for 2018 in EDUCATION WEEK.

PLAYtalks are our version of TED Talks at the annual Play Conference. They are a series of 15-20 minute dynamic, entertaining, enlightening, engaging, inspiring, informative talks by thought leaders in the play world.

Stay tuned for details on these two showstopper PLAYtalks!

 

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 10th Anniversary Play Conference Educational Sessions and Research Symposium

The full detailed schedule is coming soon with even more session titles…but until then, below is an alphabetical list of the Educational Sessions and Research Symposium that have been confirmed for the 10th Anniversary 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 15.

Addressing Child Mental Health Through Child Centered Play Therapy (CCPT)
Approaches for Evaluating the Design of Natural Playspaces To Support Children’s Outdoor Play
Blank Slate: Design for Learning, Exploration and Physical Growth
Bringing A Change to The Recess Culture to Support Well-Being
Bringing Play to The World of Education!
The Bugket List: Exploring for Tiny Creatures Provides Gargantuan Benefits
Building Trust, Hope, And Healing Through Play: A Community Pop-Up School
“But, I Have Nothing to Do in The Park!” – Thinking About Places for Teens
Camping, Hiking, Playing: Lifelong Learning Today
Children Learning the Value of Play for Life
College Students Play Too!: Inclusive Campus Recreation at Clemson University
Creating Future Innovators Through Creative Play and STEM Learning
Developing Minds and Bodies Through Loose Parts Play
Educational Play: How Modern Technology Can Facilitate Learning While Playing Outdoors.
The Effects of Unstructured Play on Listening Effort in Elementary Schools
Elevating Lifelong Play to Create Healthy Communities
Engaging Students in Mathematics Play: Making Fractions Fun
Establishing Adaptive Sports Programs for Youth with Moderate to Severe Disabilities
Examining Kindergarten Readiness Skills Using A Play-Based, Nature-Focused Preschool Curriculum
A Field-Testing Study on Outdoor Play Environments: Findings and Lessons Learned
Forest Schools: The Value of Play, Autonomy, And Creativity
Free for All Baltimore: Playing After School in A Segregated City
From Exhausting to Energizing:  Creating an Environment Where Youth Thrive
From Unequal Playing Field to Play Ambassadors
Get Ready, Get Set, Go Noodle!
Globally Connecting as We Play Mystery Skype
Guerrilla Playfare: Lessons Learned from Parkour & Streetsport For Designing More Play-Friendly Cities
How to Make Your Community Playful
I’m Tired of Saying “No”: Creating Invitations for Boisterous and Adventurous Play in The Classroom
Impact of Decline in Play on Children and Youth in India: An Awareness Campaign
The Impact of Play on Overweight/Obese Children in Elementary Schools
Incorporate Play into Your Workplace
International Play Ambassador Perspectives
Introducing Innovative Technology to Children’s Play to Encourage Self-Expression
Kindergarten Matters
Learning Through Doing: The Benefits to Learning Through Planning for Inclusive Play
Let’s Make A Mess!: The Intersectionality of Sensory Play and Early Literacy
Lifetime Friendships Formed Through Play
Loose Parts Play Builds Tight Communities
Making Play Equitable & Inclusive
Move. Think. Learn: A Playful Approach to Learning in Grades K-8
Moving ~ From Start to Finish! Healing Effects of Play on Families & Caregivers Affected by Trauma
Music in The Museum: An Accessible, Inclusive, And Interactive Collaboration
Naturalized Outdoor Learning Environments in Childcare Facilities: A Review of Policies In 3 States
Nourishing Imagination and Protecting Pretend Play
Perceptions of Capacities: The Value of Play, Autonomy, And Creativity in Forest Schools
Play Across Generations: A Literature Review of Intergenerational Learning Experiences
Play by The River – Bringing Natural, All-Ages Play to A New River Garden by The Mississippi
Play Facilitation for Adults
Play Is Survival: Time for Time Outs
Play Your Way to Optimal Well-Being
Play: It’s Not Just for Kids Anymore!
Playable Infrastructure
Playful Productivity: Strategies to Unleash Your Professional Child
Playing from Scratch – Not Just for Kids
Playing to Learn Is for Grown-Ups, Too!  A Summer Graduate Course on Play at A PDS Summer Camp.
Playing with I Bambini: Reflections from A Study Abroad Experience in Reggio Emilia, Italy
Playtime Politics: The Growing Mismatch Between Biology and Culture
Ramshackle Play – Resilient, Reliable, Ready
Reframing the Playground: European Play Precedents at Tulsa’s Gathering Place
The Role of a Playground Consultant
Rotary Playgarden: An Inclusive Play Success Story
Scholarly Snapshots: The Importance of The Child’s Right to Play
The Secret to Work/Life Balance=PLAY
Sensory Inclusive Play: Partnering with Kultcurecity To Become Sensory Inclusive Certified
The 7 Elements of Play on  Playground
Small Scientists Society: Encouraging Play-Based STEM Explorations in Informal and Formal Settings
Socio-Environmental Barriers to Outdoor Play and Their Impact on Child Health Outcomes
Supported PLAY to Maximize FLOW In K-8 Classrooms
Tailoring Play into The Everyday: Playing Throughout Zoos, Museums, Aquariums and Nature Centers
Taking the Idea of An Inclusive Playground Past the Label to True Universal Design
Talk and Play: Using Play to Build Language Skills in Young Children
Teaching Play as A Learning Medium in Teacher Education Program
Temple University Students Design an Eco-Schoolyard for Play and Learning at Greenberg Elementary
The Emergence of Foreign Language in A Play-Based Kindergarten: A Spanish FLES Program
Tin Foil, Tape, And Play-Doh OH MY!
Traffic Gardens and Dramatic/Challenging Play: Engagement as A Means of Facilitating Risk Competence
What’s Wrong with Playing Games?
When I Grow Up…Learning Responsible Citizenship Through Play!
When to Play and When to Get Out of The Way
Why Play Matters: The State of Recess in North America
Y’all, Yous, and You Guys: Considering the Language of Play

 

…and MANY, MANY MORE!!  You don’t want to miss this exciting professional development opportunity!  Join us at the 10th Anniversary Conference on the Value of Play: The Many Faces of Play, March 31 – April  3 at Clemson University.


Now Accepting Nominations for
2019 Outstanding Researcher
and Youth Practitioner Awards

The U.S. Play Coalition is now accepting nominations for its 2019 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 10th Anniversary Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR LIFE.  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.