Back to School Edition of #WePlayChat this August on Recess

The next #WePlayChat on Twitter is Tuesday, August 23 at 2:00pm EST.  This “Back to School” Twitter chat will be on “The Importance of Recess” with co-moderator Debbie Rhea of the LIINK Project.

twitterchat1Dr. Rhea and the “Let’s Inspire Innovation ‘N Kids” (LIINK) team have been making headlines with their incredible work to get more and more frequent recess in the daily school schedule. Their successes in Texas elementary schools have gone viral!

Recent news from across the country shows a growing trend in recognizing the value of recess:

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Join us for this FREE professional learning opportunity and connect with fellow play enthusiasts, teachers and experts from the across the globe from the comfort of your own environs.

 


Nickelodeon brings PLAY to Kids Choice Sports Awards

kcsaNickelodeon, who we team up with for the annual Worldwide Day of Play, showed our executive director Stephanie Garst that they bring play to everything they do!  Last month Stephanie was invited to witness the Kids Choice Sports Awards first-hand with other Nick partners.  “Nickelodeon takes play to the next level!” says Garst. “They have celebrities playing silly games against each other and everyday kids doing some epic challenges!  I loved seeing everyone playing and just plain having fun!”

Check out some of the PLAYful highlights of the night:

 


Next #WePlayChat is Inspired by the Summer Olympics – Sport and Play

The next #WePlayChat on Twitter is Tuesday, July 26 at 2:00pm EST. On the eve of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we’ll be taking a close look at the twitterchat1relationship between sport and play.

Founder of the modern Olympic Games Pierre de Coubertin famously said: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.” But if the most important thing is not winning, shouldn’t we just play?

This month’s guest co-moderator will be Mark Cooper.  Mark has spent twenty years working in and around sport and play. Born in the USA and raised in the UK, he brings unique insights into the Olympics, having served the International Olympic Committee as head of communications for the Olmark cooper - ju;y 2016 chatympic Games. As an adventure play and wild play advocate, Mark has run weekly forest school sessions for for his five year-old son’s classmates and is currently creating a loose parts environment modeled on The Land in Wrexham, where he watched in amazement as six and seven year olds taught his son how to make a grilled cheese sandwich over an open fire. Having worked on joined up national policy initiatives for sport and play, Mark is acutely aware of the tensions between the kind of formal sport championed by the Olympic Games and informal play so precious to kids’ development.

Here are some of the themes we’ll be chatting about:

  • Are formal sport and informal play incompatible?
  • Are parents being sold a reasonable balance of formal sport and informal play?
  • Are there any lessons for informal play in the way formal sports are packaged?
  • As they introduce sports like skateboarding and surfing to the program, can the Olympics become more playful?

This next chat is part of our new monthly Twitter Chat series.  #WePlayChat-ers to date include teachers, playground organizations, play advocates and other play enthusiasts from coast to coast as well as from Canada, Australia, Denmark and the UK – all tuning in to connect around PLAY.

A Twitter chat is a public Twitter conversation around one unique hashtag (#). This hashtag allows you to follow the discussion and participate in it. Twitter chats are usually recurring and on specific topics to regularly connect people with similar interests.  To be a part of our chat, be sure to search for #WePlayChat and follow the live stream of tweets.  Then respond by including the tag #WePlayChat

We love sharing the voice of play on Twitter through these #WePlayChats.  We are trying them 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 from the comfort of your own environs.

Remember that this month we will explore the RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SPORT AND PLAY with our guest co-moderator, Mark Cooper.


Next #WePlayChat is All About ADVENTURE!

The next #WePlayChat on Twitter will explore Adventure Play on Wednesday, June 15 at 4:00pm EST.twitterchat1

 

This month’s guest moderator will be Reilly Bergin Wilson, a co-founder and board member of play:groundNYC, a new adventure playground in New York City. play:groundNYC is the first true adventure playground in New York City in over 40 years. Staffed by playworkers, play:ground allows for play with loose parts, hand tools, earth, and reclaimed materials. In the tightly managed urban landscape, having a dedicated space for free play like play:ground helps young people develop confidence, decision-making power, and a sense of ownership of their environment.

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Reilly Bergin Wilson of play:groundNYC

 

Here’s a glimpse at what we will be chatting about:

  • What are the defining principles of adventure play and does it differ from other kinds of play?
  • How do we increase public awareness of the principles of adventure play?
  • How can we get local parks departments to invest in playworkers rather than play equipment?
  • How can we integrate and apply the principles of adventure play to settings outside of “adventure playgrounds” (e.g. schools/home schooling, museums, child-friendly city policies)

This next chat is part of our new monthly Twitter Chat series.  #WePlayChat-ers to date include teachers, playground organizations, play advocates and other play enthusiasts from coast to coast as well as from Canada, Australia, Denmark and the UK – all tuning in to connect around PLAY.

A Twitter chat is a public Twitter conversation around one unique hashtag (#). This hashtag allows you to follow the discussion and participate in it. Twitter chats are usually recurring and on specific topics to regularly connect people with similar interests.  To be a part of our chat, be sure to search for #WePlayChat and follow the live stream of tweets.  Then respond by including the tag #WePlayChat

We love sharing the voice of play on Twitter through these #WePlayChats.  We are trying them 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 from the comfort of your own environs.

Remember that this month we will explore ADVENTURE PLAY with our guest moderator, Reilly Bergin Wilson.


How I PLAYED During My First Sabbatical

The Story of How the Midwest Play Conference Came to Be

heather von bank
I love my job. Not many people can say that with a straight face, but I can. After my 6th year of working as a professor at Minnesota State University – Mankato, the opportunity came to apply for my first sabbatical.  When asked about my sabbatical plans a question mark seemed to loom over my head.  I love teaching and working with students, but what else could I possibly do that would provide me with the same rewards that I get while being in the classroom? Then my lightbulb moment occurred.  lightbulb

I wanted my sabbatical project to be meaningful for my own research and academic interests, but I also wanted the project make an impact on my community. I’ve been attending the US Play Coalition Value of Play Conference every year for 5 years. I’ve had the opportunity to meet playful passionate people, learn about national and international efforts to promote play and found countless ways to improve my teaching and scholarship through professional development practices. I wanted to replicate the formula and create a regional conference in partnership with the US Play Coalition, to bring the message about the importance of play to individuals in the Midwest.  Why the Midwest?  Besides the fact that I live here, there are so many educators and professionals who are passionate about play but were not familiar with the US Play Coalition, particularly in this region.

So…the first ever regional US Play Coalition conference will be held June 25th in Mankato, Minnesota. The Midwest Play Conference will feature Lisa Murphy, a motivational midwest play logospeaker who has years of experience working in early childhood settings, who encourages teachers, parents, and community members to be messy and playful in working with children. The conference will also feature 20 presenters who will be speaking on a variety of topics like nature play, play in early childhood classrooms, ideas for bringing nature inside, and ways to support teachers and their professional development with playful methods. The Midwest Play Conference was designed to reach out to caregivers, parents, community members, and recreation, parks and leisure services professionals, but will be beneficial for anyone who values and supports play.  By attending the conference, attendees will gain a greater appreciation and understanding of local and regional efforts to support play. Who knows, maybe it will be your chance to create a regional conference next!


Next #WePlayChat is MORE than Play…it could be a $50 gift card to your favorite toy store!

twitterchat1The next #WePlayChat on Twitter will be on Wednesday, May 18 at 2:00pm EST.  Our partner Genius of Play will be our first guest moderator for the chat on “It’s MORE than Play!”  Plus one lucky #WePlayChat participant will win a $50 gift card to his or her favorite toy store!

According to Genius of Play’s Anna Yudina, they are “very excited to be the first ever #WePlayChat guest moderator! Our TIA_GOP_blue-orgmission is to raise awareness about the vital role of play in child development. Play is so much more than fun and games – it is essential for children to reach healthy physical, cognitive, social, and emotional developmental milestones. The partnership between the Genius of Play and the US Play Coalition is seamless because of the shared vision to promote the value of play. We look forward to having the conversation with parents, educators and play advocates about the benefits of play and how to encourage more of it.”

Here’s a glimpse at what we will be chatting about:

1.      What challenges do parents face today in letting their kids go play?
2.      What types of play activities help kids process emotion? (Hint: click here)
3.      In your opinion, what’s the biggest benefit of play?
4.      How do you encourage mixed age play?
5.      The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends kids spend how much time playing each day? (Hint: click here)

This next chat is part of our new monthly Twitter Chat series.  #WePlayChat-ers to date include teachers, playground organizations, play advocates and other play enthusiasts from coast to coast as well as from Canada, Australia, Denmark and the UK – all tuning in to connect around PLAY.

A Twitter chat is a public Twitter conversation around one unique hashtag (#). This hashtag allows you to follow the discussion and participate in it. Twitter chats are usually recurring and on specific topics to regularly connect people with similar interests.  To be a part of our chat, be sure to search for #WePlayChat and follow the live stream of tweets.  Then respond by including the following tags for our May chat #GeniusofPlay #ItsMoreThanPlay #WePlayChat

We love sharing the voice of play on Twitter through these #WePlayChats.  We are trying them 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 from the comfort of your own environs.

Remember that this month “It’s MORE than Play” with our partner Genius of Play!


Latest Play Pulse Issue Now Online

play pulse logo

Is physical activity the “wonder drug”?  Is boredom good or not so good?  Could being in nature be a natural remedy for anger, fear and stress?  These are the topics addressed in the Spring/Summer 2016 issue of Play Pulse, a regular publication of the US Play Coalition that addresses play indicators and trends. The publication evaluates the upside and downside of each topic, along with practical tips for addressing these issues in everyday life.

Remember you can find all our publications on our webpage under the research and the communication menus.  Please spread these good works to your colleagues around the globe!


Next #WePlayChat is April 15

The next #twitterchat1WePlayChat on Twitter will be on Friday, April 15 at 2:00pm EST.  We will be chatting about “Lessons Learned at The Play Conference 2016.”  Hope you will join us whether or not you were at the conference!

This next chat is the fourth in our new monthly Twitter Chat series.  #WePlayChat-ers to date include teachers, playground organizations, play advocates and other play enthusiasts from coast to coast as well as from Canada, Australia, Denmark and the UK – all tuning in to connect around PLAY.

A Twitter chat is a public Twitter conversation around one unique hashtag (#). This hashtag allows you to follow the discussion and participate in it. Twitter chats are usually recurring and on specific topics to regularly connect people with similar interests.

Over the next few months we will continue to share the voice of play on Twitter through these #WePlayChats.  We are trying them 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 from the comfort of your own environs.

Mark your calendar!  Our next #WePlayChat will be held on April 15th at 2:00pm EST.  And in May we will begin inviting guest moderators to  the chat – Genius of Play will be our first.

Find us on Twitter @USPlayCoalition


FREE CEUs Available to Registered Attendees at The Play Conference

US-PLay-Round-TablesWant a PLAYful way to earn CEUs?!  Come to The Play Conference 2016: Rebooting Play, April 3-6 at Clemson University.

Clemson University awards CEUs for your participation in sessions at The Play Conference 2016. All keynotes, featured and educational sessions are 45 minutes in length.  Participants can be awarded .05 CEUs for each of these sessions attended. There is no additional fee for CEUs at this conference.

Special registration options are available for schools, non-profits, and government agencies looking to send 4 or more delegates.  Contact Stephanie Garst for more information.

Register today for The Play Conference!


Twenty Times the Play Value

SmartPlayVenti_01BeltBridgeVenti

Two years ago, Landscape Structures, Inc. first introduced the Smart Play® design concept and it was a hit. The whimsical and modern designs of Smart Play: Motion 2-5 and Smart Play: Cube 2-5 have caught the attention of communities across the globe. Plus, playground planners have loved the smart design and efficient use of materials in the playstructures. And now we’ve expanded the line to include a design especially for 5- to 12-year-olds.

SquareLoopClimberVentiSmart Play: Venti™, which means “twenty” in Italian, packs 20 exciting activities into its compact size. Nets, slides, belts and climbers provide challenges that promote physical development and strategic thinking, while also creating hangouts where kids can take a break and connect with others. With multiple entry points and plenty of activities, this ADA-compliant playstructure can accommodate a whole class at once.

 

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Learn more about Smart Play: Venti and see it in action by visiting playlsi.com/venti.