#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.


Inaugural Researcher and Practitioner Awards Announced at 2017 Play Conference

The U.S. Play Coalition established an awards program recognizing outstanding play research and youth practitioners at the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play.  This new awards program will honor exceptional individuals each year.  The winners will not only receive a physical award, but also have conference fees paid, hotel accommodations and up to $500 in travel to attend the Play Conference.

Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research

The inaugural Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research was presented to its namesake – Joe L. Frost, the contemporary father of play advocacy.  The award recognizes 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. “The creation of 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 also teamed with Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute to present the first-ever Youth Development Practitioner Award. The award recognizes outstanding performance in the creation and implementation of youth development programs or services.

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

The inaugural award went to Dan Mathews, chief operating officer at Camp Twin Lakes, a Georgia-based organization that provides camp experiences for children with serious illnesses, disabilities and other life challenges.  According to his nomination, Dan is “a champion for all youth using play as the center of his outstanding leadership and tireless efforts in furthering development, access, and professionalism of the field of youth-development…He is an excellent standard bearer for the inaugural Youth Development Practitioner Award.”


2017 Grant Winners Announced

Grant funding is a distinctive feature of our annual Play Conference, and we are proud to have awarded $47,000 in funding to date.   At the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play: Where Design Meets Play the new grant winners were announced.  The review process was challenging as we had a record number of outstanding submissions this year.

Each year a $3,000 research seed grant is awarded to a researcher or group of researchers who present empirical research at the play conference to support new, innovative and thoughtful work on the value of play.  This is seed funding in support of longitudinal or future research in diverse topics related to play, and grant recipients’ work reflects great potential for expanding knowledge in the field.

The 2017 Research Seed Grant was awarded to Shan Jiang, PhD, from West Virginia University for her project, “Healing through Play: Play Opportunities as Positive Distractions at Pediatric Healthcare Environment.”

In addition to the research grant, $1000 action grants are awarded to support creative and innovative proposals to engage groups in play or to educate about the value of play. This year we had two partners supporting our action grants, IPA-USA and Partners for Parks.  We also had funding from our Giving TuesPLAY initiative.

There were three projects that each received a 2017 Action Grant:
– Britt Stetson for Harper’s Playground at Arbor Lodge Park, a playground for children of all abilities in in Portland, Ore.

– Debora Wisneski and Miriam Kuhn for “Building a Community of PLAY Through an Interdisciplinary University Collaborative” at the University of Nebraska Omaha.

– Gregory Manley from City of Play in Pittsburgh, Penn., for Ludovia, a weekly class for young professionals and working-class minorities to foster play through physical, emotional and social communication. 


Featured Sessions at 2017 Conference on the Value of Play

The US Play Coalition is proud to announce its featured sessions for the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play.  The annual conference, whose 2017 theme is “Where Design Meets Play – Bringing Play to Landscapes, Curricula, Programs, Museums, and Beyond,” will be April 2-5 at Clemson University.  Here is a glimpse at the featured speaker lineup…more to come!

“Sometimes It Hurts: Designing Play Environments with as Much Risk-Taking as Possible and as Little Safety as Necessary”
Panelists:
– Moderator / US Perspective: Teri Hendy, Site Masters, Inc.
– European Perspective: Julian Richter, Richter Spielgeraete GmbH
– UK Perspective: Harry Harbottle, CATE Consultancy
– Canadian Perspective: Jennifer Martin, TELUS Spark
This two-part session includes speakers from the US, Germany, the UK and Canada presenting an international view of the role of risk taking in designing children’s play environments.  The panel will focus on the perception of risk vs. the reality; designing for acceptable risk that balances risk and play value; establishing a precedent of risk tolerance; and modeling risky play that creates healthy and innovative communities.

“How Science and Research are Rocking the Play World”
Stuart Brown, MD – Founder of National Institute for Play
Joe Frost, Parker, PhD – Centennial Professor Emeritus, University of Texas
Tom Norquist – Senior Vice President of Product Development & Marketing – PlayCore/GameTime

When Stuart Brown, a pioneer in research on play, and Joe Frost, the contemporary father of play advocacy, are your guides, only magical things can happen!  Tom Norquist, product innovator at GameTime, will lead the conversation with his mentors on how hard science and research are the building blocks of playful design.

“The Genius of Play: Designing an Integrated Program to Help Families Capitalize on Key Developmental Benefits for Their Children”
Panelists:
– Anna Yudina, Director of Marketing Initiatives, Toy Industry Association
– Erik “Dr. E.” Fisher, Ph.D., Psychologist, Media Consultant, Author
– Jackie Retzer, Marketing Communications, Toy Industry Association
– David Gallagher, Chief Program Officer, Playworks
The presentation highlights research findings about parental attitudes towards play and shares best practices for utilizing social media, expert influencers, and partnerships to build a national play movement.


“Designing a Practice of Play”

Dan Harding, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Architecture and Community Design+Build
Clemson University
A question that has remained centric to my personal endeavors as a craftsman, designer, and educator has been seemingly simple: Is it possible to design a Practice based on Play?  Perpetual musing on the premise yields further inquiry into: can we Play at Practice?, and, can we Practice at Play?  In the spirit of a Robert Pirsig Chautauqua, I endeavor to highlight the landscape my work has explored and the territory it has attempted settle.

“Using Empathy to Design School Based Play”
David Gallagher, Chief Program Officer, Playworks
This session will focus on how to have an empathic lens when designing programming for play within schools.

 

“Lighting with LED . . . The Opportunities and the Challenges”
Joe Crookham, Chief Executive Officer and President, Musco Sports Lighting, LLC
This session will cover LED related issues regarding energy, maintenance, spill, glare, sky glow and the impact of color spectrum choices on both vision and health.  This session will discuss design opportunities and challenges when using diode light devices, LED, to illuminate large areas such as a ball field, play areas and walkways.


“The Future of Schoolyards and Strategies to Work with School Communities to Get Things Funded and Built”

Bambi Yost, Assistant Professor, Landscape Architecture,  Iowa State University, will share lessons learned from  her time as Project Manager and researcher on Denver Public School’s Learning Landscapes schoolyards.

“Playing Outside the Lines: Play As A Metaphor for Life”
Erik “Dr. E.” Fisher, Ph.D., Psychologist, Media Consultant, Author
Often we teach kids to play games by the rules, and there is definitely a value to this. However, what can happen when you  take play and the game beyond the rules and look to what play can teach about the child and what you can teach children about life through play?

“BrandNewNoise: Where Design Meets Play”
Richard Upchurch, Founder of BrandNewNoise
Explore the inspiration and process behind the brand’s creative sound gadgets. It started out as a simple voice recorder made from the electronics of a $2 toy and some wood scraps – a simple design.  Today BrandNewNoise is making handcrafted sound gadgets for all kids, musicians, lovers, and aliens looking to explore – even celebrity soundmakers like the Black Keys.  Each recorder is handmade in Brooklyn, NY out of American sustainable wood. Richard’s talk will focus on how the simplicity in design leads to creative input and play for the end user.

“Placemaking Leads To Playmaking: How Edible & Medicinal Gardens Make Serenbe More Playful”
Steve Nygren – President of Serenbe
After escaping Atlanta to rural South Fulton, Steve Nygren noticed the positive affect nature had on his daughters. They were happier, more relaxed and chose nature over toys. He then set out to create a built environment that would not only cater to play, but encourage it.”  Serenbe is a progressive community connected to nature on the edge of Atlanta.  Serenbe’s architectural planning sets a new standard for community living.  Steve’s presentation will share the specific ways nature makes children healthier, happier and smarter, how increased access to nature transforms our culture, and show how edible and medicinal gardens encourage outdoor play.

 “Ten Strategies to Get a C in Play”
Michael Bryant, Director of Educational Program Activation at Discovery Education
At Discovery Education, Michael Bryant was instrumental in the launch of Techbooks, powerful digital resources instead of the traditional textbook. Currently, Mike works with corporate and non-profit partners to craft engaging free programs and resources for students all over the world. From hosting virtual field trips at a Ford plant to immersing himself in a STEM lab for the Tiger Woods Foundation, Mike works to ensure all educators and students have access to the best resources. Michael’s featured session will focus on the 4Cs (Collaborate, Create, Communicate and Critical Thinking) and strategies & resources Discovery Education has found to work well before, during and after school.

 

More Featured Sessions for 2017 Conference on the Value of Play

The US Play Coalition is proud to announce the last of its featured sessions for the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play.  The annual conference, whose 2017 theme is “Where Design Meets Play – Bringing Play to Landscapes, Curricula, Programs, Museums, and Beyond,” will be April 2-5 at Clemson University.  Here is a glimpse of the featured speakers who will round out our lineup.

 

“How Science and Research are Rocking the Play World”
Stuart Brown, MD – Founder of National Institute for Play
Joe Frost, Parker, PhD – Centennial Professor Emeritus, University of Texas
Tom Norquist – Senior Vice President of Product Development & Marketing – PlayCore/GameTime

When Stuart Brown, a pioneer in research on play, and Joe Frost, the contemporary father of play advocacy, are your guides, only magical things can happen!  Tom Norquist, product innovator at GameTime, will lead the conversation with his mentors on how hard science and research are the building blocks of playful design.

 

BrandNewNoise: Where Design Meets Play”
Richard Upchurch, Founder of BrandNewNoise

Explore the inspiration and process behind the brand’s creative sound gadgets. It started out as a simple voice recorder made from the electronics of a $2 toy and some wood scraps – a simple design.  Today BrandNewNoise is making handcrafted sound gadgets for all kids, musicians, lovers, and aliens looking to explore – even celebrity soundmakers like the Black Keys.  Each recorder is handmade in Brooklyn, NY out of American sustainable wood. Richard’s talk will focus on how the simplicity in design leads to creative input and play for the end user.

 

“Placemaking Leads To Playmaking: How Edible & Medicinal Gardens Make Serenbe More Playful”
Steve Nygren – President of Serenbe

After escaping Atlanta to rural South Fulton, Steve Nygren noticed the positive affect nature had on his daughters. They were happier, more relaxed and chose nature over toys. He then set out to create a built environment that would not only cater to play, but encourage it.”  Serenbe is a progressive community connected to nature on the edge of Atlanta.  Serenbe’s architectural planning sets a new standard for community living.  Steve’s presentation will share the specific ways nature makes children healthier, happier and smarter, how increased access to nature transforms our culture, and show how edible and medicinal gardens encourage outdoor play.

 

 “Ten Strategies to Get a C in Play”
Michael Bryant, Director of Educational Program Activation at Discovery Education

At Discovery Education, Michael Bryant was instrumental in the launch of Techbooks, powerful digital resources instead of the traditional textbook. Currently, Mike works with corporate and non-profit partners to craft engaging free programs and resources for students all over the world. From hosting virtual field trips at a Ford plant to immersing himself in a STEM lab for the Tiger Woods Foundation, Mike works to ensure all educators and students have access to the best resources. Michael’s featured session will focus on the 4Cs (Collaborate, Create, Communicate and Critical Thinking) and strategies & resources Discovery Education has found to work well before, during and after school.

Check the conference site often for updates and news!

  

Industry Leaders Announced for Keynote “Power PLAYer Panel”

The US Play Coalition is proud to announce the latest addition to the keynote lineup for the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play: Where Design Meets Play, April 2-5 at Clemson University.

Some of the biggest names in the industry will come together for our second keynote session – the “Power PLAYer Panel.”  Tackling the landscape of play from research, health, youth, parks and governmental perspectives, this is a discussion NOT to be missed!

Moderator:
Fran Mainella – Founder/Co-Chair of the US Play Coalition & Former Director of the National Park Service
Fran Mainella served as the 16th Director of the National Park Service from 2001 – 2006. She was the first woman to hold this key position. Prior to heading the National Park Service, Mainella served for twelve years as Director of Florida State Parks. She has also served as executive director of the Florida Recreation and Park Association and as president of both the National Recreation and Park Association and the National Association of State Park Directors. She is currently a Visiting Scholar at Clemson University Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management and the founder and co-chair of the US Play Coalition.

Panelists:
Stuart Brown, MD – Founder and President of National Institute for Play
Trained in general and internal medicine, psychiatry and clinical research, Dr. Stuart Brown has spent his career studying animal behavior and conducting more than six thousand “play histories” of humans from all walks of life—from serial murderers to Nobel Prize winners.  Brown’s research asserts that play is essential to our social skills, adaptability, intelligence, creativity, ability to problem solve, and more. Play is hardwired into our brains—it is the mechanism by which we become resilient, smart, and adaptable people.

Michael Suk, MD – Chief Physician Officer, Geisinger System Services
An orthopaedic traumatologist by training, Dr. Michael Suk has served as a White House Fellow by President George W. Bush and served as Special Assistant to Secretary Gale A. Norton at the U.S. Department of the Interior.   During his tenure as a White House Fellow, Dr. Suk organized Get Fit with US, designed to support HealthierUS, a federal interagency program based on the premise that increasing personal fitness and becoming healthier is critical to achieving a better and longer life.  At Interior, Dr. Suk spearheaded an initiative to develop the link between public health and recreation by coordinating five Interior bureaus.  Dr. Suk believes that simple outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and camping on public lands and waters can serve as a gateway to a healthier lifestyle.

Kim Moore Bailey – Executive Director, Youth Outside

Kim Moore Bailey brings a wealth of experience to her role as Executive Director for Youth Outside. Kim provides the leadership and vision that drives its mission of connecting youth to nature by eliminating barriers, providing resources, and promoting outdoor programming. Inspired by her own passion for the outdoors and years of both professional and personal experiences, Kim focuses on Youth Outside’s strategic direction, grantmaking portfolio, and working to achieve measurable results. Kim believes that Youth Outside serves as an intermediary to develop the critical connections required to engage underrepresented youth to nature and to encourage the capacity building of the organizations supported.

 

 

Featured Sessions Announced for 2017 Conference on the Value of Play

The US Play Coalition is proud to announce a number of its featured sessions for the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play.  The annual conference, whose 2017 theme is “Where Design Meets Play – Bringing Play to Landscapes, Curricula, Programs, Museums, and Beyond,” will be April 2-5 at Clemson University.  Here is a glimpse at the featured speaker lineup…more to come!

“Sometimes It Hurts: Designing Play Environments with as Much Risk-Taking as Possible and as Little Safety as Necessary”
Panelists:
– Moderator / US Perspective: Teri Hendy, Site Masters, Inc.
– European Perspective: Julian Richter, Richter Spielgeraete GmbH
– UK Perspective: Harry Harbottle, CATE Consultancy
– Canadian Perspective: Jennifer Martin, TELUS Spark
This two-part session includes speakers from the US, Germany, the UK and Canada presenting an international view of the role of risk taking in designing children’s play environments.  The panel will focus on the perception of risk vs. the reality; designing for acceptable risk that balances risk and play value; establishing a precedent of risk tolerance; and modeling risky play that creates healthy and innovative communities.

“The Genius of Play: Designing an Integrated Program to Help Families Capitalize on Key Developmental Benefits for Their Children”
Panelists:
– Anna Yudina, Director of Marketing Initiatives, Toy Industry Association
– Erik “Dr. E.” Fisher, Ph.D., Psychologist, Media Consultant, Author
– Jackie Retzer, Marketing Communications, Toy Industry Association
– David Gallagher, Chief Program Officer, Playworks
The presentation highlights research findings about parental attitudes towards play and shares best practices for utilizing social media, expert influencers, and partnerships to build a national play movement.

“Designing a Practice of Play”
Dan Harding, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Architecture and Community Design+Build
Clemson University

“Using Empathy to Design School Based Play”
David Gallagher, Chief Program Officer, Playworks
This session will focus on how to have an empathic lens when designing programming for play within schools.

“Lighting with LED . . . The Opportunities and the Challenges”
Joe Crookham, Chief Executive Officer and President, Musco Sports Lighting, LLC
This session will cover LED related issues regarding energy, maintenance, spill, glare, sky glow and the impact of color spectrum choices on both vision and health.  This session will discuss design opportunities and challenges when using diode light devices, LED, to illuminate large areas such as a ball field, play areas and walkways.

“The Future of Schoolyards and Strategies to Work with School Communities to Get Things Funded and Built”
Bambi Yost, Assistant Professor, Landscape Architecture,  Iowa State University, will share lessons learned from  her time as Project Manager and researcher on Denver Public School’s Learning Landscapes schoolyards.

“Playing Outside the Lines: Play As A Metaphor for Life”
Erik “Dr. E.” Fisher, Ph.D., Psychologist, Media Consultant, Author
Often we teach kids to play games by the rules, and there is definitely a value to this. However, what can happen when you  take play and the game beyond the rules and look to what play can teach about the child and what you can teach children about life through play?

More featured sessions to be announced in the coming weeks.
Check the conference site often for updates and news!

 

US Play Coalition to honor Joe Frost with Inaugural Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research

Dr. Joe L. Frost, Ed.D, L.H.D., is one of America’s leading experts on play and playgrounds and has a global reputation as the contemporary father of play advocacy.  He is the Parker Centennial Professor Emeritus at The University of Texas at Austin with a passion for children’s play and play spaces.  Joe has been an influential member of the US Play Coalition’s steering committee since its humble beginnings.  He has served as moderator at the 2009 Summit on the Value of Play and then as honorary conference chair for each successive play conference.  Joe Frost has been an influencer for our organization’s work as well as for the world of play.  Along with his wife Betty, Joe attends US Play Coalition events whenever he can!

At the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play: Where Design Meets Play, the US Play Coalition will present the inaugural Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research.  This is to be awarded annually in recognition of a body of exceptional research that has enhanced and expanded the study of play.  It only makes sense that Joe will be the first recipient!

Each year the recipient of the Joe Frost Award will receive not only a physical award, but also conference fees paid, hotel accommodations and up to $500 in travel to attend the Play Conference. To all of Joe’s friends, family, colleagues, students and admirers, we hope you will consider supporting the new award with a tribute donation to the Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research with a tax-deductible contribution today!


KaBoom! CEO to give PLAYtalk at 2017 Conference on the Value of Play

james-siegal_head-shot

Our next PLAYtalk presenter is determined to bring play everywhere, especially to low-resource communities in the United States.  James Siegal is CEO of KaBOOM!, the national non-profit that seeks to give all kids the childhood they deserve, filled with play.  KaBOOM! is dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the daily lives of all kids, particularly those growing up in poverty in America.

James Siegal says that, in addition to building play spaces in low-income neighborhoods, KaBOOM! urges local leaders to take steps to create equitable, kid-friendly cities.  “The conversations about improving cities all too often ignore the needs of kids and families,” he says.

Most recently, KaBOOM! hosted The Play Everywhere Challenge, a $1 million competkaboom-logo-tagline-1200x630ition to help kids access innovative play spaces.

For his PLAYtalk, James will discuss “Transforming Every Day Spaces into PLAYces”.

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

Learn more about the conference by clicking here.

Early bird registration is now open!


Innovative Play Space Designer Matthew Urbanski to Keynote The 2017 Conference on the Value of Play

Innovative Play Space Designer Matthew Urbanski will be a keynote spMatthew Urbanski September 20, 2010 Pier 6- BBP © Julienne Schaereaker for the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play: Where Design Meets Play, April 2-5 at Clemson University.

Matthew is a landscape architect and Principal of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates in New York, NY. He lectures regularly on design of play spaces in the landscape and how spatial complexity, particularly when combined with plants and other natural materials, supports an integration of active and imaginative play. Examples from Matthew’s work in playground design include Maggie Daley Park in Chicago, a riverfront park in Tulsa, Hoboken’s Pier C Park, the Union Square Park Playground and Teardrop Park in Manhattan, and Pier 6 of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

US Play Coalition Steering Committee Member Teri Hendy introduced us to Urbanski.  “Matt and his amazing team of designers at MVVA are responsible for creating some of the most forward thinking play environments in the US today.  Matt sculpts the earth creating three-dimensional spaces that contain a wide range of types of settings that truly engage people of all ages beckoning them to join in the play.”  Hendy, who is president of Site Masters Inc., has worked with Urbanski on several projects in Germany.  She continued, “Architects and designers across the globe are gaining design inspiration from Matt’s play environments.  I think we are truly blessed to have the opportunity to hear him speak.”

Matthew’s keynote remarks will examine lessons learned from designing play spaces.  His presentation is called, “Designing for Fun: Making Play Spaces that City Kids (and Parents) Love”