#Thankful4Play Photo Challenge for November

This November, we want YOU to help us show the world how you are #Thankful4Play with our first ever photo challenge.  As we lead up to the American Thanksgiving holiday, please post pictures on all your favorite social media platforms with the hashtag #Thankful4Play and tag @usplaycoalition too!
Top #Thankful4Play posts will be featured in our first ever #Thankful4Play Thanksgiving gallery – and the most popular photos will receive PLAY prizes!

Note: Photos will be shared on our social media and possibly in future publications.

2018 Play Conference Logo Design Competition Announced

Are you creative?!  Handy with graphic design programs?! Wanna win a $100 Amazon.com e-gift card?!  Submit a design for our first ever conference logo by July 9.

The winning logo will be used to establish the conference’s visual identity and highlight the theme for the 2018 Conference on the Value of Play: The Many Faces of Play.

New to the Play Conference? You’re Gonna Wanna Read This!

Meet Marie-Catherine Dubé, Aquatic Play Design expert at Vortex International and poster child for all the reasons YOU should come to the Conference on the Value of Play !  This is her story…

My first experience at the US Play Coalition’s annual Conference on the Value of Play was definitely a memorable one, to say the least. As a senior Industrial Design student studying at Purdue University the spring of 2015, I discovered the existence of the coalition while working on my thesis in Nepal, the fall prior. My work, Tilt: the Playscape Project, involved studying play in a third world environment, and from there I would build a playground at a local school. I quickly fell in love with the field of play.  Discovering that there was this whole GROUP of people—professionals!—who were also passionate about play, I knew I needed to get to this conference however possible. Through educational sessions, roundtables, and amazing keynote speakers, I discovered how multifaceted this field of study can be, how broad the span of interested individuals actually is.

The most valuable part of my first experience at the US Play Coalition conference, aside the sessions (that were actually educational!), the roundtables, the keynotes…was the networking. Meeting people to share ideas with and work with was truly the jumpstart to my career. I attended a session on water play where a company from Montreal, Canada was presenting. As an avid Montreal Canadians fan (and Canadian by birth), I later saw one of the presenters in the hospitality suite on the last day and was not shy about my love for Canada and play. As it turns out, networking your passion is pretty valuable; I met the right person at the right time!  Turns out that presenter was the president & CEO of Vortex!  Because of that conversation, I later got what I consider is the coolest job in the world! I moved to Montreal and now work as a waterpark designer, where every single day I get to study and utilize my love for play. Because of that conference in 2015, I absolutely love my job, the US Play Coalition, and I’m a Play Advocate for life!

Haven’t convinced you yet?!  Check out all the details for the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play…and join me!

Conference Speakers Focus On “Planning for Play”

The Landscape Architect and Aquatic Play design expert agree on one thing—the key to a successful project is determined before the first shovel gets near the site. It’s all in the planning.

Marie-Catherine Dubé, Aquatic Play Design expert at Vortex International, and Zak Pierce, a professional Landscape Architect with CLH Design, will explain their common view at the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play in Clemson, South Carolina.

“We need to understand the site, the community’s culture, and how we can enhance the play experience through natural elements,” says Marie-Catherine. “We’ve found that water can elevate the play experience and plays a critical role in appealing to users of all ability levels.”

“We also need to consider the health, safety, and welfare of all users,” adds Zak. “We want our projects to accommodate a multi-generational audience so that everyone benefits from a community play space. It’s a lot more than picking components out of a catalog.”

Learn more about how you can maximize the play value of a community space, from design to execution, by attending their talk.

The Play Lady to Give PLAYtalk “Is Your Community Designed For Play?”

The name says it all…Pat Ruaaaaambaugh IS The Play Lady!  The co-founder of Let’s Play America, is on a mission to encourage joy, improve communities and connect neighbors through play.

“When I play, I am happy, energized and enthusiastic, and I feel like I can take on the world,” says Pat, who is a passionate play advocate and encourages people of all ages to experience the benefits of playing.

Pat speaks all over the country about the importance of play.  She is frequent blogger on the topic as well, contributing to Psychology Today, Genius of Play, AARP and Play and Playground Magazine.  Pat is also author of a children’s book, Let’s Play at the Playground, published in 2013.

The Play Lady has organized more than 60 free events, and her small city sees three “Play Days” a year — including one just for adults — that attract several hundred people. Because of The Play Lady, her hometown has been named a Playful City USA eight times!

The Play Lady’s PLAYtalk is entitled, “Is Your Community Designed For Play?”

Powerful LiiNK Project is Another Beneficiary of Giving TuesPLAY Funds

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

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

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

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

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



Giving TuesPLAY supports Child-Centered Play at University of Florida

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

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

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

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


US Play Coalition Launches New Website

We are pleased to announce the launch of our brand new website usplaycoalition.org

website screenshot

Our goal with this new website is to provide our visitors an easier way to learn about what the US Play Coalition does, why we do what we do, and how to get involved. The new website is interactive and gives better access to our content. It also features integrated social media buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn to foster improved communication with our members. We will be constantly updating our content with helpful information, articles, blogs, newsletters, announcements and member successes.

We hope you find the new website has a fresh look, is easy to use and is informative. For any questions, suggestions, feedback or comments, please e-mail us.