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.