Play Facilitation Training

Play Facilitator Certificate of Completion training is an introductory course that will help you incorporate play through two facilitation roles: supporting and directing.

This introductory training is purposefully designed to meet the needs of seasonal, part-time, and temporary workers at camps, playgrounds, and after-school programs. The program is also beneficial as a training tool for full-time staff that work with and lead those individuals.

The training focuses on adults working with children in age groups 3-5, 6-8, and 9-11. There is also a brief segment on children ages 12 and up. The training gives adult facilitators the tools, beginner knowledge, and confidence to provide unstructured play experiences at their facility.

The format of the training is an average of two to three hours of online learning for an individual to complete the program. The department trainer option allows a qualified individual (see below for necessary qualifications) to complete the online training as an individual then to be provided the resources to train an unlimited number of additional staff. With the approval of the department trainer, the additional staff would then be eligible to purchase certificates at a reduced cost. This is an excellent option for those who train the seasonal, part-time, and volunteer staff.

Through online quizzes, the Certificate of Completion program ensures comprehension of the training material. There is also a resources section available throughout and after the training.

The curriculum and coursework were developed primarily by Dr. Ellen O’Sullivan in conjunction with Fran Mainella and in consultation with many members of the US Play Coalition.

Two Enrollment Options

Individual enrollment:

  • Online training
  • Certificate of completion from the US Play Coalition and Clemson University
  • Six months of access to all online resources
  • Cost: $59.00


Departments, schools, or organizations enrollment:

  • Online training for one qualified staff person to become an onsite trainer (qualifications include: two years of working with children and completion of the online training)
  • Full media presentation with guiding notes for the onsite trainer to use during subsequent trainings
  • Discussion questions for the onsite trainer to facilitate during trainings
  • Ability to train unlimited additional staff without certificates
  • Group rates for certificates of completion from the US Play Coalition and Clemson University available to staff who receive the group training and are approved by the onsite trainer
  • Six months of access to online resources for qualified staff person
  • Cost: $300.00

Content Covered

Specific topics covered during the training include:

  • About PlayThe Importance of Play
    • Characteristics of Play
    • Types of Play
    • Examples of Play
  • Play and its Relationship to Stages of Child Development
    • Brief overview of child development characteristics
    • Role of play related to those characteristics
      Examples of suitable games and activities

Roles of Play Facilitator

  • Setting the Stage
    • Safety and security
    • Support for play environment
  • Overseeing Play
  • Directing vs. Supporting Play
    • Balance between both
    • Examples of situations where appropriate
    • Examples of facilitator’s behavior

About the Course Developers

IMG_7848Ellen O’Sullivan, Ph.D., CPRP

Ellen O’ Sullivan is a long time park and recreation professional who began her life’s work as a camp counselor and community recreation director and evolved to university professor and consultant.  Ellen has long believed in the power and promise, that parks and recreation holds for individuals, communities, and society overall. Her contributions to the field include authorship of several books on marketing, major role in the benefits movement, ground-breaking applied research in health using the innovative magnet center approach as well as her role supporting and sustaining community agencies as they strategically alter course to create a viable future in the health, livability, and vitality of communities.

Fran Head Shot

Fran P. Mainella

Fran Mainella is a Visiting Scholar at Clemson University Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management. Previously, she completed nearly six years as the 16th Director and the first woman to lead the National Park Service. Fran served twelve years as Director of Florida’s State Parks, which were awarded the Gold Medal Award, recognizing Florida as the best state park system in the country. 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.

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