Our 2021 VIRTUAL Play Conference kicks off on April 1 (no joke!) with weekly live headliners and networking events, dozens of recorded educational and research presentations and much more – all online from April 1 through June 30, 2021.

“PLAY IS SURVIVAL” will explore play across the lifespan, play in the workplace, play in the classroom and address universal issues of access, equity, inclusion and more.

We hope you will engage with us virtually in the interest of public health, wellness, safety and education!!!


2021 VIRTUAL Play Conference Registration includes:
  • Access to all “Live” online presentations. These presentations will also be recorded and included in the 2021 Play Conference content.
  • Access to educational sessions and research symposium presentations to watch and learn at your own pace through June 30, 2021.
  • Access to “The Play Room,”  a weekly networking opportunity for conference attendees.
  • Invitation to join closed LinkedIn and Facebook groups for 2021 VIRTUAL Play Conference attendees to connect with PLAY colleagues, share resources and engage around the VALUE of play year-round!

The annual Conference on the Value of Play, now in its 12th year, brings together leading 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 globe.

Health & PLAY Institute

The inaugural “Health & PLAY” Institute features leading healthcare professionals and researchers from across the country examining the synergies between play and health through five distinct pillars:

  • The Science of Play: What We Know
  • Healthcare Professionals’ Wellbeing:
    Burnout, Compassion Fatigue and Play
  • The Role of Play in Society
  • Play and the Ecosystem of Health
  • Using Play as Bridge Between Technologies

Learn more



We brought together three incredible thought leaders for our annual “Power PLAYer Panel.” Our three panelists tackle the 2021 theme, particularly as it relates to issues of diversity, access, equity and inclusion. The dialogue is rich and honest and thoughtful.  Learn more…

#BlackGirlMagic Mondays

Exploring the shared living experiences of Black girls and women through play is vital.  Join host Corliss Outley, PhD, for a series of presentations and conversations that explore the magic of Black Girls play, highlighting spaces where Black girls can experience freedom, autonomy, and joy and validate their experiences in today’s society.  Learn more…

Featured Speakers

Play, Design and Mental Health
Yesim Kunter, Play Futurist, Yesim Kunter Ltd.

Professors at Play: Bringing Fun and Joy into Higher Education
Lisa Forbes, PhD
David Thomas, PhD

Play Opportunity and Play Quality as a Social Justice Issue
Olga Jarrett, PhD
Michael Patte, PhD
John Sutterby, PhD

Communicating Lessons Learned on Equity and Play: the Physical Activity Research Center
Myron Floyd, PhD; Renée Umstattd Meyer, PhD; Aaron Hipp, PhD; Nisha Botchwey, PhD; Jim Sallis, PhD

Expanding the Conversation on Race and Play
Harrison Pinckney, IV, PhD
TreaAndrea M. Russworm, PhD
Nathaniel Bryan, EdD, PhD

Outdoor Play Canada – Promoting, Protecting and Preserving Access to Play in Nature and the Outdoors
Louise de Lannoy, PhD

Playing Through Isolation
Laura Huerta Migus, Dené Mosier, Kathy Parham & Deb Gilpin

Playful Activities to Support Whole Child Health
Jane Park & Daniel Hatcher & Jane Park

COVID-19 and Play: Trending Topics in Child Development Research
Erin O’Connor, PhD & Robin Neuhaus

Play Therapy Mini Series
Jennifer Geddes Hall, PhD, LPC
Christa Butler, LPC, Creative Minds At Play LLC