ONLINE REBOOT!! ON DEMAND through August 10, 2022
2022 Conference on the Value of Play: THE NATURE OF PLAY

Earlier this year, the US Play Coalition hosted the 2022 IN PERSON Conference on the Value of Play: THE NATURE OF PLAY.  This online reboot features headliner recordings from the in-person conference PLUS new content!  Watch all of the recordings at your convenience – ON DEMAND access is available through August 10, 2022.

The annual Conference on the Value of Play, now in its 13th year, brings together leading play researchers, park and recreation professionals, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, business and community leaders, physicians, psychologists and parents from across the globe.

This online reboot is a great option for groups, professional orgs and classes in addition to our individual play friends who couldn’t join us earlier this year.  

“Passion as Playtime — Why Loving What We Do Can Save Us” — J. Drew Lanham, PhD
Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology, Master Teacher and Certified Wildlife Biologist – Forestry and Environmental Conservation Department. Clemson University.

His published writings — “The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature,” “Sparrow Envy: Field Guide to Birds and Lesser Beasts,” and numerous essays and articles — chronicle his experience as a Black man raised in South Carolina with a fascination for wild places and the feathered creatures that inhabit them.

The second annual “Health & PLAY” Institute features sessions by leading healthcare professionals and researchers examining the synergies between play and health.

Speakers include:

  • Michael Suk, MD, Chief Physician Officer
    Geisinger System Services
  • Brooke Buckley, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital
  • Stuart Brown, MD, Founder of the National Institute for Play
  • Deborah A. Cohen, MD, Research Scientist, Kaiser Permanente Research and Evaluation
  • Meghan Talarowski, PLA, , ASLA, CPSI, Founder and Executive Director, Studio Ludo
  • Matthew Browning, PhD, Asst Professor & Director of the Virtual Reality & Nature Lab, Clemson University

Learn more about the presentations…

Four incredible thought leaders tackle the 2022 theme, THE NATURE OF PLAY, for our annual Power PLAYer Panel:

  • Fran Mainella – Chair Emeritus, US Play Coalition & Former National Park Service Director – “The Value of Play”
  • Debora Wisneski, PhD, University of Nebraska at Omaha & past-president of The Association for the Study of Play (TASP) – “The Nature of Play in Education”
  • Deepti Adlakha, PhD – Director of the Natural Learning Initiative, NC State University – “A Call to Action – Designing for Outdoor Play and Healthy Childhoods”
  • Sarah Milligan-Toffler – President & CEO of the Children & Nature Network – “Nature Play Spaces – Transforming Cities into Centers of Well-Being”

Featured Session Recordings

“Playful Pandemic – How Play Clubs, Nature Play, and Extra Recess Are Helping Students Thrive!”
Kevin Stinehart, 4th grade teacher, Play Club Leader
School District of Pickens County

“Playing While Black: The Use of Storytelling For Play Inequity”
Courtashia Felton with Corliss Outley, PhD, Professor, Clemson University

“The Playful Life: The Power of Play in Our Every Day”
Julie P. Jones, PhD, Associate Professor of Education, Converse College and Jed Dearybury, Educator, Author, Illustrator

“COVID Roadblocks Disrupting Play Opportunities: Fighting Back”
Deborah Rhea, PhD, Professor, LiiNK Director

“Active Play: What Role Did it Have in our Evolutionary Past and How Vital is it for our Future?”
Darryl Edwards, founder of the Primal Play Method®

“Play is for a Lifetime – What is YOUR Play Personality?”
Stuart Brown, Founder of the National Institute for Play and Tom Norquist, SVP of Innovation and Business Development – PlayCore/GameTime

“5 Resources to Foster Family Engagement through Nature-Based Play”
Daniel Hatcher, Director of Community Partnerships & Seth Shelby, SC Program Manager, Alliance for a Healthier Generation


Join us for “live on zoom” presentations to engage more directly with presenters.  Sessions are recorded and included in the online conference content.

“Developing a Love of Learning and Health Through Nature-Based Play Spaces”
Friday, July 22 at 1pm ET/ 10am PT
Marnie Norris, Inclusion Matters by Shane’s Inspiration; Daniel Hatcher, Alliance for a Healthier Generation; Nikki Ferrera-Hasani, Too Small to Fail

“This is Not Child’s Play: Early Childhood Sexual Harassment”
Monday, July 25 at 11am ET/8am PT
Ayelet Giladi, PhD

“National Study of Playgrounds”
Tuesday, August 9 at at 11am ET/8am PT
Meghan Talarowski, PLA, ASLA, CPSI


Registration Fees:

• Member — $75
• Non-Member — $100
• Clemson University F/S/S — $35
• Students — $50 (student ID required)

Recorded Educational Sessions

  • “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: Equity and Play” – Angela Novak

    “All Ages, All Abilities, All the Time” – Jill Moore White

    “Bringing Kids’ Imagination to Life in Outdoor Play Through Augmented Reality” – Jyoti Arora

  • “Contextual Play Hackathon – Creating Meaningful Play Solutions” – Pooja Rai & Swetha Manivannan

    “Controversial Play: Weapon, Fantasy and Risky Play-Why They Are Important and How to Support Them” – Samuel Broaden

    “Designing Everyday Spaces for Children” – Shweta Nanekar


  • “Entrepreneurship: For Creative Development in The World Of Recreational Motor Activity Outdoors” – Manuela Gamba

    “Finding Ecohappiness: How to Shape Outdoor Play Using Positive Psychology Tools” – Sandi Schwartz

    “Future of Play: Technology Integration” – David Flanigan

  • “Healthy Communities, Parks and Splashpads” – Sarah Shepherd

    “How global PLAY Has Influenced PLAY in the Early Years of Australian Schools!” – Kim Moroney

    “The Importance of Failure in Play” – Melinda Pearson

  • “Inclusive Playground Design:  A Case Study of Three New England Playgrounds” Ingrid Kanics

    “Making Connections: People, Places, and Physical Activity” Ines Palacios

    “Outdoor Play in Canada 2021 State of the Sector Report – Developing a common vision in outdoor play” – Louise de Lannoy

  • “Prototyping: Play Applied” – Aaron Goldblatt, Meghan Talarowski, Dana Schloss, Christopher Kircher

    “Teaching Off Trail” – Peter Dargatz