The 2022 IN PERSON Conference on the Value of Play:
THE NATURE OF PLAY will be April 2-6, 2022, in Clemson, South Carolina.

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 leading play researchers, educators, health scientists, park and recreation professionals, landscape architects, designers, planners, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the globe.

“THE NATURE OF PLAY” is a PLAY on words, allowing for broad interpretation by presenters!  As always, the play conference will explore play across the lifespan, play in the workplace, play in the classroom, play in NATURE and address universal issues of access, equity, inclusion and more.

We are thrilled to have our first IN-PERSON conference since 2019!!  The event includes keynote and featured speakers, round tables on critical issues and trends, a research symposium for academics, educational sessions for practitioners, PLAYtalks and PLAYinstitutes, networking, EPIC play breaks and more. Check back often for updated conference details.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. Please email for information.

Research, Educational & Poster Sessions

Educational Sessions are opportunities to share and discover innovative play strategies and applications. These sessions are interactive and aimed at practitioners.  Educational Sessions are 50 minutes long including Q&A.

The Play Research Symposium is aimed at researchers and academics. It provides opportunities for a scholarly exchange surrounding play.  Sessions will include several 15-minute presentations grouped by theme with a moderated Q&A to follow.

Poster Presentations will display from Sunday through Tuesday of the conference to maximize visibility. The formal Poster Session will be part of a reception on Tuesday where presenters will have the opportunity to speak to conference attendees about their poster display.

Session Themes

All our sessions will be classified into the following themes to help attendees find the sessions that most interest them:

Education & Play – Play is a vital part of the learning equation, both in and out of the classroom. The faces of those learning while at play are some of the most engaging! Consider play as a vehicle for learning through both traditional and nontraditional settings including schools, camps, afterschool programs, museums, zoos, aquariums, parks & recreation departments, faith-based spaces, and more.

Health, Recreation & Play – Play is a building block for healthy living. Examine health and physical activity trends related to play, healthy benefits of play, and the intersection of health and recreation to insure a healthy face of play.

Nature Based & Outdoor Play – The faces of play are often wet, muddy, and sun-glistened from hours spent outdoors. Focus on play in nearby and far away nature–backyards, parks, creeks, lakes, trails, wetlands, and beyond.

Accessible & Inclusive Play – Play should be accessible, available, and open to all. Advance the field for play for all abilities, all shapes, all sizes, all colors.

Multi/Intergenerational & Adults at Play – Promoting play throughout life is our mission. Explore how adults (college-aged to retirees) play and how adults share and benefit from play with children.

Designing for Play – Landscape architects, architects, designers, city planners, and civic groups are invaluable experts, practitioners and resources for PLAY. These sessions will be submitted for LACES CEU approval.

Emerging Trends in Play – Play is changing! The Play movement is growing! Explore the latest in play- technology, social media, politics, policies, and more.

International/Global Play – Play looks very different around the world. Share play practices, history, and culture from countries across the globe.

Nuts & Bolts – From play basics to play essentials. Share tips, trainings, techniques and tools for PLAY.


Continuing Education Units

Clemson University awards CEUs for your participation in sessions at The Conference on the Value of Play. All keynotes, featured, research and educational sessions are 50 minutes in length.  Participants can be awarded .05 CEUs for each of these sessions attended. Institutes are another CEU opportunity.  LA CES are pending for select sessions within the “Designing for Play” track.  Additional paperwork will be required.

Platinum Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors

Play Collaborators