Action & Research Grants

Action & Research Grants

Through competitive funding opportunities, we offer both Action and Research Grants to playmakers, communities and researchers whose work has the potential to improve and expand the Play Movement. Note: Our grants are NOT for playground equipment, sunshades, surfacing or the like.

The next opportunity to apply for action and research grants has not been scheduled. Typically, our grants application is only available to accepted conference presenters. Those interested in applying for one of our grants will first need to submit a presentation proposal for the next Conference on the Value of Play. The call for presentation proposals has not yet launched. Only those whose presentations are accepted are eligible to apply for the next round of research and action grants. Stay tuned to our social media for updates.

Research Grants support new & emerging PLAY research

Research Grants are $3,000 grants awarded for empirical research that supports new, innovative and thoughtful work on the value of play. These awards are seed funds in support of longitudinal or future research in diverse topics related to play, and grant recipients’ work reflects great potential for expanding knowledge in the field.

Previous Research Seed Grant Recipients:

2020-2023* – “The Recess Initiative: A Participatory Action Approach to Increasing Physical Activity and Self-Regulation through Recess in Elementary Schools” – William Massey, Ph.D.
*grant period extended due to Covid-19 implications

2019 – “Development of a Research-Based Audit Tool for Assessing the Quality and Efficacy of Outdoor Play Environments” – Janet Loebach, Ph.D.

2018 – “Transitional Play: Exploring the Play Value of Classroom Indoor-Outdoor Relationship of Space” – Muntazar Monsur, Ph.D., Nilda Cosco, Ph.D., and Robin Moore from NC State

2017 – “Healing through Play: Play Opportunities as Positive Distractions at Pediatric Healthcare Environment” – Shan Jiang, PhD, from West Virginia University

2016 – “The effects of play and character development on classroom behaviors and attentional fatigue in public school grades K & 1” – Debbie Rhea and Alexander Rivchun from Texas Christian University

2015 – “Creating Community Awareness through Prescribing Outdoor Play for Children” – Richard Christiana, Joy James, Rebecca Battista (Appalachian State University)

2014 – “Effects of Technological Toys on Children’s Imaginative Play” – Lynn Barnett

2013 – “Developing a Community Play Index” – Jeanette Gustat

2012 – “Creating the Encyclopedia of Play Science” – Megan Tulac

2012 – “Youth Physical Activity within Park Activity Areas: Differences by Gender Race/Ethnicity” – Andrew Kaczynski

2012 – “Wouldn’t It Be Nice if Everybody Were on the Same Page? The Conflict over Play in Pre-School” – Reva Fish and Laura Klenk

2011 – “Recess: What We Know and What We Need to Learn” – Olga Jarrett

2011 – “Measuring Possible Concerns about Bringing Children to Nature” – Matthew Browning

2011 – “Deconstructing the Sport Experience: Understanding Variations in Context” – Matthew Bowers

Action Grants help communities PLAY

Action grants are $1,000 grants to facilitate play in communities. These grants support creative and innovative proposals to engage groups in play or to educate about the value of play. All activities should be completed within a calendar year from the time of award. Note: Action grants are NOT for playground equipment, sunshades, surfacing or the like.

Previous Action Grant Recipients:

2020-2021 – “No, They’re Not Too Old to Play! Bringing Loose Parts Play to South Florida Middle Schoolers” – Simone Chin and Susan Caruso, Sunflower Creative Arts

2020-2021 – “Parent LAB PLAY DAY Series” – Ariana Brazier, ATL Parent Like a Boss (Atlanta)

2020-2021 – “Super-Powering Play: Mobilizing PlayBuild’s Volunteer Community Board as Play Ambassadors” – Angela Kyle, PlayBuild (New Orleans)

2019 – “Free For All Community Day” – Courtney Gardner and Ben Dalbey – Free for All Baltimore (MD)

2019 – “Make Way for Play: Brilliant Benefits of Toys Guide” (Digital & Printed Spanish Version) – American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA)

2019 – “PlayFrisco!” – Shannon Keleher, Director of Parks & Recreation, City of Frisco, TX

2018 – “Loose Parts Play Builds Tight Communities” – Patty Stine and Cheryl Simpson, Co-Founders of Pure Play Every Day, Inc.

2018 – “Unequal Playing Field – A Panel Discussion on the Importance of Accessing Equal Play for Girls and Girls of Color” – Starr Jordan & Nichole Myles from Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry (Charleston, SC)

2017 – Harper’s Playground at Arbor Lodge Park, a playground for children of all abilities in in Portland, OR

2017 – “Building a Community of PLAY Through an Interdisciplinary University Collaborative” – Debora Wisneski and Miriam Kuhn, University of Nebraska Omaha.

2017 – “Ludovia,” a weekly class for young professionals and working-class minorities to foster play through physical, emotional and social communication – Gregory Manley, City of Play, Pittsburgh, PA

2016 – “The Playworker Project” – Megan Dickerson from The New Children’s Museum

2016 – “Using an Outdoor Classroom to Extend Learning through Play” – Kristine Jenkins from First Steps South Carolina

2016 – “Playing for a Change in Elementary Schools” – Sondra Smith-Adcock from University of Florida

2015 – “Play at the Core: the Importance of Play-Based Practices in Early Education, a Mixed-Methods Approach” – Emily Rea, Jared Carroll, Jacob Gomez and Sanam Jain

2015 – “Providing Appropriate Play Experiences for Children with Autism” – Rebecca Woodard and Zach Burt

2014 – “The Anarchy Zone and Other Stories from the Adventure Play Renaissance” – Rusty Keeler (on behalf of Ithaca Children’s Garden)

2014 – “Playground Ideas: Designing and Building Playspaces for a Changing Global Landscape” – Elizabeth Moreno

2014 – “Createcompanions” – Roberta Gardner

2013 – “All My Other Classes are Boring Lectures: Play Days as Service-Learning Opportunities” – Joyce Hemphill and Heather Von Bank

2013 – “Buffalo’s Pop-Up Adventure Playground – Community Based Free Play” – Joy Kuebler

2013 – “Play for All: Advocating Play to Vulnerable Populations” – Naomi Roberson and Kate Zmich