The ABCs of the 2018 Play Conference Research Symposium and Educational Sessions

The full detailed schedule is coming soon with dozens more session titles…but until then, below is an alphabetical list of the Research Symposium and Educational Sessions that have been confirmed for the 2018 Conference on the Value of Play: The Many Faces of Play.  Check back often because we will update the list as our presenters continue to confirm their sessions.

 playing with boxes from Pat Rumbaugh     DSCF1349    IMG_2667

Be sure to REGISTER TODAY because the early bird deadline for this PLAYful conference is February 28.

  • A Critical Approach to Play and Recreation Evaluation: Telling More of the Story
  • Adaptive Sports Development: Building a 7-a-side Paralympic Soccer Club Program
  • An Analysis of School Playgrounds and Parks using Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • An Exploration of Infant and Toddler Outdoor Play
  • A Walk on the Wild Side: Connecting Play and Zoo Walkways
  • Activating an Urban Neighborhood for Outdoor Play:  Strategies for Replication
  • Applying Play Research and Theory to School, Community, and Family Settings in Trinidad & Tobago
  • Assessing Availability and Quality of Play Spaces for Cities within the East Africa Community
  • Beyond Cardboard and Sticks: The Role of Toys in Facilitating Play
  • Biophilic Approach to Children’s Nature-based Outdoor Designed Environments
  • Building a #All-In Classroom Culture: Real-World Challenges In a Game-Based Atmosphere
  • Celebrating a University Collaborative Community of Play
  • Children’s PlayDays – Play Provision in a Time of Extreme Crisis
  • Combining Modern Technology with Outdoor Play
  • Community-Based Strategies for Building and Activating Inclusive Playgrounds
  • Community Health Lessons From Volunteer Implementation of Natural Play Spaces
  • Creating a Playful Event for Children with Special Needs
  • Creating Specialized Outdoor Play Training To Empower Children’s Experiences
  • Diabetes Day Camp: Playing To Learn, Heal and Connect
  • Discover, Play, Share: Using Play To Build Early Literacy And STEM Skills In Preschoolers
  • Discover the Secret Language of Play
  • Exploring a Multi-Sector Approach To Play
  • Four Elements of Play As Described By Ugandan Women
  • Get Playful With Dance
  • How Better Play Makes Better Schools
  • How I Learned To Be an Adult; Lessons Learned On the Recess Playground
  • How to Open a Toy Library
  • How to Survive and Thrive As a Purely Play-Based Program: The Sunflower Creative Arts Story
  • Idea Factory: STEM through Play
  • Inclusive Design for the Aquatic Splash Pad
  • Improv Parenting: Using Improv to Parent Playfully and Mindfully
  • Is It Play?  Is It Learning? A Cross-Cultural Study of Children’s And Parents’ Views
  • “It’s Gonna Hurt”: Roughhousing and Risk in Play
  • Learning to Build
  • Leisure Activities among Urban Older Adults in China: How and Where do They Play?
  • Let’s Get Some GoNoodle On!
  • Making Classroom Magic with Mystery Skype
  • More Fences, More Freedom? Exploring How the Design of Public Play Areas Affects Supervision
  • Municipal Government and Play, It Can Be Done!
  • Natural Harmony: An Instrumental Guide to Blending Music & Community
  • Naturestart: Professional Development For Informal and Early Childhood Educators in Blended Classrooms
  • Night at the Brewseum: Adults at Play!
  • Opportunities and Barriers of Play at Pediatric Gardens: A Recent Case Study
  • Play and Prevention of Bullying Behaviors
  • Play Based Education through a Comprehensive School Health Framework
  • Playground Literacy: Supporting Active Learning through Play
  • PlayMatters – Therapeutic Value of Play for Children Impacted by Agent Orange from the Vietnam War
  • Play Politics: School and Municipal Decision-Making Challenges in Canada Limiting Access to Play
  • Play, Time, Behavior, and Flourishing
  • Prevention, Promotion and Play: Using Interactive Activities to Promote Child Health and Wellness
  • Recess Results: A Survey on Educators’ Perspectives on the Benefits of Recess
  • Remember Play? How Our Personal Play Histories Springboard Support for Child-Directed Play
  • Results of Grassroots Efforts to Increase Nature Play Infrastructure for Children
  • Scaling Up: Building Play Networks At the Regional Level
  • Sensory Play: An Integral Component of Inclusive Recreation
  • The Butterfly Effect: Building On the Big Idea
  • The Healing Power of Play – Restoring Childhood to Kids Impacted By Disasters
  • The Real Toy Story: How to Create a Toy Library by The #1 Library in the Country
  • The Role of Play in the Art Museum: A Case Study at the High Museum of Art
  • The Urgent Need for Play-Based Experiential Learning in Preschool and Kindergarten
  • Three Key Questions to Scaffold Playfulness
  • Tips, Tools, and Tales from the Field: Fostering All-Out, Joyful Play in Adults
  • Transitional Play: Exploring the Play Value of Classroom Indoor-Outdoor Relationship of Space
  • Water Play and Children’s Complex Scientific Explorations
  • What’s Going on with the Midwest Play Conference?: A Nature and Loose Parts Play Workshop
  • YMCA Of Western Ontario; Outdoor Play Project
  • Your Senses at Play! Explore Playground Designs And Programs That Support Children With Autism
  • Zoos as a Nature Play Destination: Nature Playgrounds at Bronx Zoo and Houston Zoo

…and MANY, MANY MORE!!  You don’t want to miss this exciting professional development opportunity!  Join us at the 2018 Conference on the Value of Play: The Many Faces of Play, April 8-11 at Clemson University.

PAW Prints and Beyond: Mary Ann Rintoul

This is the first in a series that our Play Ambassador Coordinator Ryan Fahey
is doing to highlight people and businesses doing what we love…PLAY!  Since Ryan lives in Canada, many of his features will be on our neighbors to the north, broadening the global reach of our Play Coalition.

Recently I sat down with Professor Rintoul from the University of Alberta to discuss why she places such a high value on play. Rintoul goes beyond being passionate for play as she currently runs the PAW campaign and is heavily involved with IPA. Along with these accomplishments, we are glad to have Professor Rintoul involved with the US Play Coalition as a Play Ambassador as she continues to promote the value of play!MaryAnn Rintoul

  1. What is your favourite thing to do that is playful? Why do you think play is so impor

This is a tricky question….as I believe play is not always defined as an activity (thing to do) but as a state of mind. We can be playful all the time! If I were to pick a couple of my top playful things to do, I would say dancing and exploring ocean shores (I love rocks). 

  1. What is “Play Around The World”?

Play Around the World (PAW) is a credit course that is designed to provide University of Alberta students with a 3-month cross-cultural volunteer experience either internationally or in Canada. Offered by the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta, Canada, students from diverse educational backgrounds form learning communities which are structured to provide a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to learning, leadership, and programming. The main purpose of Play Around the World is to provide students with an opportunity to develop a sense of global awareness and citizenry through a service-learning course focused on Play Provision (United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child). This is achieved through collaboration with various schools, government agencies, and community-based organizations where students work with staff members to provide opportunities for play, sport, and physical activity to children and youth of all abilities. Play is viewed as a vehicle to enliven the human spirit and to promote optimal development.  By working with international and/or Canadian partners, students undergo a meaningful learning experience that enhances their global education in a variety of areas (somewhat dependent on site location) including: culture; the cultural dimensions of play, sport, recreation, and physical activity; issues of child poverty; globalization; the effects of tourism and sex tourism; and the rights of the child as well as the rights of persons with a disability. Play Around the World began in 2001. 

  1. What first got you interested in “Play Around The World” and why?

The former Director and Founder, Jane Vallentyne was a colleague and friend. From the start of the program (2001) I was a supporter and always attended student fundraising events along with the public presentations. There was always something about the program that not only resonated with my work in the Faculty teaching children’s movement activities, but also aligned with many of my values regarding global citizenship and service learning. 

  1. What has been your greatest highlight since being involved with “Play Around The World”?

Perhaps the greatest highlight, among many, would be the expansion to our Cambodia placement site in 2009 – 2010. Personal connections to this country make the work we have established there especially rewarding. 

  1. What do you think the future of play looks like? How does “Play Around The World” support what that looks like?

It is very encouraging to see the profile of play in Canada beginning to rise to the platform it deserves. The Child’s Right to Play as outlined in the UN Convention on the Right of the Child is starting to catch the attention of many provincial and national organizations and small pockets of play advocates are spreading the declaration of the importance of play in the lives of children and adults alike. Play Around the World, as a not-for-profit organization, supports local initiatives by planning and implementing Playdays with agencies such as the YMCA or City of Edmonton as well as special events such as National Child Day celebrations. Alumni of the program are often called upon as ‘play leaders’ to facilitate sessions with children and families. Our main contribution to supporting the future of play is in the form of ‘time and talents’. 

Thank you for all that you do to promote the value of play Mary Ann!

#Playful Kids

monkeybars2Recently we sat down with Evie Houtz, Program Specialist for Be Active Kids in Raleigh, NC. Evie is a mother of two playful kids. She is a role model for living an active, healthy lifestyle! Here is what Evie had to say when we chatted with her about Play!

“As Play Ambassadors, it is our job teach our children how to be playful and physically active just as much as it is our job to teach them morals, values, social skills, and educational concepts.   Physical activity is any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure.   Physically active children will develop gross motor skills that later help them to take part in games and sports with their peers.  Physical activity helps children build strong hearts, muscles and bones, improve thinking skills, develop positive self-esteem and confidence and just have fun.

Kids of all ages need both structured and unstructured physically active play throughout the day.   Structured activities are adult led and have a specific learning objective.  This type of physical activity includes games like Simon Says or Red Light, Green Light and organized sports like t-ball or soccer.  Young children should get between 60-90 minutes of structured physical activity throughout the day.  Many of these structured activities help the child to learn a motor skill or increase competency in movement.  In addition children should take part in at least 60 minutes of unstructured physical activity or free play.  This type of physical activity is child centered, child led and child initiated.  Unstructured physical activity includes things like fort building, climbing trees, running around pretending to be magical beings or super heroes, or creating a city out of boxes.  Unstructured free play helps a child to be more creative, learn to experiment, to work cooperatively, and to think more critically.  Both types of physical activity should be spread throughout the day.

In helping a child to play more, know that you have many items you around you each day that can be used for active play.  We all have milk jugs that can turn in to targets or balls, sticks that can used as swords, plastic bags that turn into juggling scarves and mud that can be thrown to ward off the bad guys.  It takes some creativity, courage and a little out-of-the-box thinking, but it is so important. Getting kids active is essential to their long term health and well-being.   Studies have shown that the motivation to be active (exercise) in adulthood can be influenced by childhood experiences.”

For more ideas or how to use inexpensive items to increase physical activity, check out the Be Active Kids 8 one-pagers.


By: Ryan Fahey, B.Ed, BKin

Ryan is a new regular blogger for the US Play Coalition.  He is working to develop our Play Ambassador program and spread the word about the Value of Play.