Play Pioneers Stuart Brown and Peter Gray to Keynote 10th Anniversary Play Conference

Play pioneers and US Play Coalition “firsts” to keynote for the 10th Anniversary Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR LIFE, March 31-April 3, 2019, in Clemson, SC.

Stuart Brown, MD, our very first keynote speaker (2009) and Peter Gray, PhD, our first ever PLAYtalk presenter (2016) return to our main stage to tackle the theme of “PLAY FOR LIFE,” reflect on the last decade of the play movement, and give insights into the next decade.

“This is truly a presentation by our play heroes!” says US Play Coalition executive director Stephanie Garst.  “It is also another first – the first time they’ve ever spoken TOGETHER!  This is definitely a MUST SEE!”

Stuart Brown, MD, was the very first keynote speaker at the 2009 Summit on the Value of Play (the precursor to the Conference on the Value of Play).  Trained in general and internal medicine, psychiatry and clinical research, Dr. Stuart Brown first recognized the importance of play by discovering its absence in the life stories of murders and felony drunken drivers. His years of clinical practice and review of over 6000 personal play histories affirmed the importance and need for healthy play throughout the human life cycle. His independent scholarship and exploration of the evolution and neuroscience of human and animal play have led to the establishment of the National Institute for Play. The Mission of the National Institute for Play (NIFP) is to bring the unrealized knowledge, practices and benefits of play into public life. Dr. Brown was the instigator and Executive Producer of the three-part PBS series, “The Promise of Play,” and coproduced the BBC-PBS series “Soul of the Universe.” His experience as a medical administrator, producer, and scientific consultant or creator to numerous other productions on Joseph Campbell, Cosmology, Animal Play, and Stress, plus his scientific and popular writings have identified him as the foremost “practical champion of the knowledge of play.” Dr. Brown’s book: Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul has been translated into twelve languages. He co-teaches From Play to Innovation at the Hasso Plattner School of Design at Stanford University, and is the “Key Strategist” for the Nevada Medical Center’s Global Play Science Institute. In addition to regular creative scholarly contributions for the PlayCore company, he enjoys other international corporate and academic consulting on play and its many contributions through their engagement with it, as it enhances overall human well-being. As the information base about play grows, it is evident that play is a public health necessity.

Our species, Brown says, “is built for play, and built by play.”

Peter Gray, PhD, is a research professor of psychology at Boston College, has conducted and published research in neuroendocrinology, developmental psychology, anthropology, and education.  He is author of an internationally acclaimed introductory psychology textbook (Psychology, Worth Publishers, now in its 8thedition), which views all of psychology from an evolutionary perspective.

Gray’s recent research focuses on the roles of play in human evolution and how children educate themselves, through play and exploration, when they are free to do so. He has expanded on these ideas in his recent book, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life (Basic Books, 2013). He also authors a popular blog called Freedom to Learn, for Psychology Today magazine.

Gray is a founding member and president of the nonprofit Alliance for Self-Directed Education (ASDE), which is aimed at creating a world in which children’s natural ways of learning are facilitated rather than suppressed.  He is also a founding board director of the nonprofit Let Grow, the mission of which is to renew children’s freedom to play and explore outdoors, independently of adults.

The Conference on the VALUE of Play
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 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 U.S. and beyond. The three day event includes keynote and featured speakers, round tables on critical issues and trends, research symposium for academics, educational sessions for practitioners, action and research grant opportunities, PLAYtalks and PLAYinstitutes, networking, EPIC play breaks and more.

 

  

NPR Correspondent and Author to give PLAYtalk on Screen Time and Play

Anya Kamenetz will be a PLAYtalk presenter at the  2018 Conference on the Value of Play: The Many Faces of Play, April 8-11, at Clemson University.

Anya Kamenetz is the lead digital education correspondent for National Public Radio. She is the author of several books about learning and the future. Her latest book is The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life (PublicAffairs, 2018).

Kamenetz’s 2018 PLAYtalk presentation is titled “From FaceTime to PlayTime: How Screens Can Fit into a Playful World.”

Kamenetz covered technology, innovation, sustainability, and social entrepreneurship for five years as a staff writer for Fast Company magazine. She’s contributed to The New York TimesThe Washington PostNew York Magazine, Slate, and appeared in documentaries shown on PBS and CNN.

Kamenetz was named a 2010 Game Changer in Education by the Huffington Post, received 2009, 2010, and 2015 National Awards for Education Reporting from the Education Writers Association, and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for innovation in 2017 along with the rest of the NPR Ed team.

 

The Conference on the VALUE of Play
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 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 U.S. and beyond. The three day event includes keynote and featured speakers, round tables on critical issues and trends, research symposium for academics, educational sessions for practitioners, action and research grant opportunities, PLAYtalks and PLAYinstitutes, networking, EPIC play breaks and more.

 

Panel of Leaders in Parks & Recreation field to Keynote at the 2018 Play Conference

The US Play Coalition is thrilled to announce that a panel of leaders in the Parks and Recreation field will discuss “The Implications of Race on Play for Youth of Color” as a keynote panel for the 2018 Conference on the Value of Play: The Many Faces of Play, April 8-11, at Clemson University.

Play is vital to the development of youth. In the US, play provides a way for young people to learn about roles, boundaries, and expectations; community values; and personal opportunities. There’s a freedom that’s attached to play as youth explore the world around them. For youth of color however, these benefits are not always readily available. At an early age, they are taught that certain rules apply to them as a result of their Race. For some, the options for the type of play, where it can take place, and with whom are limited. These limitations are often placed on youth by their parents and other caring adults as a means of protecting them. In short, the benefits of play are only afforded to certain youth in our country.

Keynote Panelists include:

  • Myron Floyd, Ph.D. – Professor and Head – Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, NC State University
  • Corliss Outley, Ph.D. – Associate Department Head and Associate Professor – Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences, Texas A&M University
  • Rasul Mowatt, Ph.D. – Associate Professor and Chair – Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies, Indiana University Bloomington
  • Panel Moderator: Harrison Pinckney, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor – Parks, Recreation and Tourism, Clemson University

A historical perspective will be offered to establish a foundation for the relationship between Race and play for youth of color. Contemporary examples will be provided to highlight concerns that parents today have for their youth, how they prepare their youth to engage their local community, and how youth use these lessons to shape their own play experiences. Attention will also be given to understanding the support that communities and its members can provide to truly offer parents and youth of color the benefits of play.

This will be a thought-provoking session designed to equip attendees to serve our increasingly diverse communities.

 

The Conference on the VALUE of Play
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 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 U.S. and beyond. The three day event includes keynote and featured speakers, round tables on critical issues and trends, research symposium for academics, educational sessions for practitioners, action and research grant opportunities, PLAYtalks and PLAYinstitutes, networking, EPIC play breaks and more.

  

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.


Physician and Author to give PLAYtalk on “Playful Intelligence”

Anthony T. DeBenedet, MD, will be a PLAYtalk presenter at the  2018 Conference on the Value of Play: The Many Faces of Play, April 8-11, at Clemson University.

DeBenedet is a practicing physician and behavioral-science enthusiast. His interviews and writings have run in various media outlets, including the New York Times, the Today show, the Washington Post, and TIME Ideas. He is also author of Playful Intelligence: The Power of Living Lightly in a Serious World (Santa Monica Press, 2018), a book about the hidden ways that playfulness influences adulthood, and co-authored The Art of Roughhousing: Good Old-Fashioned Horseplay and Why Every Kid Needs It (Quirk Books, 2011), a parenting book about the importance of parent–child physical play.

DeBenedet’s 2018 PLAYtalk presentation is titled “Playful Intelligence.” Blending counterintuitive observations, anecdotes, and research across a range of disciplines―notably medicine, psychology, sociology, history, neuroscience, and economics—DeBenedet’s PLAYtalk will explore how playfulness impacts everyday life in profound and unexpected ways.

In adulthood, stress has a monopolizing effect on much of what we do. Interestingly, in response to this, the amount of time we spend playing doesn’t change. But the playful part of our personalities does—and often to the detriment of our well-being. Playful Intelligence offers a framework for counteracting this change and keeping the power of living lightly within reach.

 

The Conference on the VALUE of Play
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 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 U.S. and beyond. The three day event includes keynote and featured speakers, round tables on critical issues and trends, research symposium for academics, educational sessions for practitioners, action and research grant opportunities, PLAYtalks and PLAYinstitutes, networking, EPIC play breaks and more.

 

Chief Playmaker and Founder of The Life is Good Kids Foundation to Keynote the 2018 Play Conference

The US Play Coalition is thrilled to announce that Steve Gross will be the first keynote speaker for the 2018 Conference on the Value of Play: The Many Faces of Play, April 8-11, at Clemson University.

Steve Gross is the Founder and Chief Playmaker of the Life is Good Kids Foundation. He is a pioneer in utilizing playful engagement and meaningful relationships to overcome the devastating impact of early childhood trauma.

Steve’s 2018 keynote presentation is titled “Spreading the Power of Optimism through Play.”

Steve is serious about play – and its tremendous benefits for all people. The Life is good Kids Foundation is a non-profit organization that for twenty years has used play to help children overcome life threatening challenges such as poverty, violence and illness. A recognized expert in utilizing, joyful play to promote resiliency in children, he has extended those insights to adults, reconnecting them to the passionate, joyful and playful selves that enable them to be their best in and out of the workplace.

Through research, first-hand lessons learned in his crisis response efforts following Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti earthquake and his uniquely humorous and participatory engagement with audiences, Steve demonstrates how to use playfulness to energize individuals, teams and organizations – especially in challenging, change-filled times – allowing them to reach their full potential.

The Conference on the VALUE of Play
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 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 U.S. and beyond. The three day event includes keynote and featured speakers, round tables on critical issues and trends, research symposium for academics, educational sessions for practitioners, action and research grant opportunities, PLAYtalks and PLAYinstitutes, networking, EPIC play breaks and more.

  

KaBoom! CEO to give PLAYtalk at 2017 Conference on the Value of Play

james-siegal_head-shot

Our next PLAYtalk presenter is determined to bring play everywhere, especially to low-resource communities in the United States.  James Siegal is CEO of KaBOOM!, the national non-profit that seeks to give all kids the childhood they deserve, filled with play.  KaBOOM! is dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the daily lives of all kids, particularly those growing up in poverty in America.

James Siegal says that, in addition to building play spaces in low-income neighborhoods, KaBOOM! urges local leaders to take steps to create equitable, kid-friendly cities.  “The conversations about improving cities all too often ignore the needs of kids and families,” he says.

Most recently, KaBOOM! hosted The Play Everywhere Challenge, a $1 million competkaboom-logo-tagline-1200x630ition to help kids access innovative play spaces.

For his PLAYtalk, James will discuss “Transforming Every Day Spaces into PLAYces”.

PLAYtalks are our Play Conference version of TED Talks. They will be a series of 15-20 minute dynamic, entertaining, enlightening, engaging, inspiring, informative talks by thought leaders in the play world.

Learn more about the conference by clicking here.

Early bird registration is now open!


Play Like a Girl Founder to give PLAYtalk at 2017 Play Conference

drk-headshotKimberly S. Clay, PhD, MPH, MSW
Founder & Executive Director, Play Like A Girl!®

Inspiring play. Unlocking potential.
So girls can do extraordinary things.
Play Like A Girl® is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering women and girls to be healthy and confident through sport, physical activity, and active play.  Founder and executive director Dr. Kimberly Clay will share her passion for helping girls reach their full potential and her latest efforts to #bringbackplay – starting in backyards, neighborhood parks and schools across the South.

Dr. Kimberly Clay began her career as a social worker and public health analyst.  In 2004, she surged onto the research scene as a National Institutes of Health Cancer Prevention and Control Fellow at the Minority Health Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. During her work, Dr. Kim visited local communities and witnessed the gender gap in physical activity and health-related outcomes firsthand, which led her to start Play Like A Girl!®.  Dr. Kim has also served as Public Health Advisor for the Centers Disease Control and Prevention and was a tenure-track professor at the University of Georgia until she took a sabbatical to lead Play Like A Girl!®plg-logo

Dr. Kim has been named one of Toyota’s Everyday Heroes, Xavier University’s 40 Under 40, and one of 50 People on the Move by the Nashville Business Journal.

Learn more about the conference by clicking here.

Early bird registration is now open!


How I PLAYED During My First Sabbatical

The Story of How the Midwest Play Conference Came to Be

heather von bank
I love my job. Not many people can say that with a straight face, but I can. After my 6th year of working as a professor at Minnesota State University – Mankato, the opportunity came to apply for my first sabbatical.  When asked about my sabbatical plans a question mark seemed to loom over my head.  I love teaching and working with students, but what else could I possibly do that would provide me with the same rewards that I get while being in the classroom? Then my lightbulb moment occurred.  lightbulb

I wanted my sabbatical project to be meaningful for my own research and academic interests, but I also wanted the project make an impact on my community. I’ve been attending the US Play Coalition Value of Play Conference every year for 5 years. I’ve had the opportunity to meet playful passionate people, learn about national and international efforts to promote play and found countless ways to improve my teaching and scholarship through professional development practices. I wanted to replicate the formula and create a regional conference in partnership with the US Play Coalition, to bring the message about the importance of play to individuals in the Midwest.  Why the Midwest?  Besides the fact that I live here, there are so many educators and professionals who are passionate about play but were not familiar with the US Play Coalition, particularly in this region.

So…the first ever regional US Play Coalition conference will be held June 25th in Mankato, Minnesota. The Midwest Play Conference will feature Lisa Murphy, a motivational midwest play logospeaker who has years of experience working in early childhood settings, who encourages teachers, parents, and community members to be messy and playful in working with children. The conference will also feature 20 presenters who will be speaking on a variety of topics like nature play, play in early childhood classrooms, ideas for bringing nature inside, and ways to support teachers and their professional development with playful methods. The Midwest Play Conference was designed to reach out to caregivers, parents, community members, and recreation, parks and leisure services professionals, but will be beneficial for anyone who values and supports play.  By attending the conference, attendees will gain a greater appreciation and understanding of local and regional efforts to support play. Who knows, maybe it will be your chance to create a regional conference next!


Renowned Psychologist Peter Gray to give first ever PLAYtalk

Peter A 2 copyOur first ever PLAYtalk presenter will be renowned psychologist Dr. Peter Gray. PLAYtalks are our Play Conference version of TED Talks.  They will be a series of 15-20 minute dynamic, entertaining, enlightening, engaging, inspiring, informative talks by thought leaders in the play world.

Dr. Gray is a research professor of psychology at Boston College, has conducted and published research in neuroendocrinology, developmental psychology, anthropology, and education.  He is author of an internationally acclaimed introductory psychology textbook (Psychology, Worth Publishers, now in its 7thedition), which views all of psychology from an evolutionary perspective.

Gray’s recent research focuses on the roles of play in human evolution and how children educate themselves, through play and exploration, when they are free to do so. He has expanded on these ideas in his recent book, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life (Basic Books, 2013). He also authors a popular blog called Freedom to Learn, for Psychology Today magazine.

We are thrilled that Dr. Gray will be with us for The Play Conference 2016! Learn more about the conference by clicking here.

Early bird registration is now open!