10th Anniversary PLAY FOR LIFE Shirt Available thru Oct. 29

For our 10th Anniversary we have something special up our sleeve…PUN INTENDED!

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!  Order your limited edition 10th Anniversary play shirt through October 29!

Just in time for your cool fall days, we have upgraded our long sleeve version to PREMIUM style for maximum softness and comfort!

PLAY in style!!  There are 5 color options in unisex short or long sleeve AND youth short sleeve styles.

Order online before the campaign ends at 11:59pm EST on October 29!!





10th Anniversary Limited Edition PLAY FOR LIFE Shirt

For our 10th Anniversary we have something special up our sleeve…PUN INTENDED!

HURRY! We have a VERY LIMITED TIME t-shirt campaign for our 10th Anniversary!
There are 5 color options on unisex short sleeve, long sleeve or youth short sleeve options.

Order online before the campaign ends at 11:59pm EST April 7!!


10th Anniversary
Limited Edition Play Swag

For our 10th Anniversary we have a few special things up our sleeve…PUN INTENDED!


HURRY! We have a VERY LIMITED TIME t-shirt campaign for our 10th Anniversary Conference!
There are 5 color options on unisex short sleeve, long sleeve or youth short sleeve options.

Order before the campaign ends at 11:59pm EST March 12! (we will do another campaign soon)


Order online:

Our 10th anniversary swag just got FANCY!!!

Made locally in Clemson, South Carolina. These very popular cuff bracelets are available in three colors – silver, gold and rose gold. Support the US Play Coalition and PLAY by purchasing a PLAYful bracelet!

Order now through March 20 and choose “pickup” to avoid shipping and pickup at the Play Conference! Otherwise it is just $3.50 to ship in the US. (only available in the US at this time.)

They make great gifts, so order as many as you want!

Order yours before time runs out…!!!!


The ABCs of the 10th Anniversary Play Conference Educational Sessions and Research Symposium

The full detailed schedule is coming soon with even more session titles…but until then, below is an alphabetical list of the Educational Sessions and Research Symposium that have been confirmed for the 10th Anniversary 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 15.

Addressing Child Mental Health Through Child Centered Play Therapy (CCPT)
Approaches for Evaluating the Design of Natural Playspaces To Support Children’s Outdoor Play
Blank Slate: Design for Learning, Exploration and Physical Growth
Bringing A Change to The Recess Culture to Support Well-Being
Bringing Play to The World of Education!
The Bugket List: Exploring for Tiny Creatures Provides Gargantuan Benefits
Building Trust, Hope, And Healing Through Play: A Community Pop-Up School
“But, I Have Nothing to Do in The Park!” – Thinking About Places for Teens
Camping, Hiking, Playing: Lifelong Learning Today
Children Learning the Value of Play for Life
College Students Play Too!: Inclusive Campus Recreation at Clemson University
Creating Future Innovators Through Creative Play and STEM Learning
Developing Minds and Bodies Through Loose Parts Play
Educational Play: How Modern Technology Can Facilitate Learning While Playing Outdoors.
The Effects of Unstructured Play on Listening Effort in Elementary Schools
Elevating Lifelong Play to Create Healthy Communities
Engaging Students in Mathematics Play: Making Fractions Fun
Establishing Adaptive Sports Programs for Youth with Moderate to Severe Disabilities
Examining Kindergarten Readiness Skills Using A Play-Based, Nature-Focused Preschool Curriculum
A Field-Testing Study on Outdoor Play Environments: Findings and Lessons Learned
Forest Schools: The Value of Play, Autonomy, And Creativity
Free for All Baltimore: Playing After School in A Segregated City
From Exhausting to Energizing:  Creating an Environment Where Youth Thrive
From Unequal Playing Field to Play Ambassadors
Get Ready, Get Set, Go Noodle!
Globally Connecting as We Play Mystery Skype
Guerrilla Playfare: Lessons Learned from Parkour & Streetsport For Designing More Play-Friendly Cities
How to Make Your Community Playful
I’m Tired of Saying “No”: Creating Invitations for Boisterous and Adventurous Play in The Classroom
Impact of Decline in Play on Children and Youth in India: An Awareness Campaign
The Impact of Play on Overweight/Obese Children in Elementary Schools
Incorporate Play into Your Workplace
International Play Ambassador Perspectives
Introducing Innovative Technology to Children’s Play to Encourage Self-Expression
Kindergarten Matters
Learning Through Doing: The Benefits to Learning Through Planning for Inclusive Play
Let’s Make A Mess!: The Intersectionality of Sensory Play and Early Literacy
Lifetime Friendships Formed Through Play
Loose Parts Play Builds Tight Communities
Making Play Equitable & Inclusive
Move. Think. Learn: A Playful Approach to Learning in Grades K-8
Moving ~ From Start to Finish! Healing Effects of Play on Families & Caregivers Affected by Trauma
Music in The Museum: An Accessible, Inclusive, And Interactive Collaboration
Naturalized Outdoor Learning Environments in Childcare Facilities: A Review of Policies In 3 States
Nourishing Imagination and Protecting Pretend Play
Perceptions of Capacities: The Value of Play, Autonomy, And Creativity in Forest Schools
Play Across Generations: A Literature Review of Intergenerational Learning Experiences
Play by The River – Bringing Natural, All-Ages Play to A New River Garden by The Mississippi
Play Facilitation for Adults
Play Is Survival: Time for Time Outs
Play Your Way to Optimal Well-Being
Play: It’s Not Just for Kids Anymore!
Playable Infrastructure
Playful Productivity: Strategies to Unleash Your Professional Child
Playing from Scratch – Not Just for Kids
Playing to Learn Is for Grown-Ups, Too!  A Summer Graduate Course on Play at A PDS Summer Camp.
Playing with I Bambini: Reflections from A Study Abroad Experience in Reggio Emilia, Italy
Playtime Politics: The Growing Mismatch Between Biology and Culture
Ramshackle Play – Resilient, Reliable, Ready
Reframing the Playground: European Play Precedents at Tulsa’s Gathering Place
The Role of a Playground Consultant
Rotary Playgarden: An Inclusive Play Success Story
Scholarly Snapshots: The Importance of The Child’s Right to Play
The Secret to Work/Life Balance=PLAY
Sensory Inclusive Play: Partnering with Kultcurecity To Become Sensory Inclusive Certified
The 7 Elements of Play on  Playground
Small Scientists Society: Encouraging Play-Based STEM Explorations in Informal and Formal Settings
Socio-Environmental Barriers to Outdoor Play and Their Impact on Child Health Outcomes
Supported PLAY to Maximize FLOW In K-8 Classrooms
Tailoring Play into The Everyday: Playing Throughout Zoos, Museums, Aquariums and Nature Centers
Taking the Idea of An Inclusive Playground Past the Label to True Universal Design
Talk and Play: Using Play to Build Language Skills in Young Children
Teaching Play as A Learning Medium in Teacher Education Program
Temple University Students Design an Eco-Schoolyard for Play and Learning at Greenberg Elementary
The Emergence of Foreign Language in A Play-Based Kindergarten: A Spanish FLES Program
Tin Foil, Tape, And Play-Doh OH MY!
Traffic Gardens and Dramatic/Challenging Play: Engagement as A Means of Facilitating Risk Competence
What’s Wrong with Playing Games?
When I Grow Up…Learning Responsible Citizenship Through Play!
When to Play and When to Get Out of The Way
Why Play Matters: The State of Recess in North America
Y’all, Yous, and You Guys: Considering the Language of Play


…and MANY, MANY MORE!!  You don’t want to miss this exciting professional development opportunity!  Join us at the 10th Anniversary Conference on the Value of Play: The Many Faces of Play, March 31 – April  3 at Clemson University.

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.

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!