GRANT WINNERS ANNOUNCED

Grant funding is a distinctive feature of our annual Conference on the Value of Play, and we are proud to have awarded $35,000 in funding to date.   At the 2015 Conference on the Value of Play: Advancing Play, the new grant winners were announced.  A $3,000 research seed grant is awarded to researchers who present empirical research at the Conference on the Value of Play to support new, innovative and thoughtful work on the value of play.  This is seed funding 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.

The 2015 Research Seed Grant was awarded to Richard Christiana, Joy James and Rebecca Battista for their project, “Creating Community Awareness through Prescribing Outdoor Play for Children.”

Research Seed Grant Winners Richard Christiana and Joy James with US Play Coalition Co-Chair Brett Wright

In addition to the research grant, $1000 action grants are awarded to support creative and innovative proposals to engage groups in play or to educate about the value of play. Ideas include hosting a play day, engaging more people in preexisting programs, or a whole new idea.

There were two projects that each received a 2015 Action Grant:

  • 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
  • Providing Appropriate Play Experiences for Children with Autism — Rebecca Woodard and Zach Burt
Seniz Yargici Lennes, 2015 Action Grant Winner Sanam Jain, Fran Mainella, 2015 Action Grant Winner Emily Rea, and Doug Youngblood
Seniz Yargici Lennes, Fran Mainella, 2015 Action Grant Winners Rebecca Woodard and Zach Burt, and Doug Youngblood

Fetch It

Once again this year, Sundance, my Labrador, offered to do the “Playing from Scratch” activity for the upcoming month while I was at the Value of Play Conference.  Being the retriever that he is, this activity is one of his favorites and thus he had to share.  Thank you Sundance for your assistance with this month’s activity.

Supplies: duct tape, two cardboard tubes from trouser hangers

To make: put the cardboard tubes side by side. Wrap tightly with duct tape.

To Play: Tell the human you need to go outside. On the way outside, pick up the fetch toy.  When outside, drop the toy by the human’s feet, run a few yards, turn to look at the human, and smile.  Hopefully the human will understand, pick up the fetch toy, and throw it.  From here you know what to do.


Frosty’s Freeze Throw

by Grace Litteral (age 9) & Joyce Hemphill
Toss ‘snowballs’ and ‘ice balls’ through a snowman shaped target.

Supplies:

  • Aluminum foil, wadded into balls
  • Cardboard
  • Hole punch
  • Pencil
  • Pipe cleaners (optional)
  • Scissors
  • String
  • Tape
  • White pom poms (large)

To Make:

Make three rings out of cardboard.

RING 1:

  • On a large piece of cardboard (e.g., 15”x15”) make a big circle. Cut out the circle. Make another circle 1-inch inside the big circle creating a one-inch ring. Cut out the little circle inside that big circle. Now you have a large ring. Using a hole punch, make one hole in the cardboard ring. Next to the hole write: “10 points”. Set aside the large ring (Ring #1).

RING #2:

  • On a medium size piece of cardboard (e.g., 12”x12”) make a circle. Cut out the circle. Make another circle inside this circle creating a one-inch ring. Cut out the little circle inside that circle. Now you have a medium ring. Using a hole punch make a hole in the cardboard ring; directly across the diameter make another hole. Next to one of the holes write: “50 points”. Set aside the medium ring (Ring #2).

RING #3:

  • On a smaller piece of cardboard (9”x9”) make a circle. Cut out the circle. Make another circle inside this circle creating a one-inch ring. Cut out the little circle inside that circle. Now you have a small ring. Using a hole punch, make one hole in the cardboard ring. Next to the hole write: “100 points”.

Assembling Frosty:

  • Using a piece of string connect the small ring to the medium one. To do this put the string through the hole in the small ring and one of the holes in the medium ring. Tie a double knot; cut excess string. Then connect the medium ring to the large ring using the same technique.
  • If you would like, add arms by wrapping a pipe cleaner on each side of the middle ring and then letting it stick out to the side. Bend each pipe cleaner to resemble a tree branch.

How to Play:

  • Tape Frosty in an open doorway
  • Stand back 5 feet
  • Throw ‘ice ball’ (wad of aluminum foil) and ‘snow ball’ (pom pom) through the hoops.
  • Challenge your family and friends to see who can score the most points.

Homemade Play Dough

There are MANY recipes for play dough. Personally, I prefer dough that does not smell like something I want to eat (e.g., chocolate pudding, orange sherbet, peanut butter). I also prefer the texture of a cooked or heat processed dough.

Below are two recipes: one that uses wheat flour (gluten) and the other rice flour (gluten free).

Play Dough (Gluten)

1 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 T cream of tartar
1 T vegetable oil
½ cup salt
Food coloring
In a pot combine all the dried ingredients, oil, and water. Cook over medium heat while constantly stirring. After 3-4 minutes the dough will begin to form a ball and pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat. When dough is cool enough to handle turn out onto a flat surface and knead. If you want colored dough, knead in food coloring. If dough is sticky, knead in a little flour or cornstarch. Store in airtight container.
Source: I don’t have a reference for this recipe. It was handwritten on a piece of paper and given to me 25 years ago by a preschool teacher.

Play Dough (Gluten free)

¾ cup white rice flour
¾ cup cornstarch or arrowroot
¾ cup iodized salt
1 T cream of tartar
2 tsp grape seed oil or olive oil
1 ½ cup hot water
Food coloring
In a pot combine all the dried ingredients, oil, and hot water. Cook over medium heat while constantly stirring. After 3-4 minutes the dough will begin to form a ball and pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat. When the dough is cool enough to handle turn out onto a flat surface and knead. If you want colored dough, knead in food coloring. If the dough is sticky knead in cornstarch or arrowroot until you reach the desired consistency. Note: Dough will be less sticky when cool. Store in airtight container.

Source: Preschool and Gluten Free Play Dough (September 4, 2012). Retrieved from http://thesproutedlife.com/preschool-gluten-free-play-dough/


REPURPOSE THOSE GREETING CARDS!

The front covers of used greeting cards are perfect for games and activities.


Storytelling:

Place a stack of card fronts face down on the table. Each player selects three cards and creates a short story that incorporates elements from his/her cards.  Players go around the table sharing their story.  Or play cooperatively whereby the first player turns over a card and starts a story based on the images from that card. The second player then flips over the next card and must continue the same story, but now incorporating elements from the new card. Play continues until cards run out or the story reaches a natural end.

Similarities:
Place a stack of card fronts face down on the table.  Each player selects three cards, carefully studies the designs, and identifies the ways in which his/her cards are alike. Once everyone has taken a turn, collect all the cards, shuffle, and begin again.  Or start by selecting two cards and placing them face up on the table.  Go around the circle and each person identifies how the two cards are similar.  If a person cannot point out a similarity s/he is out.  Once everyone has spoken, select another card and place it face up next to the first two.  Again, go around the circle and have each person identify how the cards are alike.  Keep adding cards and finding similarities among all the face up cards until there is only one person remaining.


Oh No! There’s a Hole!

PFS pic 10-10

Players take turns snipping a net with the hopes that their snip is not the one that lets the ‘fish’ get away.

Supplies:

  • Large container (metal or plastic) with at least a 5” opening
    • Note: If you are using a metal container make sure there are NO sharp edged
  • Netting from a produce bag
  • Bottle caps, jingle bells, caps off squeeze applesauce pouches, etc.
  • Rubber band
  • Scissors

To Make:

  • Stretch the netting over the can. Secure in place with rubber band.
  • Place ‘fish’ – the small objects – on top of the netting

To Play:

  • Players take turns snipping the net.
  • Game ends when all the items have fallen into the can.

Bowling

 

Supplies:

  • Ten plastic bottles of the same size. (Bottles need to have lids.)
  • Newspaper
  • Masking tape or painter’s tape

To Make:

BALL: Wad the newspaper into a sphere and wrap with tape.

PINS: Fill each bottle with about 1-inch of water, sand, pebbles, or dirt.

To Play:

Select an area that is safe to roll a ball and to retrieve pins.  Set up the pins in a triangular fashion: 4 pins in the back row, 3 in the row in front of that, 2 in the next row up, and then 1 in the front.  Take several steps back and try to knock down all the pins by rolling the ball.

To change things up a bit ….

  • Use balls of different sizes and weights
  • Use plastic bottles of different sizes.
  • Place number values on each pin, from 1 to 10. Start by arranging the pins in consecutive order with the front pin being 1 point and the pins in the last row getting 7, 8, 9, and10 points. Calculate your score by adding the numbers on the pins that have been knocked down.
  • For the next game, rearrange the pins so the numbers are not in consecutive order.