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 competition 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.
Kimberly 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!®
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.
2016 marks the 13th year of Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play (WWDoP). On WWDoP, Nickelodeon goes completely dark for three hours, taking programming off the air on all of its channels and shutting down its websites to reinforce one simple message: get up, get out, and go play! Once again, the US Play Coalition is a partner with Nickelodeon for this important and FUN-omenal endeavor!
This week, the US Play Coalition has a series of events – educational events and PLAY events – as part of the 3rd annual “Road to Worldwide Day of Play.” These are events leading up to the big day on September 17:
Dr. Rhea and the “Let’s Inspire Innovation ‘N Kids” (LIINK) team has been making headlines with their incredible work to get more and more frequent recess in the daily school schedule. Their successes in Texas elementary schools have gone viral! Recent news from across the country shows a growing trend in recognizing the value of recess:
Join us for this FREE professional learning opportunity and connect with fellow play enthusiasts, teachers and experts from the across the globe from the comfort of your own environs.
Thursday, August 25, 10:00am-11:00am EST, Washington, D.C. – Expert Panel: The Value of Play
US Play Coalition co-founder Fran Mainella will be a panelist on this discussion moderated by Clemson University faculty member Dr. Barry Garst (who is also a Play Conference presenter and volunteer!). This panel, that includes other distinguished experts, is part of a special one day workshop on Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. To register to participate, click here.
Thursday, August 25 – 100th Birthday of the National Park Service!
This Thursday, August 25th, the National Park Service celebrates its 100th birthday and you’re invited! On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Park Service Organic Act into law, creating the National Park Service. Did you know that our co-founder, Fran Mainella, was the FIRST woman to be the director of the National Parks Service??!! She wants to make sure that you know there are 412 national park units and ALL NATIONAL PARKS ARE FEE FREE from August 25th through August 28th! So GO PLAY in your favorite National Park! #FindYourPark
Saturday, August 27, 12:00-3:00pm EST, Nettles Park, Clemson, SC – Clemson Community Play Day
We are teaming up locally with the City of Clemson to have a Clemson Community Play Day as part of Nickelodeon’s Road to the Worldwide Day of Play. Our friends at the Outdoor Lab and OLLI at Clemson University are also coming out to PLAY! Join us for kids zumba, inflatables, YUMMY treats, games, crafts, Pickleball, photos with the Clemson Tiger and much more!!! It’s FREE fun for all ages! GET UP, GET OUT & GO PLAY!
Sunday, August 28, 2:15-3:45pm EST, Fluor Field, Greenville, SC – Play Day at Fluor Field 2016
The US Play Coalition is partnering with The Greenville Drive for another PLAY DAY AT FLUOR FIELD! Pre-game festivities include field access to play games like blob tag, whiffle ball and relay races on the award winning Fluor Field outfield grass. Plus crafts, PLAY tattoos and a photobooth will be on the concourse near the team store! Following the on-field fun, participants will cheer on the Drive as they take on the Asheville Tourists at 4 pm. Be sure to stick around until the final out as kids will run the bases after the game!
Discounted Tickets in the Play Coalition section are just $8. Click HERE to order online or call the Drive Box Office at 864-240-4528.
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!
What is your favourite thing to do that is playful? Why do you think play is so impor tant?
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!
Our 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.
Outdoor Afro is a community that reconnects African-Americans with natural spaces and one another through recreational activities such as camping,hiking, biking, birding, fishing, gardening, skiing – and PLAY! Learn how this cutting edge concept grew from Rue’s modest blog in 2009 to a national network that has captured the attention and imagination of millions through a multi-media approach, grounded in personal connections and community organizing. Rue will share the Outdoor Afro model for creating opportunities to build community and leadership by PLAYing together in nature.
In 2010, Rue Mapp was invited to the White House to participate in the America’s Great Outdoors Conference, and subsequently to take part in a think-tank to inform the launch of the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” initiative. She was appointed program officer for the Stewardship Council’s Foundation for Youth Investment to oversee its grant-making program from 2010-2012.
Since that time, Mapp’s work has been featured in publications including The Wall Street Journal, Backpacker Magazine, Ebony Magazine, Sunset Magazine, NPR, and many others.
Rue’s ongoing work has been recognized with numerous Awards and Distinctions: The Root 100 as one of the most influential African Americans in the country, Outdoor Industry Inspiration Award, 2014 National Wildlife Federation Communication award (received alongside President Bill Clinton) and in May 2015, Family Circle Magazine selected Rue as one of America’s 20 Most Influential Moms.
Rue is proud to serve on the Board of Rails to Trails Conservancy, American Camp Association, and the Outdoor Industry Association. Most recently, Rue was appointed to the California State Parks Commission by Governor Jerry Brown.
A graduate of UC Berkeley (with a Degree in Art History), Rue’s skills and background make her a unique voice via the programs she has instituted through OA and enlightened a diverse community to the wonders and benefits of the outdoors. Rue resides in Oakland CA, and is the proud mother of three active teenage children.
We are thrilled that Rue will be with us for The Play Conference 2016! Learn more about the conference by clicking here.
The VERY FIRST to register for The Play Conference 2016 is Sarah Cosco from British Columbia (seen front and center in the boxes pictured right). The three time Play Conference alum says this about why she keeps coming back: “What I love most about the conferences: the people and the energy! There is so much passion about play and it comes from within people from all different backgrounds. The interdisciplinary lens captures the magnitude of play’s influence across the lifespan, and across the globe, and having the opportunity to connect with experts in play from all of these different backgrounds brings our collective learning to a whole new level. But we don’t just talk the talk at the conference, we walk it too! I have so much fun playing with so many people, and each time I go I meet new friends and get to reconnect with familiar faces. It honestly feels like coming home. I can’t wait for next year’s conference, I’m so excited to see what everyone has been up to and what playful shenanigans we can get into while we’re there!”
Mark your calendars because you will NOT want to miss this!! After five years, the Conference on the Value of Play is getting a reboot! Starting with a change in dates – because April showers are way more fun than power outages and sleet – there are BIG PLANS for the 6th Annual Play Conference. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears perked because spring has sprung – and so have we! More details to come!