May 3, 2023

Ultimate Play Day Returns to Pittsburgh on Sunday, May 7

Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative, alongside event partners Trying Together, Citiparks, and ZeroFossil, will host its annual Ultimate Play Day from 1 – 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 7. Ultimate Play Day is an opportunity for people throughout the Pittsburgh region to gather together, play together, and raise awareness of the benefits of play for everyone.

This year, Ultimate Play Day will be held at Lower McKinley Park in the Beltzhoover/Knoxville area of Pittsburgh.

Local partners and community organizations offer play activities for all ages each year. This year, more than 28 vendors are participating with hands-on playful activities, entertainment, and refreshments. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of “playful” activities from vendors, including ultimate frisbee, basketball, soccer, imagination/dramatic play with costumes, bean bag toss, oversized classic games like Connect 4 and Jenga, and plenty of arts and crafts projects.

Share the Ultimate Play Day flyer with your friends, family, and neighbors!

Ultimate Play Day is a part of Remake Learning Days. Remake Learning Days returns to Southwestern PA May 4 – May 23, 2023. A special thank you to Remake Learning for providing a mini-grant to The Collaborative for Ultimate Play Day.

SLB Radio Ultimate Play Day Interview

Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative was a special guest on the Neighborhood Voices show, hosted by The Saturday Light Brigade, to talk about Ultimate Play Day!

Assistant Director of Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative Adam James and Nicole Stevens from Beltzhoover Consensus Group joined SLB Radio to talk about this special day of play, why play is important for everyone, and how this event will connect neighbors throughout the City of Pittsburgh.

Visit the Ultimate Play Day webpage to listen to this interview.

Getting to Ultimate Play Day

Ultimate Play Day is the same day as the Pittsburgh Marathon. That means there will be adjusted traffic patterns to be aware of, but that won’t stop the fun!

You can find additional directions to get to Lower McKinley Park on the Ultimate Play Day webpage.

Check out this map provided by the Pittsburgh Marathon to check the rolling road closures and openings on Sunday, May 7.

Lower McKinley Park

Learn more about Lower McKinley Park and its history before Ultimate Play Day.

Check out this informational flyer on McKinley Park from Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.

Remake Learning Days

Remake Learning Days hosts 1200+ learning events reaching 150,000 families. The festival features events across the southwestern PA region for youth, families, grandparents, caregivers and educators to explore creative and fun ways of learning. For more information, visit

Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative

Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative is a group of organizations dedicated to advancing the importance of play in the lives of children, families, and communities in the Pittsburgh region by raising awareness on play being a critical life element for people of all ages, educating decision-makers (from parents to legislators) to support access to play for all, and modeling play through various recreational and professional activities. For more information, visit


April 20, 2023

Strategies to Foster Risk Taking During Outdoor Play

Outdoor play is part of developmentally appropriate practice, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children spend 60 minutes daily working their large muscles.

To support children in their outdoor play, early childhood educators can reframe their views of risk taking by acknowledging the developmental benefits of taking risks and working to remove barriers and boundaries that limit open, free play.

The National Association for the Education of Young Child (NAEYC) has provided the following five strategies to help early childhood educators foster risk taking in play:

Examine Existing Beliefs

Educators’ personal experiences and perceptions inform their actions and reactions to a child engaged in risky play. Educators can reflect on their own beliefs by asking certain questions to gauge how they champion or avoid risking taking. Taking time to self reflect in this way can help educators to determine how to foster risk and gauge the limitations they may place on risk taking and play.

Those introspective questions can include:

  • Am I a risk taker?
  • What worries me about taking risks?
  • What excites me about taking risks?
  • What childhood memories do I have of taking a risk?

Get to Know the Child and Environment

Teachers and children are familiar with their programs’ outdoor play spaces. Thanks to this familiarity, educators can evaluate the terrain and the safety of each structure and piece of equipment, including asking essential questions like:

  • How might each child navigate the space?
  • What hurdles may they face?
  • What kind of support may I need to offer?
  • When should I offer it?

Become an Observer

Outdoor spaces are designed to foster running, jumping, swinging, climbing, and moving over uneven terrain. As children move, early childhood educators should pay attention to their fine and large motor abilities, taking note when a child hesitates or pauses while engaged in a task or with others. Through observation, teachers will develop an understanding of a child’s ability to appraise and respond to risk.

Model and Encourage

Children grow in their ability to appraise risk by observing others’ play and movement. Educators can support risk taking by engaging in it themselves and expressing their thoughts verbally. This models the internal dialogue that occurs when assessing risks and challenges.

Such modeling can help children learn self-regulation as they examine their thoughts and feelings and determine their next steps.

When to Intervene

While acknowledging that risk taking is developmentally appropriate and a healthy part of early childhood, educators often find themselves in a paradox: they want to foster risky play and urge children to step out of their comfort zones, but they also must ensure safety.

Educators should insert themselves in a risky play scenario if:

  • the level of risk could lead to serious injury;
  • a child demonstrates emotional distress or fear; or
  • the structure or environment is hazardous (ice on play surfaces, broken glass, construction).

Learn More

To learn more about developmentally appropriate practices for early childhood development and education, be sure to visit the Trying Together Developmentally Appropriate Parenting Series.


March 20, 2019

Mission Impossible: Black Child Play as Necessity & Resistance


YUIR (Youth Undoing Institutional Racism), a youth-focused intergenerational anti-racist community organizing group, is hosting “Mission Impossible: Black Child Play as Necessity and Resistance,” an informative and interactive workshop on the different ways that Black children, particularly children living in poverty, play.

About the Workshop

The workshop will work with participants through dialogue, physical play, and multimedia presentations to analyze the ages and stages of play necessary for holistic child development, as well as the racialized and classed ways in which play is deprived as Black children age and grow. Finally, the group will consider the ways that Black children use play to respond to and protest against institutionalized racism.

Learn More

Learn more about YUIR by visiting their Facebook page.


March 19, 2019

Wellness Wednesday: Dance & Movement with Fine Art Miracles

Join the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh for a high-energy dance and movement workshop with their guest Maria Gismondi from Fine Art Miracles, Inc.! Explore rhythm and space, experiment with props, and have fun expressing yourself with movement! Maria will focus on gross motor skills, creative movement, and physical play. No experience required!

This program is designed for our youngest learners (0-5) but is suitable for all ages. The event is drop-in, so guests may come and go as they please! For more information, visit the event page!