News

August 23, 2023

IPA-USA National Day of Loose Parts Play

The International Play Association-USA chapter presents National Day of Play on September 16, 2023! 

To celebrate this international recognition of the importance of play, Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative is hosting a special, pop-up play day on Saturday, September 16 at Lytle Land and The Elizabeth Street Parklet from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Playful Pittsburgh “IPA-USA National Day of Loose Parts Play” event is a free, family-friendly opportunity for all communities throughout Pittsburgh to enjoy a day of play. The event will focus on embracing loose parts play to highlight how everyday items, such as cardboard boxes, paper tubes, string, and various fabrics can be representative of items from around the world. Using our imagination, we will celebrate cultural differences and similarities of play through a range of activities.

When: Saturday, 9/16 | 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Where: Lytle Land Park, 5113 Lytle Street, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15207 (Hazelwood)

Light snacks and refreshments will be provided. We know you’ll leave the play day feeling inspired and creative, so the fun can continue wherever your family travels! Loose parts are all around us!

Don’t miss this celebration of play from perspectives around the world!

Partnering Organizations Include:

News

August 17, 2023

Hazelwood Tree Appreciation Day!

Come to the Hazelwood community in September for a special appreciation event for trees!

Join Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative, Landforce, Tree Pittsburgh, and Arts Excursions Unlimited on Friday, September 22 as they collectively celebrate the importance of play in nature at Lytle Land and The Elizabeth Street Parklet in Hazelwood.

When: Friday, September 22 | 4 – 6 p.m.

Where: Lytle Land, Hazelwood, 5113 Lytle Street, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15207

During this appreciation event, participate in a tree walk where you will learn about the life cycle of a tree and a nature scavenger hunt.

This event is FREE and open to the community, and is family-friendly.

For more information, contact Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative at playfulpgh@tryingtogether.org.

News

July 10, 2023

BabyTalks Series: Fostering Inclusive Play for All Infants and Toddlers

In this BabyTalks webinar, attendees will learn how play varies across individuals, families, cultures, and communities.

Join Beth Zack, PhD, and Marie Baeta, MA, from the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning to explore the importance of moving away from a “one size fits all” approach to play. Those that attend will discover ways to make play accessible, culturally relevant, and meaningful to all infants and toddlers.

This webinar is offered with English and Spanish captioning.

Key topics that will be discussed during this webinar include:

  • Infant and toddler play through a lens of equity, inclusion, and cultural responsiveness.
  • Strategies to create playful learning experiences that are accessible and meaningful to all infants and toddlers.

This webinar benefits Head Start and child care program directors, managers, and administrators serving infants and toddlers, teachers, home visitors, and family child care providers, TTA providers, program office staff located in Regional offices and Washington, D.C., Head Start Collaboration offices.

Register

Certificates of completion are available for this webinar.

News

June 29, 2023

Resources for July Observances

Various organizations, states, and nations recognize a number of observances each month. Resources help parents, caregivers, and child care professionals acknowledge and navigate them.

Here is a list of resources for July observances:

Month-Long Observances

National Parks and Recreation Month

National Make a Difference to Children Month

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Days of Recognition

July 4 is Independence Day

July 14 is International Non-Binary People’s Day

July 24 is National Parents’ Day

July 25 is World Drowning Prevention Day

July 26 is National Disability Independence Day

News

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 remakelearningdays.org/southwesternpa.

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 playfulpittsburgh.org.

News

April 20, 2023

Remake Learning Days Return to Southwest Pennsylvania

Remake Learning Days return to the southwestern PA region from May 4 – 23, 2023 with events for youth, families, grandparents, caregivers, and educators to explore creative and fun ways of learning!

About Remake Learning Days

Remake Learning Days Across America (RLDAA) is an innovative learning festival for families and youth. Taking root in regions across the world, thousands of hands-on and engaging events are designed for children of all ages at libraries, schools, tech centers, museums, play spaces, community centers, and more.

Children, families, caregivers, and educators can attend in-person and virtual events hosted by schools, museums, libraries, after-school organizations, child care centers, tech companies and more.

Explore creative and engaging events and celebrate joyful learning, whether you build a robot, code an art spinner, direct a film, be a scientist, explore the outdoors, make your own music, or print your invention with a 3-D printer.

Professional development sessions are also available for school, out-of-school, child care, and non-traditional educators.

The majority of events are free and open to kids of all ages.

Southwestern PA Event Highlights

Youth Producers Meet-Up

Calling all songwriters, beatmakers, and mix engineers ages 14-22!

Come to the Youth Producers Meet-Up to share your tracks, hear how they sound in a professional studio, get feedback from peers and professionals, eat snacks, and meet other creative young music makers in Pittsburgh.

This event is FREE to attend.

When: Thursday, 5/04 | 4 – 7:30 p.m.

Where: YMCA Lighthouse Project, 7140 Bennett Street, Pittsburgh, PA. 15208

For more information or questions, visit the Remake Learning Days – Southwestern PA event page, or contact K. Bey at kbey@ymcapgh.org.

Flex Space Summit

Flex Space Summit is a day full of exploration, innovation, and inspiration, bringing together teachers, architects, furniture designers, researchers, and more!

During this one-day conference, attendees will learn about reimagining learning spaces. This conference will be held at Allegheny Intermediate Unit (475 E Waterfront Drive, Homestead, PA. 15120).

This event is FREE to attend and is intended for adults. Registration is highly encouraged.

When: Friday, 5/05 | 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Where: Allegheny Intermediate Unit, 475 E Waterfront Drive, Homestead, PA. 15120

Register

For more information or questions, visit the Remake Learning Days – Southwestern PA event page or contact Tyler Samstag at tyler.samstag@aiu3.net.

Saturday Night Light Brigade Live Audience Broadcast

Are you interested in learning more about the world of radio?

Join SLB Radio for a special live-audience broadcast of The Saturday Light Brigade!

Attendees will tour the SLB Youth Media Center, then join the live studio audience as SLB Radio welcomes live musical acts, hears from youth guests, plays word games, and much more!

This event is FREE to attend and open to all ages.

When: Saturday, 5/06 | 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Where: SLB Youth Media Center, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, 10 Children’s Way, Pittsburgh, PA. 15212

For more information or questions, visit the Remake Learning Days – Southwestern PA event page or contact Tai Chirovsky at tai@slbradio.org.

Pop-Up! Chess

Queens Gambit will present Pop-up! Chess events across Pittsburgh every Saturday of Remake Learning Days! 

Those who attend can learn the game of chess, practice against instructors, or play with friends and family!

This event is FREE to participate in, and chess sets are provided!

When:  Saturdays, 5/06; 5/13; and 5/20 | 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Where: Allegheny Commons Park North Park, 810 Arch Street, Pittsburgh, PA. 15212

For more information or questions, visit the Remake Learning Days – Southwestern PA event page or contact Ashley Priore at priore.ashley@gmail.com.

Cookie Connections at The History Center

Visit the Heinz History Center on Sunday, May 7, for “Cookie Connections” to learn how cookies have connected people for centuries. Explore the region through past and present cookie recipes and stories, activities, and artifacts related to making and baking Pittsburgh history.

This event is for all ages. Event cost is included in museum admission.

When: Sunday, 5/07 | 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Where: Heinz History Center, 1212 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh, PA. 15222

For more information or questions, visit the Remake Learning Days – Southwestern PA event page, or contact Roy Fischer at rmfischer@heinzhistorycenter.org.

Ultimate Play Day

Join us — Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative, Trying Together, Citiparks, and ZeroFossil — for Ultimate Play Day! 

Ultimate Play Day is a celebration of playfulness for people of all ages.

This annual event is an opportunity for people throughout the Pittsburgh region to play together and raise awareness of the benefits of play for all people—from birth to 199 years. Partner and community organizations offer play activities for all ages at a different venue each year.

Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative would like to send a special thank you to Remake Learning for providing a mini grant to The Collaborative for Ultimate Play Day.

This event is FREE to attend.

When: Sunday, 5/07 | 1 – 4 p.m.

Where: Lower McKinley Park, Bausman Street, Pittsburgh, PA. 15210 (Beltzhoover)

Share our flyer with your networks.

For more information, contact Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative at playfulpgh@tryingtogether.org.

Additional Information

A calendar with all Southwestern PA events is available on the Remake Learning Days website. Families, youth, and professionals can search events by date, time, location, learning theme, age group, and more. 

RLDAA is presented by Remake Learning and many nationwide partners and host organizations. For more information, visit the RLDAA website.

News

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.

News

April 12, 2023

Playful Learning Conversations

Join Playful Learning Landscapes Action Network (PLLAN) for this virtual discussion on the importance of infusing communities with playful learning infrastructure.

Webinar Details

Tuesday, April 25 | 1 – 2 p.m.

Virtual via Zoom

Register

Learn More

In this webinar, PLANN’s Executive Director, Sarah Lytle, will discuss PLLAN’s role in fostering child-caregiver connection through playful learning spaces. Additionally, Dr. Amy S. Kronberg, an Early Learning Specialist at Preschool Promise, will show how her organization has developed Playful Learning Landscapes for her community, and Dr. Annelise Pesch, a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Temple University, will introduce PLLAN’s new certification program.

To learn more, visit the “Playful Learning Conversations” registration page.

News

March 10, 2023

Natural Playscape Makeover! Practical Design Tips for Supporting Child-Directed Play In Natural Spaces on Any Budget

Join Early Childhood Investigations Webinars and Rusty Keeler, natural playscape designer and author, for a fun, interactive, and inspiring webinar focused on helping to inspire attendees to dream and plan their own natural playscape makeovers “in any yard, on any budget”.

Attendees will learn how to add natural elements to support play and, learning, how to assess local resources for free and inexpensive materials, how to tap into the expertise and generosity of your communities, and how to plan a volunteer build day to bring your natural play space dreams to reality.

Rusty Keeler will offer advice to participants on how to improve their yards. If you are interested in being chosen, send pictures of your outdoor space to earthplayllc@gmail.com.

Session Details

Thursday, April 20 | 2 – 3:30 p.m.
Virtual
Register

Learn More

Can’t participate in our webinars at the appointed time? Never fear! All of the webinars are recorded. To view the recording, simply register now and you will receive an email with a link to the recording when it is ready to be viewed. You can still download the certificate by watching the recording to the end when the certificate link is announced and displayed on the screen.

You can earn .2 CEUs for this webinar. The cost is $15 paid to University of Oklahoma online when you apply.

To learn more, visit the Early Childhood Investigations website.

News

The Healing Power of Play and Optimism

Optimism is both powerful and fragile. How can you harness the power of optimism to create safe, loving, joyful, and engaging environments where kids can heal, grow and thrive? Join Early Childhood Investigations Webinars and The Life is Good Playmaker Project for this webinar to learn about this approach.

Attendees will discover the power of optimism and play, learn the right approach to creating correct, optimal environments for kids to heal, learn, grow and thrive, and understand the importance of developing a personal wellness practice to be able to bring your most optimistic human disposition into your work.

Session Details

Thursday, March 23 | 2 – 3:30 p.m.
Virtual
Register

Learn More

Can’t participate in our webinars at the appointed time? Never fear! All of the webinars are recorded. To view the recording, simply register now and you will receive an email with a link to the recording when it is ready to be viewed. You can still download the certificate by watching the recording to the end when the certificate link is announced and displayed on the screen.

You can earn .2 CEUs for this webinar. The cost is $15 paid to University of Oklahoma online when you apply.

To learn more, visit the Early Childhood Investigations website.