The Genius of Play to Co-Present Session at National AfterSchool Association Annual Convention

March 11, 2019 | The Genius of Play will explore the topic of “purposeful play” during a workshop at the National AfterSchool Association’s (NAA) national convention, taking place March 15 to 18 in New York City.

Titled “Rise Up with the Purpose to Play!” the workshop will review research on the impact of play on child development and learning and share hands-on activity suggestions for applying those ideas within afterschool programming. Janis Zegman, marketing project manager at The Toy Association, and Tyler Kearns, program director of the Clayton Kid Zone, will lead the discussion.

The workshop is being held as part of the “Play Ambassador” partnership launched by The Genius of Play and NAA in 2018. Nearly two dozen Play Ambassadors who are NAA members have been equipped with kits that include Genius of Play research and talking points, handouts, play ideas and other resources to be disseminated via educational sessions, community play days, and social media.

“Our Play Ambassadors have been spreading the word about the importance of play and making a positive difference in the lives of kids and families who participate in these programs,” said Anna Yudina, director of marketing initiatives at The Toy Association. “We look forward to growing our partnership with NAA and expanding our Play Ambassador program in 2019.”

Kearns, who is a Play Ambassador, shared his positive experience as part of the program: “Play is too often overlooked, cut short, and not given a chance to stand out, but being a Play Ambassador has given me the power to change that. The program has allowed me to train afterschool staff, host community play events, and give workshops to families with the same message, ‘If we learn to play, we can play to learn.’”

More than 2,000 professionals gather each year for NAA’s annual convention which includes events, workshops, daily keynotes, and an interactive Learning Expo aimed towards the afterschool industry. NAA is also inviting Toy Association members to join its second annual Ed Tech Market Summit on Monday, March 19 in New York City. The summit offers toy industry professionals looking to integrate toys with curriculum and/or expand into the afterschool market with the opportunity to meet with NAA leadership and to learn about current efforts to bring educational platforms to the afterschool market.

The Toy Association’s Genius of Play initiative is a leading resource on the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional benefits of play that serve children throughout their lives for parents, teachers, and the public. The Genius of Play’s website offers expert advice from play and child experts ranging from child psychologists to play community activists, play ideas, and resources for teachers. Follow The Genius of Play on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.