Joyce Hemphill - The Power of Playful Learning


2019 Play in Education (PIE) Conference Presentation Description:

Learners benefit cognitively, physically, and socially when they play. Learners also benefit cognitively, physically, and socially when manipulate objects for a craft project. However, the benefits received in making something are often not the same benefits received when one plays. The presentation showcases some simple educational games and activities that can be made using common everyday items as well as highlight the various cognitive, physical, and social benefits received. By the end of the session each attendee will have made a couple of simple toys and experienced firsthand the benefits of making and playing. Materials will be provided.

Learning objectives:

To view common household safe recyclable materials as a way for students to create playful learning activities. Using such materials (1) allow students to make mistakes in the learning process – recyclable materials do not add to the budget so one can receive a new yogurt cup or empty cereal box without feeling guilty or ashamed. (2) provide opportunities for families of all SES levels in the education and care of their children through the donation of everyday clean/safe household recyclable materials.

To provide opportunities for EACH student to make a game to take home and play which continues the learning process and which can strengthen family social bonds.

To enhance a learner’s logic and problem-solving skills, to build self-esteem and confidence, to foster creativity, and to development healthy social skills through the making and playing with a toy/game.

To reaffirm that play complements and is beneficial to school curriculum as it is for overall healthy growth and development.

To reaffirm that creative problem-solving is key to one’s future. We don’t know what lies ahead and thus need to develop flexibility in thinking and problem solving skills.

Presenter’s Qualifications:

Joyce’s background in and expertise on play comes from two sides - a personal side as the parent of two sons, now grown, and the professional side as a professor of child development. The mom side was fascinated by the ways her sons learned about their world and gained an understanding of who they were through their various adventures in play. As a parent advocate of play she worked with her sons and their classmates in their efforts to reinstate morning recess.

Her professional side of holds a doctorate in developmental psychology from The Ohio State University and almost 30 years of college classroom experience teaching infant child development, cognition, and learning. While at the University of WisconsinMadison she developed and taught a course on the Importance of Play in Child Development which included a service-learning component of a student sponsored community “PlayDay”. In 2015 she co-authored The Power of Playful Learning (Capstone Publishing) which highlights the various benefits children receive from the making of and playing with games and play props. More recently, her “Mosquito Badminton” make-n-play activity was featured in the August 2019 Highlights Magazine for Children. In addition, she contributes to a “Playing from Scratch” column for national and local organizations, guest blogs for the Madison Children’s Museum, and gives workshops at conferences and community events on ways to create playful learning activities using recyclable and low-cost materials

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