Celebrating Play 2019 Conference

Promoting positive Social, Emotional and Mental Health through PLAY 


Keynote Speakers - Dr Pete King & Ali Chown


All the workshops are practical and skills based so that participants have ideas to take back to their settings.

Storytelling around the fire with the Children of the Forest

Ninjas Weapons and War - Miss Elvy's Curious School of the Wild



Increasing Resilience - Ali Chown

Playart Education - Water Rockets

MINDFULNESS - Louisa Miles


What a day of

celebrating play we had!


Thank you everyone for

making the day so fabulous.


Download Keynote files



Ali's workshop will look at how outdoor environments offer opportunities for early sensory play. How outdoor play can support the development of positive attachments and promote increased Social, Emotional and Mental Health with particular reference to children and young people who have experienced early developmental trauma, loss or abuse.

Making space for aggressive play, counter-intuitively connects individuals with each other.  Welcoming the ninjas, warriors and warlords in outdoor play allows children and young people to explore the boundaries of others and themselves. War games can influence emotional regulation and conflict resolution in surprising ways. As an Outdoor educator who welcomes considered rough play, Nik looks forward to sharing her experiences with you all.

Kathy’s bringing us a creative and innovative workshop to discover the art of simple puppet making, and the valuable opportunity they provide to talk through the puppet about real issues of concern, feelings, emotions, friendships, bullying. Using a variety of recycled textiles, felt and stockings, you'll learn the skills to create your own puppet, to take back to your play setting.

Mindful Super Power Sessions are fun activities to allow children to notice what is going on with themselves and others. Firstly we slow everything down and get into our Mindful Bodies, using the ‘Zipping Up’ technique. Then we move on to Mindful listening using a chime or singing bowl. Listening underpins mindfulness and is the ability to pay attention on purpose, a valuable skill.  Next is Mindful Breathing using several activities including the Shark Fin technique, Spiderman pose or starfish breathing. The session culminates in sharing a Mindfulness Jar that reinforces why Mindfulness is an important key to wellbeing.

This fun and interactive workshop will show you how to make your own water rockets, using every day materials. Improve children's thinking skills and personal capabilities, recognise the understanding of science, measuring and maths, tackle new experiences and use problem solving techniques. All these skills highlight the importance of learning through play.

This practical and fun workshop will focus on how dynamic outdoor storytelling, music and drama can invite participation, help to bond a group together, support those who may lack confidence, and boost self esteem. We will explore how to effectively capture the imagination of a group through storytelling, and how to encourage others to tell their own stories. The workshop will give us plenty of ideas to take away and use in our practice. 

Dynamic Storytelling, Music and Drama - Children of the Forest

Pete King

Pete has a PhD in Childhood Studies and is currently the Programme Director for both the MA Childhood Studies and MA Developmental and Therapeutic Play Courses at Swansea University. Pete's research has been published both nationally and internationally. His most recent research has been with Dr Shelly Newstead on playworkers' understanding of the Play Cycle.  The key note will consider this research and a theoretical model on how the adult can support children's play.  A book The Play Cycle: Theory, Research and Application by Pete King and Gordon Sturrock will be published by Routledge later this year.

Ali Chown

Ali is an experienced Play Therapist and Specialist SEMH practitioner. She has lectured in child development, has extensive experience of working with children and young people who have SEMH needs and those with complex additional learning needs. She has published two books, Play Therapy in the Outdoors (Kingsley, 2014) and The Practical Guide to Play Therapy in the Outdoors (Routledge, 2017). The key note - To stand on solid ground - an exploration of why it is important to underpin our practice with theory and which theories can help us to make sense of why things work!

Without doubt, play improves the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and young people. A child's social -emotional development motivates them to learn critical skills such as 

  • the ability to communicate, to connect with others,
  • resolve conflict,
  • self-regulate,
  • display kindness and empathy
  • cope with challenges

Come back soon for news on this year's conference! 3rd June