Genius of Play Takes Center Stage in D.C.

18 April 2016

Campaign Promotes Play’s Vital Benefits with Appearances on Capitol Hill and at the USA Science and Engineering Festival

"Play" has been the talk of the town in Washington, D.C., and the Genius of Play has been at the forefront of the conversation. Genius of Play took the capital by storm with an April 15th congressional lunch briefing at the Rayburn House Office Building and a booth at the 4th USA Science and Engineering Festival from the 15th to the 17th.

Capitol Hill Lunch Briefing

Before approximately 25 to 30 attendees, Toy Industry Association (TIA) representatives and Genius of Play panelists engaged in a discussion about the importance and value of play in children’s lives with key staff from the Department of Education and numerous congressional offices.

Panelists at the session were Meredith Sinclair, M.Ed., campaign ambassador, Andrea Barthello, COO & Co-founder of ThinkFun and member of TIA’s board of directors, and Alison Bryant, Chief Play Officer of PlayScience. The trio along with Ken Seiter, TIA vice president of Marketing Communications, presented “Genius of Play: Raising Smarter, Healthier, Happier Kids,” which highlighted the campaign’s movement to bring more play into children’s lives while informing parents, educators and caregivers of the developmental benefits of safe, open-ended fun.

"Coming from different disciplines, each with their own focus, the Genius of Play panelists were extremely effective in sharing their unique experiences as professionals and parents," said Seiter. "They provided insights supporting the need for children to play more, in and out of the home. The discussion resonated with the policymakers in attendance."

USA Science and Engineering Festival

On Friday, the Genius of Play was included at the USA Science and Engineering Festival’s “VIP Day,” which was open exclusively for military families, policymakers and underserved and home-schooled children at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Over the weekend, the Center was open to the public for the country’s largest biennial science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) festival. Nearly 350,000 parents, children and educators attended the free, public event to celebrate all things STEAM. The Genius of Play booth had a steady stream of visitors who played with some sample STEAM toys, mind bending activity sheets and coloring sheets. There was also literature about the benefits of play for adults and an Imagination Box where they could participate in a raffle drawing.

"The Genius of Play was able to reach a diverse audience of all ages, from professionals and novices to science enthusiasts and the merely-curious," noted Seiter. "It was wonderful to contribute to the exciting celebration of STEAM and of play."

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