International Play Association Conference in San Antonio Promotes Children’s Right to Play

International Play Association caregiver children playing hemisfair splashpad San Antonio

We are proud to share this guest post by Amanda McMickle, Vice President of Education at the Cibolo Center for Conservation, and Tessa Baden, Early Childhood Consultant, about the importance of play in learning, with information about the International Play Association’s USA Conference in San Antonio on October 6–9, 2022.

About the International Play Association (IPA)

The International Play Association (IPA) was founded in 1961 following the United Nations’ proclamation of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959). The Convention of the Rights of the Child, in Article 31, recognizes

The right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.

UN Convention of the Rights of the Child (1989), Article 31

In 1973, an IPA chapter formed in the United States. The goal of IPA USA is to advocate for the child’s right to play by sharing information on programs and research about play, supporting National Play Day, and holding seminars and Porch Play Chats on current play issues. You can find more about IPA USA by visiting their website, IPAUSA.ORG.

International Play Association Conference San Antonio 2022 logo


This fall, the IPA USA will hold its annual conference in San Antonio on October 6–9, 2022. This four-day conference will focus on advocating for the need to play, play equity, nature play, and the importance of play as a restorative practice following traumatic events.

Participants will leave with action steps to advocate for play, address play equity, design remarkable outdoor play environments, and revive their inner child through restorative and playful special events and field trips to places such as the DoSeum, the San Antonio Botanical Gardens, the San Antonio Zoo, and many more. 

International Play Association marvelously made teacher children music dance

Why San Antonio? Why Now? And Why Should You Be There?

IPA USA understands that this work requires full participation of the community, and San Antonio residents know this city is committed to quality education, family fun, and playful parks. Play is important for all ages now more than ever as we all search for healthy ways to enjoy ourselves. Our kids are re-entering school settings and social groups, and play has been proven to benefit social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. Unfortunately, schools are feeling pressured to recover the learning loss and often fill much of the time with activities of isolation like worksheets and reading prompts, but without fundamentals like play and a sense of belonging, the success of the whole child will suffer. 

The IPA USA conference in San Antonio will be unlike any conference with engaging and interactive sessions at the University of the Incarnate Word from presenters from 22 states and three countries. On Saturday, participants will enjoy field trips, visiting local San Antonio play-based facilities where they will tour, explore, engage, and learn from their experience and environment at local schools and parks. Four tour options are available, each visiting two hosts; additionally, transportation, originating from UIW, will be included, as will a box lunch of your choice. 

To learn more about the conference and to register, please visit

Charter Moms Chats

Watch Amanda McMickle, Vice President of Education at the Cibolo Center for Conservation, and Tessa Baden, Early Childhood Consultant, speak with Inga Cotton on Charter Moms Chats on September 7, 2022 at 4:00 PM Central live on Facebook and YouTube.

Amanda McMickle is the Vice President of Education at the Cibolo Center for Conservation. She is a former Principal Fellow at Compass Rose Public Schools and the former director of Will Smith Zoo School. She is the founder of NEST—Nature-based Education Support in Texas. Amanda is a student at the University of the Incarnate Word, working towards her Ph.D. in Adult Education, Social Innovation, and Entrepreneurship.

Tessa Baden is a play advocate.

Read More About Play and Learning

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