IPRA Healthy Play Initiative

A Collaborative Partnership to Put Research into Practice

Deeply committed to promoting the value of play and recreation as a critical priority, PlayCore, GameTime, and Cunningham Recreation are proud to partner with the Illinois Park and Recreation Association on a comprehensive initiative to deploy research-based strategies in high quality park destinations. By aligning with like-minded advocates, professionals, and park and recreation leaders, we can collectively come together to do something truly special. Through this unique partnership, we have committed to the ultimate goal of promoting health and wellness throughout the state of Illinois to report community impact outcomes.

By aligning research-based best practices that foster inclusion, engagement with nature, and physical activity, 25 projects now serve as national models of how visionary leaders have thoughtfully put research into practice. The National Demonstration Sites created as a result of the statewide initiative, were intentionally designed to enrich and enhance the quality of life where citizens of Illinois live, work, and play. We are honored to highlight the phenomenal leadership of the IPRA Promotes Play Award Recipients and celebrate their success stories. These award recipients and their outdoor play and recreation projects inspire others to use play as a catalyst to build healthier, happier communities. Their efforts demonstrate how investing in parks and recreation results in positive outcomes, grows social capital, and builds strong communities through the power of play.

"I am grateful to each of our model demonstration sites and members for their participation in this research, and I greatly appreciate PlayCore, GameTime, and Cunningham Recreation for this multi-faceted partnership which will have ripple effects for years to come through our new community play spaces, research towards best practices, and the professional development that occurred across our state."

- Debbie Trueblood, Executive Director, Illinois Park and Recreation Association

Goals of the IPRA Promotes Play Statewide Initiative

The IPRA Promotes Play Statewide Initiative is a multi-year partnership launched in 2016.  Initial outcomes and leadership case examples were shared at the 2018 IAPD/IPRA 2018 Exploring New Heights Conference in Chicago.  The primary goals of the initiative identified by IPRA, PlayCore, and GameTime include:

  1. Execute statewide professional development to encourage best practices design considerations for healthy play.
  2. Deploy research and outcomes tracking to demonstrate IPRA as a leader and important contributor to improving the quality of life.
  3. Provide matching funding assistance to assist high quality projects in each of the five IPRA Regions to create outdoor play spaces that align with research-based best practices to collect meaningful outcomes and serve as national model.
  4. Publish white paper and other advocacy communications and tools to further champion play and recreation initiatives and demonstrate effective strategies and community outcomes.



7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design®

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Putting Nature Into Play

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Pathways for Play™

Infusing Play Into Pathway Networks to Encourage Active Lifestyles for Children, Families, and Communities

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Play On!®

Promoting Physical Activity & Fitness Through Active Play

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Outdoor Adult Fitness™

Best Practices for Promoting Community Health by Increasing Physical Activity

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