Learning through Play and Imagination

May 28 - 29, 2020 | St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Event Details


Many have argued that children learn through playing, hearing stories, and engaging in a variety of imaginative activities. But how, exactly, does this process work? Which aspects of play sessions or fictional stories are particularly effective for children’s learning, and why? Which topics do children learn most readily through these kinds of activities, and at what ages? How do aspects of children’s individual temperaments or developmental environments impact this process? This special topic meeting examines these and other related questions, with the aim of identifying gaps in the literature and proposing evidence-based strategies for how play and imagination can best be used in early education with topics such as:

  • Physical Play and Play Space Design
  • Non-Human Play
  • Imagination and Media in Early Childhood
  • Play and Imagination across Cultures
  • And more!

Invited Speakers

Confirmed Invited Speakers include: 

  • JaNay Brown-Wood, Children’s book author
  • Gordon Burghardt, University of Tennessee
  • Mariana Diaz-Wionczek, Nickelodeon
  • David Flanigan, PlayPower
  • Suzanne Gaskins, Northeastern Illinois University
  • Vincent Janik, University of St. Andrews
  • Jill Katka, Louisville Zoo
  • Sheina Lew Levy, University of Cambridge
  • Anne Lund, PBS Kids
  • Lisa Norris, ACER Foundation
  • Meghan Talarowski, Studio Ludo
  • Bo Stjerne Thomsen, LEGO Foundation
  • Yalda Uhls, UCLA

SRCD has negotiated a discounted rate of $169/night for meeting attendees at a hotel in St. Louis, MO. The link to book a room will be included with decision notifications by mid-January 2020.


Travel Awards

There will be a limited amount of travel awards to support the attendance of undergraduate and graduate students and members of under-represented minorities or other non-traditional groups. More information will be forthcoming about the application process for these awards. There will also be the opportunity to apply for a small award to subsidize childcare expenses either in a home city or at the meeting in St. Louis.


Call for Submissions [CLOSED]

The deadline for submissions has passed (Wednesday, October 30, 2019). Submissions are currently under review. Decision notifications are expected to be sent by mid-January 2020. To view your submission, please log in with your existing SRCD credentials.

Panel Chairs     Download the Call for Submissions


Sponsored by

National Science Foundation (NSF) logo

Questions? Email programoffice@srcd.org.

Upcoming Events