The Play Movement


The Play Movement

We believe in the power of play to bring out the best in every kid.

And when we say every kid, we mean every kid.

In communities all across America, many students feel unsafe, excluded, and disengaged on the playground.  

Every kid deserves the opportunity for safe and healthy play—every day.

Our Vision

Across the country:


Join the movement for play! We aim for 3.5 million children in 7,000 elementary schools nationwide to experience safe, healthy play every day by December 2020. 

The Tipping Point

We know that 10% of a population is the tipping point where social change begins to snowball. When we make safe, healthy play a priority at 7,000 elementary schools—just over 10% of all elementary schools in the US—we will spark a national movement. 

Unleashing Play

When children have opportunities to learn conflict resolution skills, feel included, be active, and practice leadership on the playground, they go back to class focused and ready to learn. 

Playworks develops these skills through play every day.

Now imagine those playful children all grown up. Students with strong social and emotional skills in elementary school are twice as likely to graduate from college and 46% more likely to have a full-time job by age 25 than their peers. 

 For 20 years, Playworks has been leveraging the power of safe, healthy play to help children build skills for success in school and in life. We are the largest national organization using play to transform school culture and bring out the best in every kid, reaching 1,300 schools and 700,000 students each year. 

But what we do now is just a drop in the bucket. We want every child in every elementary school to experience safe, healthy play at school—every day.

America's schools are ready. Join us in unleashing the power of play. Support our proven services. Invest in new initiatives to build the play movement. Your partnership makes it all possible!


Safe and healthy play

Safe and healthy play

Play is safe and healthy when kids:

We believe that all schools should experience the benefits of safe and healthy play. With Recess Lab, we’re opening up what
we’ve learned, so that everyone – from teachers to parents to principals – can discover the power that play has to bring out the best in every kid.

Do you know a principal, teacher or parent who wants to see improved transitions, reduced bullying behavior, or increased personal responsibility? Send them to Recess Lab where they can assess their play space and find tips, tricks and tools to achieve their goals.


Our Plan

Our Plan

Powered by Playworks

The Powered by Playworks Strategic Plan is our roadmap for making our vision for change a reality. This strategy will guide our innovation, growth, and impact on schools with Playworks services and other playful schools across the country so that ultimately, all children will experience the benefits of safe, healthy play.


Listen to an audio recording of Playworks President and Chief Operating Officer Elizabeth Cushing describe how we intend to build a movement for play.

As we diversify our services and launch a movement for play, we will keep our eye on the ball. Our Playworks Team Up and Pro services demonstrate that we can create a compelling impact on school climate through different models.

98% of educators report an increase in the number of students engaged in healthy play at recess

95% of educators agree that Playworks improves overall school climate

86% of educators report a decrease in the amount of class time spent resolving conflicts

Building on our successful launch and expansion of Playworks Pro, we will continue to lead the field in delivering high-quality innovation and measurable results.

Powering Play

Read the national Powered by Playworks strategic plan, created in partnership with the Billions Institute, a proven partner in developing strategies for large-scale social change.


Jump In

Jump In


Yes, I will support the movement for play across the country.



I'd like to learn more and stay updated on the vision we are building together.



I'd like to have a conversation about the Powered by Playworks Plan and how I can make an impact at my school or in my community.

For more ways to grow the movement of play and make an impact, contact
Chief Development Officer Deb Parsons at