Cincinnati Museum Center presents 10th annual conference on play and early childhood education

CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) is bringing together the region’s best childhood development experts for workshops to help parents and educators learn more about the physical, mental and emotional health of their children and students. The 10th annual Learning Through Play Conference also features keynote speaker Dr. Scott Sampson from PBS KIDS’s popular Dinosaur Train. The 10th annual Learning Through Play Conference is Saturday, March 10 at Northern Kentucky University. Registration is now open .

CMC recognizes how crucial early childhood development is and the impact open-ended, hands-on learning can have on building the skills and education children need. It’s something CMC staff facilitates every day. The Learning Through Play Conference goes beyond the “do” of play-based learning activities to include the “how” and “why.” Early childhood experts from over a dozen organizations, including CMC, will present workshops at the conference, which the American Alliance of Museums recognized as a national model of community engagement with parents.

Each workshop will show you how you can get the most out of your interactions with children. A selection of workshops offered include a session on mindfulness and character strengths led by Beech Acres Parenting Center, using sign language in the classroom to assist with literacy development and promote positive peer interactions facilitated by Sign Baby Sign and a session by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center on how to adapt play for children with special needs so children can play together.

Experts from the Arlitt Center at the University of Cincinnati will equip educators with skills to help students explore the wonders of nature in an urban environment and the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission will show educators how to become more proactive during conflict resolution and how to use brain research to guide the development of discipline rather than applying discipline to students.

This year also features Learning Through Play’s first keynote speaker. Dr. Scott Sampson, host of the hit PBS KIDS show Dinosaur Train , will help parents and educators unleash the power of outdoor play. American children currently spend about seven hours a day staring at screens but only seven minutes playing outdoors. But recent research indicates that abundant exposure to nature is essential for healthy growth, helping to relieve stress, depression and attention deficits. It can reduce bullying, boost academic success and yield long-term benefits in children’s cognitive, emotional and social development. Dr. Sampson will offer engaging activities aimed at hooking kids on nature and helping early childhood educators becomes successful nature mentors.

Registration closes March 2 and discounts are available for students. Food options will not be available at the conference but boxed lunches can be pre-ordered. Parking for the conference is free in the Kenton Drive Parking Garage.

All sessions are KY Approved Early Care and Education Trainings. Select sessions are OH Approved Professional Development Trainings. For a full list of sessions and more information visit