How to Plan a Play Day in Your Community

Pat Rumbaugh, founder of Let’s Play America, returns for another conversation on PlayGrouding! Affectionately known as “The Play Lady,” Pat is well-known in her home of Takoma Park, Maryland, for organizing play days for people of all ages.

Since we can’t meet together to play in person right now, it might not seem like a relevant conversation. But we have to keep dreaming our culture forward – as we learned from Scott Froschaur a few weeks ago. While we’re locked down, those of us who might consider ourselves play advocates can take some time to dream even bigger than we might have before, because we have time to dream and plan ways to help your community become more playful. And that’s exactly what Pat can help you with.

Learn How to Create Your Own Play Day

Let’s Play America has a new e-book called The Play Day Handbook, which is an amazing, step-by-step guide for how to create play days for your community. It could be a small gathering, like a group of neighbors, maybe even now, with people you’re locked down with and trust. It could be a little bigger, like at a school, public library, or a place of worship. Or if you like to dream big, you can plan a city-wide event where your member of congress leads everyone in a game of Simon Says! That happened for Pat! The sky is the limit.

Play Days Aren’t Just for Kids

Another important note – when it comes to play, we often make a distinction between play for adults and kids – and for good reason. But Pat and her team really bridge the divide. Their play days, and all the advice in the Play Day Handbook, are relevant for kids-only play days, play days at nursing homes, and more importantly, play days for all ages to play together.

About Pat Rumbaugh

Pat Rumbaugh has an M.A. in Sports Psychology taught physical education and coached children’s sports for 30 years. From this experience she learned that everyone could benefit from unstructured play.  In her new identity as The Play Lady she has conducted over 130 play events since founding a play committee in 2009. The play committee led to the development of the non-profit Let’s Play America ( that targets people of all ages; abilities and backgrounds with play days, streets closed to play and other play events. 

In 2018 Pat received the National Youth Development Award, the Heisman Trophy of Play.  Pat promotes play regularly to community groups, conferences and writes a quarterly column for the “Play and Playground Magazine.”

Don’t Miss Let’s Play America’s Upcoming Play Day!

Let’s Play America is planning their 12th Annual Play Day on September 26. It will be a day of blended virtual and in-person community play! Follow them on social media and use the following hashtags to share your participation in at home activities on the 26th: #12thAnnualPlayDay #LetsPlayAmerica.

If you would like to contribute ideas or lead activities remotely for our 12th Annual Play Day, please contact us by emailing info(at)

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  1. Pat Rumbaugh

    Kara is the best of the best person to interview folks about subjects they are passionate about. I loved shared information about planning play days, Let’s Play America’s brand new digital Play Day Handbook and ideas of how you can play alone, with family and friends. Information about the handbook can be found on our website A BIG thank you to Kara and for interviewing me about play. Everyone deserves to play! Pat Rumbaugh, The Play Lady

    • Dr.Donna Graham


  2. Dr.Donna Graham

    I have been working and playing with Pat for over 6 years. What a wonderful experience. As Pat would say “Everyone deserves to play”.


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