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Come Play!

Every child deserves the right to play no matter where they live, what their family looks like, and what materials are available.

Photo of Chelsie Young

Written by

OPENIDEO Children’s Book ChallengeWords: 250


Roger sees a super cool race track toy on television.  “Mommy, can we get that?”  “Not today, Roger.  But look at this super cool race track we can make.”  Roger’s mom pulls out a roll masking tape from a drawer and begins to tape the floor!  She makes straightaways, bends, and turns.  Roger’s mom gets out his toy car and makes car noises.  “Vroom!  Beep!  Ready, get set, go!” “Super cool, mom!” yells Roger.

Carter is playing a super cool game on his friends tablet.  At home, Carter thinks about the super cool game.  “Mommy, can we get a tablet?” “Not today, Carter.  But look at this super cool game we can play.”  Carter’s mommy has cups and a ball.  She hides the ball under one of the cups and mixes the cups up.  “Where is the ball?” She asks Carter.  Carter begins lifting each cup up.  “Not under there.  How about that one?  Nope?  Try again.  You found it!” “Super cool, mom!” exclaims Carter.

Alicia played with a super cool water table at a friend’s house.  When she comes home she asks her mommy, “Mommy, can we get a super cool water table?”  “Not today, Alicia.  But look at this super cool baby doll bath!”  Alicia’s mommy pours water in a bowl and plops in one a baby doll.  She gets a sponge and a towel.  “Let’s give your baby doll a bath! Rub a dub.  Let’s wash her legs, arms, and her belly!”  “Super cool, mom!” says Alicia.

Describe the intended vision for your early childhood book manuscript in 1-2 sentences

Children do not need the latest app, smartphone, or a fancy toys from a store. This early childhood book manuscript will provide caregivers with limited resources means to interact and play using simple household items, finger plays, songs, and stories.

Share your suggested book title

Come Play!

How has this book been informed by early childhood language development research and evidence? (response minimum 250 Characters)

This children's book will provide caregivers with ways to support language development with infants and toddlers through simple activities, songs, and fingerplays throughout the book. It will focus on the two main components of language development, receptive and expressive, and how parents can encourage skills in these areas. Zero to Three, Lisa Murphy's writings on the power of play, and my experiences in early intervention have helped shaped this manuscript.

Please describe any familiarity you may have with Philadelphia and its residents? (optional question)

I have grown up in the suburbs of Philadelphia (on the NJ side of the bridge) and have always loved the city. It was our first apartment together and we always pass by it when we are in the city. We are avid Philadelphia sports fans, enjoy the history and culture the city has always held, and enjoy visiting often.

How have you crafted this manuscript to resonate with and/or reflect the experiences of those living in urban contexts? (optional question)

I hope to create ideas that spark parent-child interaction that can be implement right away, specifically those living in urban contexts, but all families. Families that have every toy under the sun in their toy box and families that don't even have a toy box. Caregivers will be provided with ideas to play using simple household items. For example: a child sees a commercial for a super duper cool toy care race track. Mom thinks it's too expensive (and loud, and too many flashing lights) so instead she pulls out a roll of masking tape from the drawer and lines their very own racetrack around the kitchen, complete with ramps made out of books and towers of paper cups to knock down.

Location: Country

United States

Location: State or Department

New Jersey

Location: City


Website URL (optional question) Instagram and Facebook @weplaytogrow

Tell us more about you / your team

I started working in the early childhood field as a special needs teacher 10 years ago. After having my daughter I decided not to go back to work full time but quickly missed it. I loved my job as a teacher and missed the interaction with parents and children. I started teaching developmental play classes to guide caregivers how to interact with their children and encourage skill building. I believe it is under appreciated how important it is to children that their parents play with them. Children crave their parents attention and in this day, most parents are very busy with work, household chores, and social media (me included). I hope this book helps parents from all backgrounds see how easy it is to make a little time that leaves a big impact on their children. I live in Southern New Jersey with my husband, daughter, son, 2 cats, and a dog named Marty McFly. It's a full house and I love it.

Multiple Choice - Have you been previously published (online, self-published, and print included)?

  • No

Do you have an agent?

  • No

How did you hear about the Challenge? (optional question)

  • Someone in my network (word of mouth)

What best describes you? (optional question)

  • I am/we are creatives, writers, or artists
  • Child Development Specialist


Join the conversation:

Photo of Itika Gupta

Hi Chelsie Young  Great to see you joining the Challenge! We noticed your submission is currently unpublished. Was this your intention? We'd love to have your submission included in the Challenge. You can publish it by hitting the "Publish" button at the top of your post. You can also update your post by clicking on the "Edit Contribution" on top. Incase you need any inspiration, you can look at the Challenge Resources. We're looking forward to seeing your submission in this challenge.

Photo of Chelsie Young

Hi Itika! I am planning on publishing my submission, was just planning on fine tuning it. This will be my first manuscript so I'm researching as much as I can to get it up to standards!

Photo of Chelsie Young

Hi Itika,
If we have not heard back is it safe to assume we were not chosen for the refinement stage?

Photo of Itika Gupta

Hey Chelsie Young thanks a ton for reaching out.
We have already reached out to each of your amazing storytellers individually to inform you of the shortlist. You should have an email in your inbox.

Let me know if there is anything else I can help with

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