In 2006, Tom Norquist had a vision: to touch millions with the message of the importance of play.

After serving as a founding board member of the International Play Equipment Manufacturer’s Association (IPEMA), and working with industry colleagues to build the association’s credibility within the trade, he and other board members expanded their goals to build a new, consumer-friendly resource informing on the value of play: thus the Voice of Play was born. The Voice of Play promotes growth in the quality and quantity of children’s free play and the use of playgrounds. Through unbiased, scientifically-based information and resources, the Voice of Play aims to increase education and awareness about the many benefits of children’s play, including the development of critical physical, emotional, social and cognitive skills.

Tom Norquist is a past president and a founding member of IPEMA and the Voice of Play.

With over 35 years of industry experience, Tom is a passionate speaker, award-winning park designer, and international advocate for play. He is member of PlayCore's Strategic Services team while additionally guiding GameTime's custom play division, PlayWorx. He is also the director of the National Institute for Play and a faculty member at Auburn University’s School of Industrial and Graphic Design. Watch Tom’s message on the importance of play and the benefits of living a playful life.


We invite you to look around and become a member of our Play Tribe with other play advocates over in our Facebook Group. Then, you can sign the Play Pledge to make your child’s play a priority, ensuring that they have an hour of outdoor play a day at home and/or at school. Whether you’re a parent, child, community group, school principal, teacher; parks and recreation professional; playground designer, equipment manufacturer; or anyone who cares about kids and play, the Voice of Play website and social media efforts are a great resource for those who want to learn about the many benefits of play.

Thank you to our playful friends along the way, all of whom contributed to the early foundation of success for the Voice of Play.

Stuart L. Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play.

Dr. Joe Frost, otherwise known as the contemporary father of play advocacy, has dedicated over 34 years to teaching at the University of Texas at Austin.

Ken Kutska, Executive Director of the International Playground Safety Group, LLC. and President of Children and Recreation Environment, Inc.. For over 35 years, he has dedicated his career to parks and recreation management including serving as the Director of Parks and Planning for Wheaton Park District.

Teresa (Teri) Hendy, actively involved as a design and safety consultant to the school, park and recreation industry for more than 20 years.

The International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) is a non-profit, membership, trade association that represents and promotes an open market for manufacturers of playground equipment and surfacing. By serving its members, IPEMA provides information on key economic and governmental issues affecting the play equipment industry and promotes relationships among related organizations. In the interest of public safety, IPEMA provides a product certification program for public play equipment and surfacing materials. IPEMA membership includes over 200 playground equipment and surfacing manufacturers across the world. Learn more at