Welcome to Play Counts!

Standing up for a child's right to play and empowering early childhood professionals to give children the gift of PLAY.

About Denita

My Books

Book a Defender of Play Bootcamp today!

boot-campThis training is not for the faint of heart! Come prepared to laugh, play, learn , be real, and most importantly: DEFEND PLAY!!Participants will get down and dirty playing at roughly 30 stations, exhaust their brains during many "dissecting play" drills and be inspired to fight for a child's right to learn through play. Read More...



With that said...now go play already! The best way to prove that play counts, that play is the best way young children learn is to just do it.

The The best way to prove that play counts, that play is the best way young children learn is to just do it. Play speaks for itself, and Denita Dinger speaks enthusiastically for play as well. She is passionate about providing positive, play-centered environments that promote self exploration, imagination and "the important stuff". Independent problem solving, confidence, self control, owning discoveries, cooperating, sharing, asking for what we need, instigating, leading and listening are what Denita considers the "important stuff". The important stuff builds the base for which all learning can build on.

Firmly believing that listening to children will produce the most amazing learning opportunities, Denita thrives on thinking outside the box, and on her toes to enhance play-centered learning. She has been the owner and operator of Giggles and Grins, a family child care home in Sioux Falls, SD since 1998. Denita uses her BS in Eled and Early Childhood Ed. to not only find clever ways for young children to learn through natural discovery and investigative play, but to also "sell" play to parents who are expecting "worksheet learning".

Denita's presentations are heartfelt, humorous, valuable and most importantly, REAL. She doesn't just throw out theory -- she is all about practice. Denita actively lives what she talks about, it is her passion. Monday- Friday she shares her days with ten 2-5 year olds in her program. More often then not, what happened during the past week turns up in Denita's presentations. Sharing fresh, successful learning moments she has experienced with young children is her pleasure. Her journey from saying: "We play for a bit before we get to the "important stuff". " to now, "Play IS the "important stuff". " will motivate all early childhood professionals. Denita has a special gift of inspiring others to give ownership of discovery to children, to see the value in play and spread the word that play counts!

Now Shoo! Go play! Have fun with this website, take the ideas and make them your own! Have questions or great ideas to share? Email Denita! She'd love to hear from you! Or better yet, "like" Play Counts on Facebook for even more fun ideas and great networking with other early childhood professionals!

Interested in having Denita present at your next Early Childhood Professional event? Check out the my workshops, and get inked in her calendar....you will not regret it!

Play Counts!

  • Play uses creativity and sparks imaginations.
  • Play is how children practice what they know.
  • Mother nature knows best. Play is innate.
  • Play requires critical thinking and problem solving.
  • Play provides meaningful and memorable learning.
  • Play is a way for children to express their true interests.
  • Play motivates and enhances cognitive and social emotional growth.