Return To Play

Rebuilding Resilience, Risk and Reconnection

Can play be the answer...?

Can play be the answer to some of our most significant and complex social challenges of the 21st century? Is it possible that our fear of playing is keeping us from revealing our full potential? This book demonstrates that the return to play creates a common ground to share hopes and fears, vulnerability and strength.
Play gives solutions to the question, “what do we do when no one has the answer?” It gives us the creative confidence to build solutions to insurmountable issues that come from practiced, adaptability, creativity and innovation. Join me as I show you that play is worth risking a little of yourself to become more yourself in the process.

Return to Play Quotes


When we are in play we are more open to sending belonging cues to players that suggest that play is not only a universal language but that it connects us on a level that we have not even begun to explore. Play bridges culture, race, gender, ability, background, experience in a way that no one feels excluded.
The solutions are in play. 
For people to come together to tackle tough problems, whether in business or in their communities, people need to gain a certain level of empathy and understanding for those they need to work with. I’m convinced that play can be a key part in creating an effective environment where people can move beyond superficial exchanges and actually gain empathy and understanding about the groups, they are in. This is really the foundation for solution-building.


When we learn to play we practice our skills for:
  • Generating new ideas, and testing their viability by considering ideas outside the obvious answers
  • Invention and curiosity in the presence of ambiguity
  • Reconstruction and resourcefulness – building more from solid solutions
  • Working in uncertainty and exploring the unknown
  • Imagining something more and different requires us to risk and be determined to try something new
  • Being able to represent ideas and communicate them to others
  • Amongst these soft skills, there is one skill that is rarely discussed that is arguably THE most important skill you’ll need in ANY job. Tolerance for ambiguity


The threshold for risk in play has been lowered so greatly that the adaptive skills needed to be both innovative and resilient have become ineffectual. So, when we are faced with real danger, crisis, and change of direction we are starting from the beginning; experience risk, try, cope, self-regulate, build confidence and competence; and we are starting at 18, or 30, or 50!
What does your perfect play environment look like, what needs to be in place so that you can feel free to experiment? risk? Color outside the lines? Imagine something different?


What 20 years of Teaching, Leading and Creating in play has taught me about inclusion:
  1. Everyone’s performance is affected by what the people around them believe they can do.
  2. If you spend your time focused on what people can’t do, you will miss some of their greatest strengths.
  3. No one person has all the answers, life is a collaborative effort.
  4. Until we address our conscious and unconscious fears around difference, we cannot sustain inclusive practice. What we fear is often greater than our motivation to change the social script.
  5. Everyone has the ability when they feel valued and valuable.
  6. Inclusion is a feeling, like belonging, it only grows when we let ourselves be seen.


Play is So Much More Important than it's Connotation
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I couldn't stop reading, I learned so much about what play means to all of our generations and why it must be valued in our daily lives. Brandi has once again opened my eyes to how play opens doors to connection, belonging, resiliency, problem-solving, emotional regulation... the list goes on but it also brings with it happiness and joy. How often do we seek out moments of happiness and joy in a world that is always pushing us to achieve, to be the best, to raise the best children, to accomplish and move on to the next goal...
A Great Book!
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This is a great book! I recommend folks get the paperback copy as it is brilliantly designed and beautifully written.
an anonymous readerNeedless to say, I love your book!
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Wow! So much packed into a hundred pages! There are two things I love the most. First, how you give structure to the concept of play. It is such a fluid term that I thought I understood but your book really showed me the hidden power that play can unleash. Second, I loved the way you exposed how fear is a major limitation to engaging in play. And especially how employee engagement, performance, and work satisfaction increase when creativity and innovative risk-taking are nurtured and supported. This is something fresh I'm really looking forward to sharing with my team.
Susanne MuellerNow is the time to play
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“A book that the world has awaited for the longest time. Now is the time to play, if not now, then when?”

The Power of People in Play

Seth Godin
“Play is a willingness to not win and still be okay with the journey. That’s what it is for me.”
Daniel Pink
“If we rehabilitate play, we might simultaneously resurrect our ability to get along and trust each other.”