• Brian VanDongen

Play to Live's Birthday Party

My book, Play to Live, turned one year old on Thursday, April 30, 2020. And I had a birthday party on Facebook Live!


By the laws of the internet and live streaming, of course that was the day my internet was acting up. So, if you weren't able to turn in to the live stream or had connectivity or streaming issues, let's revisit the party.


What's a birthday party without party hats?

First, we made party hats, using this template. The reason I like this template is that it is open-ended. There is no pre-set design, allowing you to create whatever you want. There is no "right" or "wrong" design, no "right" or "wrong" creation.


This is also true about play. We all have our definitions, our own feelings, our desired outcomes of play. There is no "right" or "wrong" way to play. Play is in the eye of the player.


Coloring benefits both children and adults. It helps children gain fine motor skills, contributes to better handwriting, and improves hand-eye coordination.


Reduction of stress, freedom of expression, exploration of creativity, improved self-esteem, and coping with trauma are benefits of coloring for everyone.


We didn't just make party hats. We improved your day and your life a little while making your party hats.


Why did I write this book?

Because it needed to be written. This book appeals to our inner and natural desire to play. The stories in the book show people playing and benefiting from that play. Stories that elicit happiness and joy. Stories that can be inspiring to other to get them to play.


At the end of each chapter, there is a section called "Here's the Play." You get to the point tips on how to incorporate certain types of play in to your life.


So, what is my favorite or best tip in the book?

I'm going to kind of cheat and give you two.


The first is play for the sake of play. In today's society, we are often overly focused on results, metrics, and analytics. Where does that leave play, which is often an activity undertaken "just because" and without an end goal?


Play brings us life skills and joy. While the results and benefits of play may not be readily and immediately accessible or measurable, there are plenty of scientific studies that show our brains change - we become smarter, more empathetic, more social - when we play. So, play for play's sake, and so much more.


The second is that risky play is not dangerous play. Risk management and assessment is an important and crucial skill for adults. What a better place to learn about risk than in play when the results essentially are inconsequential?


A child climbing a tree, or hanging upside down from the monkey bars, or walking across a river is engaging in risky play. Instead of saying "be careful", as adults and play facilitators, we can ask probing questions about the child's feelings... "does that branch feel sturdy?" or "are the rocks slippery?"


Kids partake in risky activity throughout their lives. Learning how to walk is risky. Learning how to ride a bike is risky. They fall, they get back up. Kids are resilient. Risky play builds resiliency, self-esteem, and self-confidence.


Exciting Play to Live News!

Play to Live is now available in hardcover and at Barnes & Noble online!


Where can you purchase Play to Live?

Amazon: Kindle version, paperback (available on Prime), hardcover (available on Prime)

Barnes & Noble: Nook version (available May 17), paperback, hardcover

Apple Books: eBook (available May 17)

Kobo: ebook (available May 17)


Cake Time!

Because what's a party without cake?


Thank you!

Thanks to all who celebrated my book's birthday, whether during the (technical issue filled) Facebook Live stream, the video on replay, or through this blog post!

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