So, I get to wrap up the Big Idea Festival at Big Picture Classes and my word is PLAY.

Several years ago, when I began a serious study of play (there’s an oxymoron for you) I filled a couple of pages in my “playbook” with ideas about play. I love that I did this and I would challenge you to do the same thing. Define what PLAY means to you. We often say we work too hard and don’t play enough, but if you don’t really know what it means to play, then how do you know whether you’re doing enough of it. I’ve discovered that I can play simply by talking to my children in a funny accent, or putting on a silly song and inviting everyone around me to stop and dance. I can visit Suessville or read some Shel Silverstein (seriously, you should click on those links now and watch the intros — you have time.) I can type a word into Google Images, like wave or toasted cheese sandwich.  Because I one day typed “turquoise chevron” in Google Images, I learned that you can order personalized iPhone wallpaper through Etsy. Who knew?

Anyway, my whole point is that PLAY is what you decide to make it and you can make it in a very brief moment.
I was raised in a home where you work, then play.
But I think you can work and play almost simultaneously and when you do you have a LOT more fun and even more importantly, you access the reaches of your brain and intellect that need to be accessed to spark the creativity that is required in today’s work.

I hope you’ll login to BPC and watch my silly little video. I was a lot of FUN to make.
And because I have a few playful resources to share, I now present you with a Friday FIVE, with a little twist at the end …


This really good book all about the science behind play and WHY we need to protect our playfulness.

Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul


This video from the folks at Life is Good. They are doing something about the lack of PLAY in children’s lives. Very cool.

To learn more this awesome Playmakers initiative. click HERE.


Seriously … check these out and add them to your list of back-to-school supplies. Mine have not arrived yet, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to love them.

Sheets of newspaper are tightly rolled around the colored core until pencils begin to take shape. Yes, they really are pencils made from rolled sheets of newspaper instead of wood! You can even see the layers of newspaper when you sharpen them. Next they are soaked in gourmet liquid scents (made by an award winning fragrance company). Once they’re dry, each Smencil is placed into its own Freshness Tube. Smencils will maintain their scent for 2 years even if you are lazy and do not place them back into their tube!
You can purchase Smencils on the website perpetualkid.com (what a cool name for a website!)


Play-Doh scented perfume (also from Perpetual Kid)
I’ve actually had this (bought it at Urban Outfitters years ago) and was so happy to find it again. They have other scents like Crayon and Junior Mint too!


image source.

I love this icon that is now almost universally recognized as the symbol of “play” because it also suggests START and playing is about starting something.
So, my number FIVE is for you.
What playful notion will you start today or this weekend?
Where will you go?
What will you do?
Leave me a comment and share a playful idea or website or product with me.

And then, go PLAY!


  1. I just spent the last two days in creeks and rivers looking for freshwater mussels. Any time I can get outside it is refreshing to me, but this was like a treasure hunt at the same time. Go outside and look for treasure.

  2. We love to be silly at our house. Lots of spontaneous dancing! My daughter’s school sells Smencils, the kids love them!

  3. p.s. My favorite way to play recently, I have been “playing” in an art journal. I love just being able to smear paint, try new stamps, staple scraps, color, draw, and not worry about how it turns out. Also, my kids think I’m an artist now, which I’ve NEVER considered myself!

  4. You did a fantastic job on your movie. Just yesterday I asked for more Stacy videos and — presto! — I got my wish! I realize, of course, the timing has nothing to do with the comment I left yesterday, but it still made me smile.

    I’m off to play now . . .

  5. Wow, $100 later I’m a happy shopper at perpetual kid! What a fun sight. I started my Christmas shopping for my kids who are all adult aged now, but still love kid stuff.

  6. This weekend I’m going to build/sew a play teepee for our grandson’s birthday gift. He’s turning 3 and loves to play ‘pretend’ so I think he’s going to love it. Can’t wait to play with him in it :) And years ago, the first BPS class I took from you was ‘UR 2 Cre8ive’ and I have a layout in my book called “Play”. It was so fun to go back and look at what I created today. Thanks for 5 great years of inspiration and fun playing along with you, Stacy!

  7. There are a few talks at TED.com about the importance of p,ay. here’s a link for one of them:


    I plan on playing with my paper and adhesive this weekend to finish my Words to Live By project. It’s been.great fun, but a busy week, so Saturday is my play date with my supplies.

  8. I am going to go play with the women in my church at a cabin in the mountain. There will probably be 30 of us. We’ll eat, have a lesson, play, giggle, play some more, and giggle some more. It will be a blast!
    Get together with a bunch of women at various stages in their lives. It’s bound to be fun!

  9. You are going to love the smencils!!! Wait unitl Christmas, they have holiday scents–awesome stocking stuffewrs!

  10. I have a really hard time letting go and playing. It is something that I want to work on for my kids! They deserve to have a fun mama. Today I think we might go play at the pool, boy is it hot!
    I was just rereading in your book the other day about your creative exploration and was thinking that I needed to join. Maybe after the move I’ll play at finding my inspiration and style. Love the page. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Damiane Lucas says:

    I LOVE your “Play” scrapbook!!!! What a fun way of journaling happy thoughts! THANK YOU for the inspiration!

    Love your work so much!

  12. Smencils are fun! Our favourite thing to do is put on a dvd of a concert (we have a few artists we like) and dance with each other. My daughters and I make up fun moves with each other, sing loud and have fun. I love that it’s fun, it releases stress and it’s great excerise.

  13. Damiane Lucas says:

    I also love your “PLAY” layout on the Big Picture Classes festival. It’s “soooo” cute. Please tell me, was that a single collage of mini photos that you used? Or were they individual little photos that you had to cut up?

    About what size was each photo?

    You inspired me to make a layout like yours.

  14. I struggle letting go of getting everything done I need to. I am not spontaneous. This afternoon my freshman son called asking if I would drive he and four friends to an away football game. My first reaction was no. Then I quickly decided yes. My son wanted ME to take he and his friends!!

    I am so glad I took them. My older daughter didnt include me much. I seemed an embarassment. When my son and friends all sat down by me and kidded and played I knew I made the right decision!

  15. Jenny McGee says:

    My children and I often have silly moments. These are random dancing, or beach ball volley ball in the living room. Things like that happen often at our house. It is fun and it is play.

  16. The new SMASH books look like a great plaCe to document play ideas & play accomplishments. You’ve inspired me to play without guilt. Thanks, Stacy!

  17. Smencils are wonderful!! Many teachers at our school give them to the students as rewards or if they catch them being kind to one another when not expected.

    We do alot of play around here! We have bars in our children’s doorways that hold hanging swings & trapezes so that no matter the weather, there’s play to be done! :) And yes, it holds adults too! yea!

  18. Kary in Colorado says:

    Hey Stacy–is that your book from UR2Cre8tive?? It looks familiar! I loved that class. I love this post–so important. And your post a couple of days ago “It’s been so long” really hit home too. Our oldest left for BYU 10 years ago and he really has never lived at home since. School, mission, more school–he’s now 1000 miles away in Chicago. When your children start leaving the nest it really is a shock to the system. I always knew they would go off on their own, but the reality of it . . .oh my. That is when you will be so glad you made home a happy place because then they will want to come home to visit whenever they can! This son married this summer–another big life change for him (and for me!). Our daughter married as well, so family dynamics are different and I have some new roles to play, but it is all so good. Playing is so important for all of us and especially for us moms!

    Stacy, I am so glad you know about Perpetual Kid! I am the one at my office who encourages others to remember the childlike fun of play, even at a serious office like ours (NOT! At least not with me there) I have wind up toys on my shelf, for wandering children or grownups who need a minute to rejuvinate. I have silly post it notes for nagging my boss when it is time to get letters out. I too, like dessert gum! I have it on my desk for all to share, and I keep the lolly pop jar full in the reception area for our guests. I have silly toys from Perpetual Kids – bacon stuff seems to be especially popular.


    You just never know when just a little bit of play will make the day ok. Well, OK, I know it, but my some of my coworkers are still learning.

  20. Thanks for sharing about the perpetualkids site! Cannot wait to do some Christmas shopping.
    We took the kids to a hot air balloon and corn roasting festival this morning, they loved it of course.

  21. Nicolle Tafoya says:

    The playful thing I did today was to go to the beach with my hubby and our three kids. It was a beautiful day at the beach.

  22. Hi Stacy, thank you for this post! I’ve been reading “The Now Habit” by Neil Fiore, and he discusses the need for meaningful play, and how we need to schedule it in, just as we do work. It’s so hard for me (having grown up with the Puritan Work Ethic and all!), as I’ve always been taught to work first before playing. And that just increases my anxiety level 100-fold! But when I do actually play, I’m relaxed, and I’m able to focus on my work, as well as my life in general.

    This blog makes me happy, I think I found out about it from Katie on the Digi Show. Play on!

  23. Stacy, thanks so much for sharing about PLAYMAKERS. I just blogged about it at my site http://alchemy-artmemories.blogspot.com

    If you want to see what I posted for day 12 of the BIG IDEA Festival for the word PLAY jump on over to my blog. I an now a follower of your blog. Thanks again for sharing.

  24. Julie Lueck says:

    Hey Stacy,
    I think your playful attitude is why everyone likes watching you in your videos. I just read your post on what to blog(Hello, my name is Stacy). I hope you read responses to your post after the fact. I hope you will go and read mine. I kept loosing it and had to retype a couple of times :?

  25. We played at the local arboretum this weekend. We liked it so much that we put our admission price toward the cost of a season pass. They offer watercolor classes! I hope I get the chance to take them.

    We have known about Smencils for a while now. They are just amazing, aren’t they? I also used them for incentives for my Girl Scouts for learning the GS law. The girls were excited and motivated, and it was fun to see them that way!

  26. Carol West says:

    Loved your PLAY layout and your fun movie! So, Stacy, did your production get sponsored by dessert gum, or was that free advertising for them? Thanks for the fun!

  27. sarah page says:

    We LOVE smencils!!!!

  28. Hi Stacy! I just found your blog through Sandra’s Alchemy-Art Memories! I just LOVE your Play post!!! I think through finding my creativity, I am finally learning how to play (after all these years) and it is so healing, so freeing, so wonderfully fun! The Life is Good video is great and so true! And play-doh scented perfume…I have to get some of that!!!! I could not find your video through the BPC link though:(

    I’m off to enjoy your blog…blog hopping is play in my book too!

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