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“Once Upon A Playtime” is a new podcast from The Genius of Play for parents (and their kiddos) about the serious importance of having fun. Each episode features an interview with a fascinating guest, transformed into a storytime experience that you can listen to by yourself or with your kids. You’ll get to hear from famous artists, entrepreneurs, actors, and other high-profile people about their childhood play rituals, learn about the science of play, and hear some fun facts about...having fun! Tune in to the first episode of “Once Upon A Playtime” on December 15th, with new episodes released every other week.
Some sculptors use bronze, others prefer marble. But Nathan Sawaya is a world-famous artist who sculpts with LEGO. From a very young age, Nathan loved building with those colorful toy bricks. He built skyscrapers, spaceships, and even a pet Lego dog. But while he was playing, Nathan also built his imagination, his creativity , and even a new career. In this episode of “Once Upon a Playtime,” we’ll learn about how Nathan went from lawyer to full-time LEGO artist, how construction toys advance STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) skills, and how playing can increase motivation in children.
Having a big heart is like a magnifying glass. It turns the good into great, the pretty into beautiful, and the simple into sublime. But it can also make the sad things sadder, the hard things harder, and the lonely things lonelier. Luckily, playing provides a healthy way to process those big, complicated emotions at any age. In this episode of “Once Upon A Playtime,” we’ll learn how actress, author, and activist Alicia Silverstone rediscovered the true meaning of play when she became a mom, and why “playing pretend” is crucial for healthy child development.
The recipe for silver linings is a bit tricky. You can’t buy the ingredients at the grocery store. In fact, you can’t buy the ingredients at all. The ingredients for a silver lining are free, but it takes a long time to gather each one. Melissa Ben-Ishay is the CEO and co-founder of Baked by Melissa, a company specializing in delicious, bite-size stuffed cupcakes. In this episode of “Once Upon a Playtime,” we’ll learn about how Melissa became a boss baker, why playtime with family can give children a developmental edge, and how playing with arts and crafts translates into important adult skills.
Busy bees like to do lots of things. They explore new places, try new activities, and learn all that they can! But what happens when a busy bee becomes too busy? Well, you teach yourself to stop and smell the flowers! In this episode of “Once Upon A Playtime,” we’ll learn how writer and entrepreneur Danielle Prescod discovered the value of slowing down, why it is important to balance scheduled activities with unstructured playtime, and how board games can help kids develop resilience.
Some people may think that the sciences and arts are diametrically opposed foes…but not Hamilton’s associate choreographer Stephanie Klemons! As a child, Stephanie’s favorite ways to play were dance and math games, and both shaped the rest of her life. In this episode of “Once Upon A Playtime,” we’ll learn how math and science helped Stephanie become a star dancer on Broadway, why physical movement helps kids and grown-ups feel good, and the role of play in helping us find our passions. You can follow today’s guest on Instagram here and find out more at
Everybody loves a good game of “Simon Says”. Simon says…do a silly dance! Simon says…spin in a circle as fast as you can! Listen to this episode! Oops – I didn’t say, “Simon says.” However, you should listen to this episode anyway. In the season finale of “Once Upon a Playtime,” we’ll learn how author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek embraced his nerdiness, the difference between supporting play and encouraging play, and how playing make-believe helps kids learn problem-solving skills.  You can follow today’s guest on Instagram here and find out more at
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