Playing for our Physical, Cognitive and Mental Health with Brandi Heather

Episode Summary

Today, Maria talks with Brandi Heather, the co-founder and Chief Knowledge Officer of AMPED2PLAY. Brandi has spent her entire career building solutions that meet the physical, cognitive and social needs of every person. She is an inspirational, world-class educator and speaker who utilizes the power of play to help organizations navigate diversity, inclusion, communication, change management and self-care. Why is Brandi teaching children and adults how to play? Play is when we are most open to taking risks when we feel our most capable and confident. In these moments, we are in a state of self-discovery and expression. We are learning, reaching, and attaining new experiences, skills, and abilities. Being immersed in creative change is necessary in order to understand adaptation, and the ability to cope in any environment. Tune in for a lively conversation between two women passionate about playing and learning!

Episode Notes

Production team:

Host : Maria Xenidou

Producer: Julie-Roxane Krikorian

Introduction Voice: David Bourne


 Contact us:


 Music credits:

Like Lee performed by The Mini Vandals

Transition sounds: Swamp Walks performed by Jingle Punks


Where to find Brandi Heather and AMPED2PLAY:

Brandi on LinkedIn 


Play For A Change, a podcast by Brandi Heather


Mentioned in this episode:

Reed College


Listen to this episode and explore: 

Learning through play and fort-building in her childhood (3:16)

Her relationship with school: being the helper and caring for others (5:54)

The decision to study education in college and her experience teaching young kids (8:16)

Creating a new program for students and kids with disabilities (10:39)

How Brandi first started thinking about play (16:05)

An example of play-based teaching (18:26)

The mission of AMPED2PLAY and its creation (21:36)

The role of play in our biological and developmental process (23:57)

How AMPED2PLAY is serving all generations (24:58)

The role of play for our cognitive development through sensory experiences (26:29)

The importance of playing in nature (31:37)

The role of play in war zones and poverty (33:39)

The social aspect of play: different approaches for different preferences (36:13)

The underdeveloped skills in the absence of play (40:18)

The implications of industrial education without play for students and educators (45:28)

How to invite children and educators to play by building safety and cultivating trust (49:44)

The two different types of play for adults (51:33)

How to create effective team-building around play (53:41)

The impact of AMPED2PLAY programs on corporations (56:53)

Why play is more important today than ever before (59:24)

What Brandi wants to leave her mark on during her lifetime (1:03:32)

How we pass on the play (1:04:31)

Where to find Brandi and AMPED2PLAY (1:05:54)

Maria's takeaways related to play (1:07:01)