Ellis on playful living: "this is my personal library of what I've learnt so far while I'm still mischievously exploring..."

Ellis, play alchemist

Me, Professor of Play ! ?

16/08/2017 08:53

After 1,5 years working with Internet of Elephants, I am honoured to be receiving this mention and title:


read the full blog here >>

Plus I do agree this is the best Job in the world, I allowed to play a role as a member of the herd of this amazing international team, and overcome all the different and surprising obstacles in our ambitions to have an impact via play.


article, english, game, gamification

Ellis’s scars are featured on QS website

05/08/2017 11:37

A quote from Azure Grant:

We often spend our time trying to appear and feel unworn by our years, covering them with clothing or makeup and ignoring the memories they represent. While Ellis embraces the past, she discusses the frustration associated with the limitations imposed by her injuries. Still, she uses her scars as a visual reminder to appreciate her own history and resilience.

Read this blog about my talk at the QS2017 Amsterdam Conference here: http://quantifiedself.com

Plus the video of the complete talk can be seen here >> Read more


Alice, article, english, event, QS

Succesfull learning course for teachers co created!

07/07/2017 09:40

Together with Hieke Hoekstra and Ate de Boer we developed a course at Effectief Onderwijs and noordelijkonderwijsgilde.nl for teachers in special-needs education about digital teaching materials and tools. Our 16 participants explored many digitals tools and created their own research plan:

  • developed a research question based on their pupils needs and abilities
  • designed a pilot test to run
  • run a pilot test
  • created a video and presentation
  • wrote a report about their insights with recommendations for their organisation plus peers

A final magazine with reviews on different digital tools and providers has been created as a library to continue with as a team, one of biggest finding is that the way to get a tool is a first obstacle, to implement a tool second, but once you are interacting with the pupils, they very often surprise their teachers with their talents and abilities to explore these objects. Like my pupils surprised me happily during this course ; ) Read more


apply play, educational, english

QS 2017 Conference ‘My Health Scars’

16/06/2017 23:55

I’ll share my “quantified body” as tracked by my physical scars. The data on my scars includes date of the injury, size of the scar, impact of the scar, and healing time. (All scars are accidental, by the way.) quantifiedself.com Read more


art, data-visualisation, english, event, QS

How play elicits innovation

10/05/2017 18:10

Thanks to a temp. teaching job at the Amsterdam University College, I read this article:

Play in evolution and development” by Anthony D. Pellegrini, Danielle Dupuis and Peter K. Smith.

I love for instance this quote:  “… leading us to posit that play may be an important mechanism at the vanguard of behavioral innovation” in this article a lot more reasoning on the how and why. Read the complete article, or ask me next time we talk ; )




17/04/2017 10:10

Three years ago today I did a TEDx talk, and i’ve not been able to look at the video till today! I still agree with the message: we do need to play more! I personally will try (again) to make obstacles as challenges and find better balance in life. See the talk here (it is only 8 min)

Read more


Alice, apply play, english, event, favorite, game, gamification, serious

Double plus good Play

02/04/2017 11:18

I am a huge fan of Foooty, it’s a ball to play anywhere and anytime, since it fits in your pocket.

Recently at my birthday I received a Foooty+ as a gift. Double plus clever game design, inside the Foooty is a puzzle placed… really not that easy to figure out! Plus I love the simplicity of the round transparant ball with inside a transparant cube… contrasting yet matching perfectly. Love it!


apply play, braintraining, design thinking, english, favorite, play

Apply play

12/03/2017 11:04

For over 20 years I have been developing interactive and playful products. Through my work, I learned about designing motivational and persuasive games, and have been doing research and taught people one-on-one, in classes and through lectures about how to design play for impact. Now I wish to scale that message and allow it to find its audience. I hope to reach people who are trying to share their message and teach them how to engage an audience through play and games. They will discover how play empowers the audience to participate with a topic, which creates meaningful interaction.

Want to order the book Apply play • to get ahead of the game?

BUY HERE! (paperback, pdf and e-book) or at Bol.com plus soon online for sale on Amazon.com.


To get ahead of the game. Play offers a safe environment to explore, test and fail. Apply Play shares how we all play every day and how play can be used as an educational tool for all ages (prize includes shipment).

Apply Play encouraged us to think about the opportunities play offers in special primary education.
—Ate de Boer, CEO at Effectief Onderwijs
Ellis really embodies her professional mission of exploring playful living when she engages people to learn new behaviors or attitudes. Whichever subject we explore, be it refugees, health care or organisational change.
—Ina Smittenberg, author of Organitopia
Ellis made me play my life.
—Ellen van Eeden, CEO at Cybersoek, digital inclusion

As all good things come in three, so is this book divided into three parts and the reader is guided through the book as a journey, starting as a beginner, leveling up to an intermediate and ending as a master:

• Section 1 is the invitation chapter “who I am and why I play” where the reader learns why and how this book came to life, what the impact of a playful lens can bring and what it can mean for the reader.

• Section 2 “understanding play,” allows the reader to explore the phenomenon of play and what role games play in society and history. The reader will discover that play has a common language along with the different definitions and ways to understand play. Brief chapters are enriched with many examples and theories from old and new scientists from different domains.

• Section 3 is the immersion area, “How to make the magic happen,” where all the tools and methods are provided on how to make the magic happen, including how to apply play in different contexts to solve a problem, how to create new or use old games for situations or interventions.

While reading the book, the reader will be challenged to participate in and investigate the magic of play with challenges related to the chapters.


Extra materials from inside the book to print for hands-on play:

Download the Game Concept Design Canvas for print >>

Download the Player Journey Canvas for print >>

Download the game elements Cheat Sheet for print >>



Alice, apply play, english, favorite

Pac-man is alive and kicking!

18/02/2017 13:23

As most people might know by now, I am a big fan of Pacman, and often talk about pacman when trying to explain the theory of gamedesign.

Now I am happy to announce that Paladin Studios made a tribute to Pacman in their game Galaga Wars. Read more about the how and what here >>

Read more


apply play, english, pacman, play

Once i was a product designer…

31/01/2017 23:12

About 7 years ago, I “designed” this ring, to be as cheap as possible, customisable in size on the spot, sold for one euro at Queens day in Amsterdam….

Found the photo just now, and it made me think of the magic circle as a model… also born approx. 7 years ago?


english, favorite