The Champions of Play

Project Play is a movement to inspire kids and their families to make unstructured play a priority.  The idea was born when creator Marlene Byrne began writing down the games from her youth for her children.  As an advertising agency owner and mother of two, she was inspired by the possibility of recreating the games as books after introducing Treasure Hunt to a group of her son’s neighborhood friends.

One of the friends, a boy by the name of Jack, came to play asking, “What’s the game today?”


Although a simple question, it led to many more as Marlene pondered the fading popularity of traditional backyard games like “kick the can” or “cops and robbers.” It was from these humble beginnings that the idea to inspire children in true play was born.  Eight years later, with the help of her illustrator Jesse Graber, the idea became a reality in the creation of Project Play and the first published book, Treasure Hunt.

The Project Play series is designed to grow with readers. The early volumes feature hardcover rhyming books designed for new readers with simple games that entertain and inspire. The later volumes feature a chapter-style narrative in paperback with more challenging games for slightly older children.

All the stories are action-packed and feature the Edgebrook gang as they play timeless, backyard games. The books are meant to inspire children to get out and play the way the characters do—by modifying the rules, coming up with new strategies, and supporting one another as they play.

Marlene is driven by her belief that it is as equally important to be creative as it is to be smart. With more than 20 years of experience in the advertising industry, she recognizes that the skills learned during childhood experiences, especially creativity and negotiation, will be channeled into adulthood, and these beliefs are the foundation of Project Play.