Bill Michaelis - Author

Bill Michaelis is professor emeritus, former graduate coordinator, and former chair of the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at San Francisco State University.

For over 25 years, he was also on the faculty of Marian Wright Edelman Institute for Children Youth and Families and taught a behavioral, social science course on developmental play processes that touched many folks working with children and youth.

He is the owner-director of, an international play event and leadership training organization.

Over the past 40 years, Michaelis has presented over 2,000 fun-filled, thought-provoking workshops, events, and keynote speeches around the world to clientele as diverse as Paramount Pictures and the government of Austria.

He has presented keynote addresses at annual association conferences in 27 different states and workshops for many more.

He has presented to just about every type of organization that serves children and youth, including schools, human service and recreation organizations, nonprofit, public and corporate childcare agencies, and the widest range of professional conferences.

His extensive event work includes a 10,000-person family play festival in the Olympic Park in Munich, Germany.

He has written, taught, and consulted extensively in the area of play and its applications to creativity, learning development, self-esteem, and healthy living for all age groups.

He was an early pioneer, lead trainer, and board member of the original New Games Foundation. He is the author of “Fantasy Play Creativity and Mental Health” and Learning Through Noncompetitive Play Activities, and was a contributor to The New Games Book and More New Games (which he also coedited.)

He has also produced four training DVDs on youth development and play leadership.

Michaelis received his both his master’s and doctoral degrees in education and anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley, emphasizing play and human development and multicultural education.

He lives in Pacifica, California, with his wife, Dinah, and has two grown kids, Paige and Jason, who have playful families of their own.

The Leader's Handbook, 2nd ed.