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Dream It! A Playbook to Spark Your Awesomeness.

Dream It!

A playbook to spark your awesomeness!

By Scott Stoll, Sara E. Williams PhD and YOU!

Published by Magination Press an imprint of the APA.

Do you want to live the biggest, brightest, best life possible? Do you want to create things never seen before? Do you want to do things never done before? Do you want your life to mean something and make a difference? In other words, do you want to feel and be awesome? If so, this book is for you!

Dream It! is chock full of evidence-based activities, games, and brainstorming questions to help you discover your passions, identify your strengths and values, create brand-new, unique-to-you dreams… and ultimately open the door to a life full of possibilities! So get ready—with this playbook as your guide, not even the sky’s the limit.

Because it was our dream, and we loved doing it. Does that sound too obvious? Well, the long story is… We like to think of ourselves as the psychologist and cycle-ologist dream team because we love to inspire people and see the sparkle in their eyes when they discover their wondrous dreams. However, we realized that though a lot of kids were inspired by Sara’s profession as a child psychologist and Scott’s bicycle trip around the world, the kids didn’t know how to effectively channel that inspiration into their own dream; so, our goal was to create a measurable way for people of all ages to develop hope, curiosity and inspiration in their lives, and then focus that into a new dream and potentially a new reality — thus the “Dream It! Playbook” was born. We truly believe the world will be an awesome place if everyone has the chance to live the life of their dreams.

It’s a workbook — or as we like to call it, a playbook! — designed to help children learn how to dream and channel their passion into action.  It uses visually stimulating and interactive exercises to tackle dreams from every angle: from conceptual to feeling to playing. And, it is designed for a variety of learning and teaching styles, and filled with unique emotional exercises to connect students to their passion and values. And maybe best of all, the Playbook will serve as a journal or scrapbook that records these formative years that parents and children will treasure forever. 

The Playbook is designed for about 4-8th graders (about 8–14 years old), but actually, we think everyone could benefit from these new and important dream-building tools. So, we invite adults to participate in the dreaming process, too! While the exercises—or games as we like to call them—are appropriate for children to work on independently, we also encourage adults to explore the book and play the games together with children. And—who knows—maybe along the way some adults will recapture an old dream or two. And, if groups want to use the book in a classroom, workshop or even a birthday party, students will get a chance to put these skills to practice and share and collaborate dreams with their classmates.

For Children
  • To inspire the imagination of the “impossible” and thinking outside of the box
  • To create the foundation of a life goal and the self-motivation to take action to live that life to the fullest
  • To encourage attitudes that are hopeful, open-minded, cooperative and forward-thinking
  • To provide kids a method and platform to share their thoughts, feelings and ideas
For Parents
  • To provide a tangible way for parents and children to bond over life values and goals
  • To inspire your children to be the creators of their own destiny
  • To create a memory that will become a cherished family heirloom
For Professionals
  • To provide a useful tool for working with kids in educational and therapeutic disciplines
  • To create an experiential learning opportunity to develop basic life skills like: creativity, critical thinking, reading, writing and more
  • To provide insight into student’s learning styles and personality
  • To facilitate social and emotional learning, particularly in the area of self-awareness, optimistic thinking, goal-setting and overcoming obstacles.
For Groups:
  • Since we don’t live in the world alone, it’s essential that kids not only learn how to dream but also how to play with others. When it comes to making dreams a reality, history proves this true because even something as simple as an ice cream cone was the result of two people working together.
  • If groups want to use the book in the classroom, a workshop, or even a birthday party, students will get a chance to put these skills to practice and share and collaborate dreams with their classmates.
The Playbook is evidence-based. It was tested in a university study and proven to increase optimistic thinking by 22% and much more. (See below.)

Teachers agree: Activities align with the Common Core Standards

There is no right or wrong way as long as you are having fun and learning. In fact, we guaranteed you’ll be inspired with a new dream. “Dream it!” is easy to use because it has been designed to be self-explanatory for children to complete independently. That being said, our recommended method is to follow the pages one-by-one, in order. We know it is tempting to skip ahead, but one concept leads to another. For example, you need to fill your Bucket List before you can sort them according to passion, logic and skills.

Go here to download our facilitator guides for parents, teachers, facilitators and health care professionals.

Absolutely! We even have a facilitator’s guide based on years of working with kids in the classroom. The “Dream It!” workbook is an evidence-based activity that improves social-emotional learning like optimistic thinking, growth mindset, hope and grit (perseverance) and other important life skills. It is also proven to improve the general school climate. More specifically, the book will help children translate their passion into realistic, tangible goals. It will also motivate children to higher achievement in all areas of their studies, like reading, writing and math, to help them achieve those goals. 

Magination Press logo After 4 years in development, we’re excited to announce that “Dream It!” has been published by Magination Press.

“Magination Press is the children’s book imprint of the American Psychological Association. Through our publishing we share with the world mental health expertise and psychological knowledge. Our books reach young readers and their parents and caregivers to make navigating life’s challenges a little easier. It’s the combined power of psychology and literature that makes our books special.”

We feel this is the perfect publisher for the Playbook’s themes of passion, optimistic thinking and social-emotional learning. We couldn’t be more excited. The “Dream It! Playbook” has grown bigger than us and we just couldn’t do it alone.

How the book works

3 steps to create a dream!

There is a lot more to the book, like our unique Dream Theory, Dream Ingredients and much more. On our welcome page, we already gave you our formula for turning dreams into reality, but how do you get a dream? Luckily, that is what this book is all about. So, to whet your appetite, here is a general overview of how to create a unique-to-you, never-seen-before dream.

How to create a dream. Step 1: Fill your bucket.

Step 1:
Fill your bucket!

We use a bucket as a metaphor for the mind and all the emotions, knowledge, memories, thoughts, ideas, and dreams it holds. In chapter 4 of our book, kids fill their bucket with a hodgepodge of ideas which will become the parts and pieces to build new dreams. To do this, they will play a lot of fun games to spark their emotions and imagination and inspire themselves with lightbulb moments. It will be anything but boring!

How to create a dream. Step 2: Sort your treasure.

Step 2:
Sort your treasure!

Now, with so many opportunities in their bucket, kids may be wondering: “What is the best dream for me?” In chapter 5, we’ll empty the bucket and sort all the dreams into different piles, like: yes, no, and maybe. We'll also have some fun throwing away things away. Our exploration will help kids learn what is important to them and what they believe is a worthwhile dream, because if kids think a dream is worthwhile, they will be more likely to succeed. And, of course, we’re going to do it while playing fun games.

How to create a dream. Step 3: Build a dream.

Step 3:
Build a dream!

By the time kids reach chapter 8, they will have discovered a lot of dreams and learned how to sort them into useful groups using tools like the Gut Check, Weighing the Pros and Cons, and the Skills Checklist. Now, we are going to learn how to put all the parts and pieces together to build a new, never-before-seen, inspirational dream! How awesome is that!? We'll also learn how to take an unrealistic dream and transform it into a realistic dream.

Fun, 4-color, pencil and paper games including a blueprint, word search, origami fortune teller and a permission slip to dream.

Create your dream

Learn the step-by-step process to dream using traditional pencil and paper games and activities. Almost every page in the book teaches an important concept and uses a memorable game or activity to put the idea into action. First, students will play games to fill their Bucket List. Then they will sort their dreams according to passion, logic and skills. And finally, they will break apart and recombine ideas to create brand new, unique dreams.

Study after study proves that when the reading assignment demands better comprehension, engagement and retention, students are better off using books. And, pencils aren’t going extinct either. This traditional tool is also proven to help students learn and remember by engaging multiple areas of the brain. The Dream It Playbook is packed with reading, writing, math and drawing exercises. For that matter, it is full of activities for all kinds of learning styles. Kids are encouraged to express their dream in any style they prefer.

Dream big or little

A tiny mouse finds a big chunk of Swiss cheese and shouts, "Eureka." A dream come true.

By the end of the book students might have a whole bunch of little dreams or one big dream — a life goal. More importantly, they will learn a process that they can use for the rest of their life.

The best part is that the how-to-dream process can be applied to any of life’s challenges. For example, what if you are feeling sad? What do you think you’re dream might be? That’s right being happy! So, you might fill your Bucket with ideas, like go for a walk, find a friend to tell you a joke or get a hug. Then what? Yep, you go do it.

Share your dream!

Now that you have a dream, one of the first and most important steps to make your dream come true is sharing it. That’s what we call a step of action. By sharing your dream, not only will you get lots of help, some of you will discover that you have matching dreams. For example, some of you are like peanut butter and some of you are like jelly. If you find a partner, you can work on your dreams together and make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. In one Dream Workshop, we had so many soccer fans that we could make a whole team. Get started making dreams real right now — share your dream and help inspire the world.
“My dream is to collect fossils in my backyard and compare them with kids around the world.“
Carry G.
10 years old

Free Resources

Free Social-Emotional Curriculum & Facilitator Guide for Groups

First off, we need to say that “Dream It!” is designed to be self-guiding. That means any child or any adult can pick up the book and do it and learn everything they need to know. That being said, working with a group can be a little different. The SEL curriculum and facilitator’s guide is perfect for teachers, homeschoolers and health care professionals. We’ve taken all the experience we learned from our research studies in the classroom to guide facilitators step-by-step, with concepts summarized page-by-page, and example class schedules from a few days to a few months. You can even teach the most important concepts in a single afternoon. And, we’ve added a new section for health care professionals with students facing challenges like anxiety or depression — challenges we think everyone faces from time to time. Please visit our resources page for more information.

Free Bonus Game #1

Easter Egg Hunt

Try to find all the hidden surprises in Dream It!

Our first game is a companion game for our new book “Dream It!” The Easter Egg Hunt. In this case, “Easter egg” means a hidden surprise. If you saw the movie Ready Player One, you learned that the first hidden surprise was a message in the 1979 video game “Adventure” by Atari. The term was coined “Easter egg” to encourage players to hunt for all the surprises just like the real holiday game. It became so popular that Easter eggs are now part of almost every game, movie and television show, and — of course — our book. 

Free Bonus Game #2

Awards Challenge

Awards Game for "Dream it!"

Earn your dream rank from Newbie to Awesome!

This is another companion game for the book. From the beginning until the end, life is a constant adventure, not a problem to be solved. It doesn’t matter if we achieve great things, it only matters if we feel a great sense of accomplishment! Practice feeling accomplished by marking off your physical achievements in the Dream It! Playbook!

Free Bonus Activity

Augmented Reality Mini App

The Donkeycorn standing on top of the book, "Dream It!"

Bring the Donkeycorn to life.

We love to experiment, and we are always looking for new ways to bring our books to life. Just recently, technology has made adding interactive features to paper books easy. We’ve begun adding AR (augmented reality) to our book. It’s super fun! Imagine turning a page in the book and having a character jump out, or a movie begins to play, or an interactive game launches. And, all of these features help teach the lessons in the book using different learning styles. 

Keep the lessons alive

More fun content being posted all the time

How to make a dreamcatcher

A fun arts & crafts project for schools, families and friends. Follow the steps to create your own dreamcatcher to capture your dream before it gets away.


Dream It! is all about finding a dream — the hardest and most important step. But we won’t leave you hanging there. We’ll walk you through the whole process of turning dreams into reality: dreaming (goal setting and optimistic thinking), mapping (planning and perseverance) and playing (doing and overcoming obstacles).

Dream > Map > Play = Dreamaplay

We’ll keep posting more games and activities like our Backyard Adventures or Dream Workshop and, of course, a sequel — Map it!

A wayfinder for adults

Do you need to hit the refresh button?

We know all authors imagine their books will be loved by everyone, but this really seems to be the case. We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from adults about how much the learned from these new and important dream building tools.

Psst! — Here’s a secret: A lot of the concepts of learning how to harness your passion and turn it into a dream is new. “Dream It!” is designed for 8-12-year olds, but, actually, the words are written to help coach adults. In other words, we teach you how to teach your children. And, as a side-effect of that, adults are raving about the book! 

If you are an adult wanting to refresh your life, we invite you to explore your life and dreams using “Dream It!” as your guide.

Rachel Zoffness, PhDHealth & Pain Psychologist
Read More
The Dream It! workbook is brilliant, inspiring and delicious. It reminds one of Dr. Seuss' "Oh, The Places You'll Go!" in it's tone and playfulness, while also providing real, concrete tools to help kids, teens and adults find inspiration and life-direction. The pictures, colors and activities are a burst of fun, inviting playfulness and personal exploration. This beautiful way-finder would be a great gift for college graduates trying to figure out next steps, for any child considering what s/he "wants to be when s/he grows up," or for any adult feeling stuck and uninspired. While this book is intended for kids, the theme resonates for people of all ages: it's never too late to find your way and chase your dreams!

For kids and adults.
Learn how to dream big or small now!

How the book was made​​

Over 4 years in development

Every page in the book has a game or activity that kids love doing. It took us many revisions to get here. Each page went through multiple rounds. First, we started with the concept. Each page had to advance our step-by-step process of teaching kids how to dream. Next, we designed a game that would put this concept into practice immediately. Of course, we had to write the words and draw the pictures. Then we tested each page, made revisions and tested them again and again

"Dream It!" book cover composition animation show 3 steps from fancy thumbnail to final cover.
An animation showing 3 steps from fancy thumbnail to final cover. Can you spot the differences? The final book cover is completely hand drawn even the words.

Tested in school classrooms!

Teachers agree: Activities align with the Common Core StandardsOur book is proven to work in the real world. We tested “Dream It!” in about a dozen different academic environments, including public schools, private schools, after-school programs like the YMCA, and non-profit organizations. If the teachers, facilitators, parents, or kids didn’t like or understand an activity we threw it out and started over.

We wrote so much material that if you count the deleted pages, we have a whole, completed book set aside. We don’t mean a rough draft; we mean a finished, illustrated, edited book, including entire chapters on planning and doing your dream. (Some of this stuff we are saving for a sequel.) And if you count all the pages that were rejected, we’ve written the equivalent of 5 books just to get this one awesome book. Hey! We’re not complaining; we’re just saying that we were dedicated to making a book that works!

Dream Workshop. Talking hat and taking a step of action on the magic carpet.
This classroom shares their dreams at the end of our first research study. The boy in the middle is wearing the talking hat. The students are actually standing on an illustration of a magic carpet in their books, and dreaming of where they might go. This page was one that got rejected, but it was one of the creative ways we were trying to get kids to interact with their book.

You should change the title of the book to: "Live the life YOU want to live if YOU put your mind to it!

Tested in 6 university studies!

Scientifically proven, evidence-based results

Update 2020-08: Big news!!! Dream It! Achieves a Research Publication Milestone​

We are thrilled to announce that our latest dream research study has been published in the peer-reviewed, scientific journal Child & Youth Care Forum. The paper, titled “Dream It! Preliminary Evidence for an Educational Tool to Increase Children’s Optimistic Thinking,” was written in collaboration with our research partners at the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Public Schools. Publishing the results of our study represented an opportunity to extend our work with our workbook, Dream It!, by contributing to the body of knowledge on optimistic thinking in children and the larger social-emotional literature.
Intervention results graph

Once again “Dream It!” has been proven to have a statistically significant increase in Optimistic Thinking and Grit (perseverance). And we also showed improvement in Growth Mindset and Hope.

More dreams

Better dreams

Dream It! also had a statistically significant increase in Dreaming (quantity and quality). By quality, we mean that be  the end of our study students recorded more aspirational dreams like, “Be a scientist,” rather than non-reality-based dreams, like “Go to Candyland.”


  • Fun and easy to implement
  • Students not only improved — they enjoyed the book and workshop!
  • Teachers responded positively. Not only did they report that the book was fun and easy to implement, but they also said that the school climate, as a whole, improved.
  • Results suggest that the “Dream It!” intervention is feasible in the real world and can be successfully integrated into classroom activities.
  • More about this study.
Thank you gift for the UC facilitators. "Thank you Ms Abby for teaching to love my dreams."

Highlights of our first year-long study*

We worked with the YMCA and local schools with students from 2nd-8th grade. The playbook had overwhelmingly positive feedback. The following year, the University of Cincinnati students continued this project in an independent study and the results were published in the Pennsylvania State University Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning & Community-Based Research.

22% improvement in children's optimistic thinking. (A big improvement!)
90% of kids looked forward to Dream It! Playbook sessions.​
97% of kids recommended the Dream It! Playbook.​
100% of kids reported thinking about their goals more often

The Dream It Playbook is proven statistically significantly to improve optimistic thinking, grit (perseverance), hope and a growth mindset. * More about this study.

Optimistic Thinking



Growth Mindset

Don't take our word for it.

Magination Press logo

Board Certified

“Dream it!” was also reviewed by a board of child psychologists at our publisher Magination Press an imprint of the American Psychological Association. 

SEL Providers Council logo

Official SEL Curriculum

We’re proud to be accepted as part of the Social-Emotional Learning Provider’s Council. It’s a small group of professionals with evidence-based resources that team up to bring learning, leadership and action. It’s overseen by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Thanks!

Great classroom reading! 

“Dream It!” has been selected by Reading Is Fundamental as part of their Social-Emotional Learning Collection. Pictured here is “Dream It!” on the table at the American Psychological Association annual conference. 

Reading Is Fundamental | Children's Literacy Non-Profit logo
A donkey dressed in a rainbow-colored unicorn costume complete with horn, wig and glitter.

Express yourself! 

Strike a pose and let the world know you’re excited to be yourself! “Dream It!” made the Children’s Book Council’s Express Yourself Showcase

PS. That’s a character from our book, the  Donkeycorn, a donkey dressed as a unicorn. It symbolizes how living your dream may be just be a state of mind.

Cincinnati Public Schools logo

SEL recommended curriculum

Dream It! is part of Cincinnati Public Schools social-emotional curriculum. 

Bailey OndricekChildren’s Book and Media Review
Read More
“Dream It! oozes empowerment with every page. Readers will leave this [book] feeling enabled and ready to communicate their goals with others.” Rated "Outstanding."
Tracie Baker, PhDOhio Psychological Association Review
Read More
This playbook starts by posing the questions, “Do you want to live the biggest, best life possible?" ... However, do not mistake this book as encouraging big fantasies that leave our youths’ heads in the clouds. The authors respect the readers’ intellect, with examples and anecdotes related to historical dreamers and inventors, and an introduction to a theory of dreams.
Chris LewisDad of Divas
Read More
My youngest daughter loves to have books that she can fill in and capture things about herself that will let her find out more about herself... The book also does a great job at motivating and inspiring and if your child is anything like mine, this book will bring hours of insightful fun! [Read the full review.]
Willow (Age 7)
Kids' Book Buzz
Read More
The thing I like about the book is that it’s pretty funny... Somebody who really wants a dream should read this book. They’ll have more dreams, and their dreams will come true. [Read the full review.]
Stephanie Filigno, PhD.Pediatric Psychologist
Read More
An AMAZING, fun and practical resource that both kids and adults will enjoy.
Amazon Customer Review
Read More
Dream It! is a great book for the whole Family! We enjoyed doing all the activities and discussion as a family!!!
Rachel Zoffness, PhDHealth & Pain Psychologist
Read More
The Dream It! workbook is brilliant, inspiring and delicious. It reminds one of Dr. Seuss' "Oh, The Places You'll Go!" in it's tone and playfulness, while also providing real, concrete tools to help kids, teens and adults find inspiration and life-direction. The pictures, colors and activities are a burst of fun, inviting playfulness and personal exploration. This beautiful way-finder would be a great gift for college graduates trying to figure out next steps, for any child considering what s/he "wants to be when s/he grows up," or for any adult feeling stuck and uninspired. While this book is intended for kids, the theme resonates for people of all ages: it's never too late to find your way and chase your dreams!

Children's Book and Media Review​​

Reviewed by Bailey Ondricek


Primary, Intermediate


BYU Scholars Archive Citation

Ondricek, Bailey (2019) “Dream It!: A Playbook to Spark Your Awesomeness,” Children’s Book and Media Review: Vol. 40 : Iss. 2 , Article 11.

Available at:

The bright-eyed and strainer-hatted child on the cover of this bright paperback is the perfect embodiment of this book’s ‘dream it, do it’ message. The book follows a logical structure, beginning with inspiration, brainstorming, and logging a personal bucket list, then proceeding through strategies to manage the emotional and practical demands of fulfilling dreams, and providing kids with the resources and support they’ll need in doing the imaginable. Whatever the child’s seemingly insurmountable task may be, from earning better grades to creating a new technology, they have the thinking space to document what their goals are and encouragement to keep going through all of the stages of completing a challenge.

Dream It! oozes empowerment with every page. Readers will leave this text feeling enabled and ready to communicate their goals with others. This text encourages children to build relationships with adults or other friends and to include them in whatever project they’re working on. Parents or other loving adults will enjoy supporting their kids through the thoughtful processes in this text; librarians, on the other hand, may find it an impractical text to keep spotless on their library shelves. Each of the eighty colorful matte pages of this text provide space for readers to brainstorm, answer questions, play games, and activate their imaginations as they think though their personal goals and find the resources to fulfill them. Using this playbook to its full measure will mean that readers need their own personal copy throughout which to doodle and note as they experiment with their thoughts and feelings.

Get Started Dreaming!​ Order now.

More ways to order

Visit our store for more ways to order, including:

  • Order at your favorite local bookstore or library.
  • Order on Amazon. This is a great option if you would like to leave a review and help the book find an audience.
  • Order on the APA website. Members get a discount. Teachers, healthcare professionals, and nonprofit organizations get discounts starting at 30% for 10 copies! Call the Magination Press and APA sales department at (800) 374-2721 ext 5510.
  • Order through your distributor, like Follett or Ingram.
  • Special Orders:
4.8 Stars on Amazon

Author: Scott Stoll, Sara E Williams.
Publisher: Magination Press.
Format: Paperback. 80 pages.
Age group:  8–12 and over.
Publication: First edition. © June 11, 2018.
ISBN-13: 978-1433827952.
Language: English. (Chinese coming soon.)

Coming Soon — Chinese Translation​

We are super excited to announce that “Dream It!: A Playbook to Spark Your Awesomeness” will be translated into Simplified Chinese by Hunan Education Publishing House Branch. 

Coming soon! "Dream it!" will be translated into Simplified Chinese