Special Interview: Dr. Brandy Schumann, Creator of the 2nd Most Important Toy in the Playroom… the “BoA” (AKA “Bobo”)

May 7, 2024

Dr. Schumann wanted to offer a discount to the Play Therapy Podcast audience. Use Promo Code “PTP10” for $10 off your Bag of Air purchase at https://bagofair.com/

Dr. Brandy Schumann Interview: The Story Behind the BoA “Bobo” and Child-Centered Play Therapy

In this special episode of the Play Therapy Podcast, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Brandy Schumann, founder of BoA (“Bag of Air”) and a pioneer in the field of child-centered play therapy. Brandy shared her fascinating journey, the story behind the iconic Bobo toy, and insights on the power of child-centered play therapy.

Discovering Child-Centered Play Therapy

Brandy’s path to child-centered play therapy began in third grade when she saw a movie scene of a counselor in a playroom with toys, working with a child who experienced trauma. This made a lasting impression on her. In college, Brandy finally realized this was play therapy after attending a presentation. Determined to pursue this field, she went to study under Dr. Garry Landreth at the University of North Texas, a leading figure in child-centered play therapy.

The Birth of the Bobo

While at UNT, Brandy kept getting calls from therapists trying to find Bobos, inflatable punching bags considered an essential toy for playrooms. Brandy’s father helped her find vendors to manufacture Bobos to fill this need in the field. Importantly, Bobos needed to be durable so children could “undo” aggressive play. The Bobo business, named “Brandy’s BoA,” was born out of a desire to provide this important tool to therapists.

Research on the Bobo

Dr. Landreth wanted Brandy to study the Bobo for her dissertation, but she felt it could be seen as biased. Instead, Kay Trotter researched the Bobo by analyzing children’s play therapy session notes. Surprisingly, the Bobo was used in many non-aggressive ways, with only 20% being aggressive play. This supported the argument that the Bobo allows for important self-expression and creativity beyond just aggression.

The Power of Child-Centered Play Therapy

For Brandy, child-centered play therapy resonated because she realized the most powerful moments in her own life were when she felt safe to express herself without judgment, as with her supportive father. She believes we already have beliefs about how people function, and our genuine beliefs will manifest in our counseling. The child-centered approach continues to demonstrate its power both for Brandy and her clients.

Advice for New Child-Centered Play Therapists

Brandy advises new play therapists to focus on being genuine rather than trying to imitate others. It’s crucial to do your own work to understand your issues so they don’t intrude on the therapeutic space. Remember, you are the most important “toy” in the playroom – focus on being fully present and engaged. Having the courage to be a client yourself fosters respect for the therapy process.


Many thanks to Brandy for sharing her story and wisdom! Her insights reinforce the power of child-centered play therapy to provide a safe space for children to express themselves. The Bobo remains an essential tool for this healing work. To get $10 off a Bobo, use coupon code PTP10 at bagofair.com. Feel free to reach out to Brandy through the website with any questions.

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  • Cochran, N., Nordling, W., & Cochran, J. (2010). Child-Centered Play Therapy (1st ed.). Wiley.
  • VanFleet, R., Sywulak, A. E., & Sniscak, C. C. (2010). Child-centered play therapy. Guilford Press.
  • Landreth, G. L. (2002). Play therapy: The art of the relationship (2nd ed.). Brunner-Routledge.
  • Bratton, S. C., Landreth, G. L., Kellam, T., & Blackard, S. R. (2006). Child parent relationship therapy (CPRT) treatment manual: A 10-session filial therapy model for training parents. Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.
  • Benedict, Helen. Themes in Play Therapy. Used with permission to Heartland Play Therapy Institute.
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