This is serious stuff

What is your play personality?

No one has only one play personality, but we do emphasize one more than others. So let’s go on a play discovery to find out which is you. It may be important to know for your partner and also for your kids. This is serious business.

From PLAY by Stuart Brown, M.D.


“A jokers play always revolves around some type of nonsense. This is the most basic and extreme player in history and we begin it by doing baby talk to make human’s laugh. There is nothing like that feeling of making another person laugh. Class clowns love this type of play personality to get attention or to create a distraction. Many jokers like to use this type of play to dissolve friction or make a moment lighter and happier. Think of your funniest comedian and their sense of play. A clown at a circus is a joker.


Kinesthetes are people who like to move. “They need to move in order to think.” This category includes athletes or people who need to move their bodies simply for fun. Many children kinesthetes need to move to think and their concentration is better when they are given the opportunity to move around at school. This doesn’t mean organized sports and competition is their play personality, this only means these types of players love and NEED to use their bodies in motion. They usually are the dancers, the swimmers, the walkers, the bike riders, the jump ropers, etc. You know them because moving makes them happy and content. Not to keep score, just to be alive. Most of these people will never chose to be librarians or computer nerds as a career. if they are cooped up they get irritable until they can move. In this book the “rough housing little boys often do,” is part of needing to move their bodies and studies now show children who show psychosis later in life are usually ones who did not get to use their bodies to move around when they needed to as younger children (pg. 94-96).


We all began our lives as explorers but some of us never loose the enthusiasm for it. Exploring can be physical–literally loving to see new places and learn new things. For others exploration may be an emotional search–discovery of the mind, a new feeling, a deepening of the familiar. The explorer may go on a mental exploration of new experiences with new subjects or points of view that they learn about through different forms of information.


Euphoria and fun for the competitor is playing to win a game. He is the “terminator.” She is the ” dominator.” The competitor loves the fight for number one and often will go through extremes to get that satisfaction of the win. If games and keeping score are your thing, this may be your dominant play personality. You can be a fan or a player to be a competitor. It can be social or solitary. Competitors make themselves known in social groups, where the fun comes from being the top  person in the group, or in business, in which money or perks serve to keep score. Some silently compete like the runner or counter of steps.


Directors enjoy planning and executing scenes and events. Though many are unconscious of their motives and style of operating, they love the power, even when they’re playing in the B-movie league. They are the born organizers. At their best they are the party givers, the great instigators of the excursions at the beach, they dynamic center of the social world. At worst they are the manipulators. All the worlds a stage, and the rest of us are only players in the director’s play game.


What good is the world without random objects. The thrill of the play for the collector is to have and to hold the most, the best, the most interesting collection of objects or experiences. One person… travels the world to see solar eclipses–which might seem like the action of an explorer, except that he has to see every single one and methodically collects evidence of each eclipse. Collectors may enjoy this as a solitary activity, or they may find it the focus of an intense social connection with others who have similar obsessions. Do not some people seek “likes” as collections for their social media posts?


For the artist/creator joy is found in making things. They may end of sharing their creations with the world or selling them to millions, or may never show anyone what they make. The point is to make something–to make something beautiful, functional, goofy, or rotten. The play is the process of making or creating. They may also enjoy how something works and could take apart something, try to invent something, decorate something, or experiment with different forms of art mediums of all kinds. These are the inventors and the people who use play to put themselves out there.


For the storyteller, the imagination is the key to the kingdom of play. Storytellers are, of course, novelists, playwrights, cartoonists, and screenwriters. They are poets, journal writers, movie watchers, novel readers who make themselves part of stories someone else writes or they write themselves. Performers of all sorts are storytellers, creating an imaginative world through dance, acting, magic tricks or lectures. Because their realm is imagination they can bring this form of play to almost any activity. In contrast to the competitor the storyteller’s main point of the game is to have an exciting match and not so much about the win. Even cooking macaroni and cheese can be transformed through imagination into a worldwide telecast celebrity cook-off.


“…there is no way to really understand play without also remembering the feeling of play. If we leave the emotion of play out of the science, it’s like throwing a dinner party and serving pictures of food. The guests can  understand all they care to about how the food looks and hear descriptions of how the food tastes, but until they put actual food in their mouths they won’t really appreciate what the meal is all about” (Brown, 2010, pg. 21).

Brown, S. (2010) Play. New York, NY: Penguin Group, Inc.

Go Play! It’s summertime…

sea sunset ocean playing

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