The 8 Play Personalities and how grown ups can have fun, too

By Mara Gordon, Play to Learn Facilitator

Did you know that play is beneficial for all ages, not just for young learners? You are never too old to have fun and play!

Often, it is easy to get caught up in the daily routine & responsibilities of life and to stop having fun. Many adults struggle to find ways to play or schedule a time to get into the “play state.”

Dr. Stuart Brown, researcher and founder of The National Institute for Play, defines the “play state” as a “state of mind that one has when absorbed in an activity that provides enjoyment and a suspension of sense of time.” It is important to carve out some time in your life to achieve that play state and forget about all those commitments.

Play brings joy to life, relieves stress, helps stimulate brain activity, and connects you to others & the world around you. Dr. Brown has identified eight “play personalities” that can help you find out what kinds of play work best for you:

The Collector: You enjoy building collections, such as collecting stamps or vintage cars.

The Competitor: You enjoy playing (and winning) games with specific rules, like playing for a neighborhood soccer league.

The Creator or Artist: You find joy in making things, or making things work. You might enjoy doodling, woodworking, decorating, fixing machinery, or sewing.

The Director: You enjoy planning and directing, like hosting themed birthday parties.

The Explorer: You play by discovering something new; either physically (a new place) or mentally. You might play by going on a vacation to a new place or discovering a new type of music.

The Joker: You enjoy being silly and foolish. You might enjoy improv theatre or simply making your friends laugh.

The Kinesthete: You enjoy moving your body as play. You might practice yoga or take a dance class for fun.

The Storyteller: You play by listening to or creating stories. You might enjoy going to the theater or writing in a journal.

As you grow up and stop having structured playtime built into your schedule, it is essential to figure out what kind of play personality you have and find activities that are challenging and enjoyable.

Remember: if it’s not enjoyable, then it’s not play!

There are so many types of play that work with different play personalities, but sometimes it’s good to go back to what made you happiest as a child and then work from there. Or try joining your child in their play state to strengthen your bond together & build some great memories.

Explore & More encourages play for all age groups, including adults! On February 16, we are hosting Total Eclipse of the Heart: Grown Up Night of Play, a 21+ evening event to celebrate Valentine’s Day, learn about the upcoming solar eclipse, and play in the museum!

Source: Brown S, et al. (2009). Play: How it shapes the brain, opens the imagination, and invigorates the soul

Field trips are back! Please be aware that it will be busier than usual. | Explore & More will be closed on Sunday, June 16.