The world is open for play!
“If you think about life without play-no humour, no flirtation, no movies, no games, no fantasy and, and, and. Try and imagine a culture or a life, adult or otherwise without play. And the thing that’s so unique about our species is that we’re really designed to play through our whole lifetime.”
- Dr Stuart Brown
When you think of playing, what comes to mind? It’s likely memories of your childhood come flooding back as you reflect on building sandcastles at the beach, playing ‘chasey’ at school or creating fictional storylines with teddies, toys or tractors.
The idea of playing seems to be synonymous with our carefree childhood days where we were afforded the luxury of not having to worry about “adult” things just yet, such as earning an income, doing our taxes or remembering to take the bins out. Essentially, the days before responsibility took hold of our lives and we did things without aim or result and instead purely for the joy.
The thing is, play is not something reserved for just our childhoods. It’s an essential ingredient in our lives and something we need to evolve as we grow older. It’s more about tapping into and fostering a playful spirit. But as adults, a lot of us have just simply forgotten how to be more playful…which is a result of how we may value play as a society. Simply remembering how we used to play can give us insight into our ‘play personality’ — the archetype that reveals the kind of play we might just be missing in our lives.
According to research by Dr. Stuart Brown, there are eight different types of play personalities and often we’ll resonate with more than one. Scanning through the below list, can you identify yours?
The Joker — enjoys playing practical jokes, joking with friends and getting a laugh. Think of this archetype as the class clown.
The Kinesthete — happiest when moving like walking, dancing, doing yoga or playing physical games. Likes physical activity but not necessarily the competitive kind.
The Explorer — they love visiting new places, meeting new people, experiencing new emotions and learning new things.
The Competitor — thrives in rules, playing to win and doing what it takes to be the best. Probably loves playing table tennis!
The Director — the organiser and person who loves to be in charge, planning and orchestrating exactly how things will go.
The Collector — they like to collect things, surprisingly! They’re the one that holds onto cherished items as a form of play.
The Artist/Creator — happiest when they’re making something — whether it’s sewing, drawing or making use of their green-thumb in the garden.
The Storyteller — those that love to unlock stories and tap into their imagination. Probably loves watching movies and reading books.
Some people want to try new things, while others like to tell jokes or stories, share their creativity, or do something active. Loved making up dance choreography and sitting your family down to watch? Embrace your inner Kinesthete and take a dance class. Enjoyed nothing more than wandering new streets? Indulge your inner Explorer and take a drive to a new suburb. By identifying and understanding our play-personalities, we can tap into the activities that can spark a little more play in our lives.
So, whatever your play personality, have a bit of fun with it. It’s playing after all!
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