We all need playfulness. It adds quality to our life and makes us enjoy the activities we carry out. Try to imagine for a moment a life without play: no wandering around without reason, no laughing at jokes, no creation of art just for the sake of it, no games, no dancing and no books or movies.

Play is a biological need and children play naturally. However, somehow, somewhere down the road adults often lose their sense of play. Because it is ‘inappropriate’, because nobody plays, because they forgot how to or simply because they are embarrassed by carrying out that what they actually would love to do. And I challenge this tendency wholeheartedly. I would even like to go so far as to challenge you today to get to know the type of play that resonates with you and to take a first step in more consciously involving it in your life. Because I truly believe that people would be happier if they gave more space to their need and desire to play.

So what is play? Stuart Brown* says that play is “an absorbing, apparently purposeless activity that provides enjoyment and a suspension of self-consciousness and sense of time.” He also describes a number of play personality types. Everybody has aspects of different types, but generally people fit to one archetype most. I would like to name these shortly, because I believe that understanding what type of play resonates with you can help in more actively engaging in such play and fuelling that what you love to do, resulting in a richer life.

Play personality types:

The joker’s play revolves around some kind of nonsense; he makes other people laugh and enjoys practical jokes.  
The kinesthete likes to move and ‘needs to move in order to think’. 
The explorer provokes imagination by exploration, either physically, mentally or emotionally.
The competitor enjoys competitive games with specific rules and enjoys playing to win.
The director enjoys directing and executing scenes and events and they are born organizers.
The collector loves to hold the most, the best, the most interesting collection of objects or experiences.
The artist/creator finds joy in making things.
The storyteller uses imagination to create imaginative worlds.

Identifying your own type can be a way to achieve greater self-awareness and greater play in life. Perhaps you already have a strong feeling for what drives you, or you already play considerably on a day to day base. But if you would love to play more and are not sure how to go about it, I have a great assignment for you*:

Sit and remember (and visualize if possible) something you did in the past that gave you the sense of unfettered pleasure, of time suspended, of total involvement, of wanting to do this thing again and again. Remember how that made you feel? Remember and feel that emotion and hold on to it, because that is what’s going to save you. Search your memory for activities you loved to do and how it made you feel. Perhaps you enjoyed walking in the forrest, writing little stories, or making clothes for your doll. Your task will be to find activities that allow you to recreate that feeling.

What brought you joy as a child is a great starting point for understanding how to recreate similar emotions now in your present life.

And now I am curious, what is your play type? And what did you love to do as a child? What could you do now that would make you equally excited?

* Source: Brown, S., ‘Play – How it shapes the brain, opens the imagination and invigorates the soul’, Avery, 2009


  • Reply

    joyce matula welch

    February 9, 2012 at 21:56

    I am the artist/creator and the story teller. My favorite thing to do as a child, and I still do is swing on a swing with nice long chains. It feels like flying. Thanks for posting this it was very insightful and interesting.

    • Reply

      Magical Day Dream

      February 9, 2012 at 23:39

      It really does doesn’t it? They should have swings like that everywhere!

  • Reply


    February 9, 2012 at 22:12

    Wow, this is so interesting! I’m trying to think which one I am. The Kinesthete, The Explorer, The Artist/Creator and The Storyteller all fit me… hehe :D I wonder which I am the most…. Maybe The Storyteller…? I need to think about it more.
    I do a lot of playing in my everyday life and I really, really do believe it is important for all of us. Thank you for writing about this :)

    • Reply

      Magical Day Dream

      February 9, 2012 at 23:41

      Really interesting. I did ‘movement theatre’ for a while, and I remember the director; he was a real ‘kinesthete’. So fun how everyone has different strengths and desires.

  • Reply


    February 9, 2012 at 23:33

    I always have problems with identifying myself as a certain type of this an that… :/
    I think I am a little bit of different types. I think.
    I am… The explorer, the director, the creator and the storyteller. I think. :)

    And now I am curious… What is your type? The artist/creator? Are you also a little bit of explorer? :)

    • Reply

      Magical Day Dream

      February 9, 2012 at 23:37

      Well of course it is a generalisation; the book is more explicit about that but I wanted to keep it to the essential core. It also explains that you are never really ‘one type’. However, I think my main one is ‘the creator’. In the end I simply love to make things and create things for the sake of it. I also think I have some explorer&storyteller in me.

  • Reply


    February 10, 2012 at 03:50

    I am….

    The kinesthete
    The explorer
    The collector
    The storyteller
    &The artist/creator

    I’m a handful to be around :) but my kids love it!

    Great post!


    • Reply

      Magical Day Dream

      February 13, 2012 at 07:28

      That is a lot indeed! ;) I bet it means you can play all different types of games with them :)

  • Reply


    February 10, 2012 at 07:23

    I would say I am the artist/creator. All I did as a child was make things!

  • Reply


    February 10, 2012 at 11:31

    I remember learning this in a class somewhere, and talking about how important it is that adults make time for play as well–whether it be with their children, or their spouses … just, someone. I have always liked to make things, definitely, but I’m also a storyteller. My humor and my thoughts and laughter come from speculative ideas, from imagined dreams and impossible ridiculous.

    • Reply

      Magical Day Dream

      February 13, 2012 at 07:30

      That’s so awesome that you learned this in class! I never did, I am just interested in the subject, which is why I decided to read the book. I think it should be standard part of the curriculum!

  • Reply


    February 11, 2012 at 07:16

    Hey, I love your blog, and would be so humbled if you took the time to check out mine. I’m just getting started and I would greatly appreciate the help in spreading the word too.
    I also have another blog that is slightly older and I post, now mostly original poetry or how my day was, or scenes/chapters from play’s/books of my original work. I would appreciate your feedback on whether you my poetry/writing is any good.

    Book Review Blog:

    Personal/ Poetry Blog:

    Fond Regards,

  • Reply


    February 17, 2012 at 16:26

    My greetings from France! After visiting your blog, I could not leave without putting a comment.
    I congratulate you on your blog!
    Maybe I would have the opportunity to welcome you on mine too!
    My blog is in french, but on the right is the Google translator!
    good day

  • Reply

    nora chou

    February 19, 2012 at 00:59

    V. Interesting. – This coincides with my practical thesis project. – Great minds think alike! :p

    – Nora



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