There are many forms of play and ways to engage in play. Dr. Stuart Brown has identified 8 play personalities based on neuroscience and natural behaviors observed in animal and human behaviors (Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, 2010). *Art by one of our UM colleague, Mya Gosling.*
Read below for a description of the eight play personalities. Which ones speak to you most?
(The link to the quiz is not available at this time.)
While most of us have a strong preference for certain types of play, most of us are a mix of a few of these play personalities. These include:
The Joker’s play revolves around silliness and making others laugh. Joker’s tend to be the “class clown” in school, and may engage in play through telling jokes, doing funny impersonations, or playing practical jokes.
Other ideas for play if you are a Joker at U of M:
The kinesthetes are people who play through movement. They experience pleasure in movement and feeling the result of physically pushing their bodies. While this category may include athletes, competition is not the main focus; the joy of engaging in the activity takes precedence. The Kinesthetete’s play might take the form of running, dancing, sports, yoga, swimming, hiking or walking.
Other ideas for play if you are a Kinesthete at U of M:
Join a student organization, such as the Dance Student Assembly, Running Club, Intermural sports teams and clubs. Also check out many offerings from Rec Sports including Out door adventures for adventure trips, MRock, classes, and Equipment rentals.
The explorer is enthusiastic about, and engages in play by exploring the world around them. The Explorer’s play can be physical (going to new places), emotional (search for a deepening of emotion through music, art or movement), or mental (researching a new area of interest or reading a book).
Other ideas for play if you are an Explorer at U of M:
- Try a new activity or restaurant
- Find the Fairy Doors around AA, Explore the Nichols arboretum, and get lost in the Stacks of Hatcher Graduate Library (and find your way out)
- Rent a Blue Bike or go on amazing trips through UM Outdoor Adventures
- Travel locally, nationally or internationally and meet other travelors through TravBuddy and Couch Surfing
The Competitor engages in play through competitive games with specific rules, and enjoys the thrill of winning. The games can be solitary, such as trying to beat his/her top score in a video game, or social, such as competing in a team sport. Competitor’s may also play through observing and being a fan of competitive sports.
Other ideas for play if you are a Competitor at U of M:
The Director engages in play through planning and executing events. They are the organizers of the social world, and may be the instigators of a weekend up North, or throwing a party. Director’s may be active in creating a facebook group, or organizing a meet-up.
Other ideas for play if you are a Director at U of M:
- Start a student organization
- Organize a Meetup group
- Organize a social event, a get together, or a Play Day event
The Collector plays through engaging in seeking and holding onto the most, best and most interesting collection of objects or experiences. They experience bliss in finding a new piece/experience, organizing or showing off their collection. The Collector may be interested in coins, purses, shoes, cars, or photographs (the possibilities are endless!)
Other ideas for play if you are a Collector at U of M:
- Check out a flea market
- Find a community of students with whom you can share passion through clubs and rganization, meetup, and facebook groups
The Artist/Creator plays through creating and making things. The Artist/Creator may engage in drawing, building or sculpting, painting, singing, knitting, gardening, woodworking, or any number of creative endeavors. The Artist/Creator may also take joy in fixing or making something work, like taking a part a broken item, cleaning and replacing parts, and putting it back together again.
Other ideas for play if you are an Artist/Creator at U of M:
- Play with ceramics, glass, and mixed media at the Ann Arbor Art Center
- Join a sustainable farm and grow your own plants through Planet Blue
- Build, Make, and Hack your own creations at All Hands Active and Maker Works
The Storyteller engages in play through adventure into the imagination. They may enjoy reading novels, writing, or watching movies and theater. Storytellers enjoy being immersed in a story, experiencing the thoughts and emotions of characters in the stories.
Other ideas for play if you are a Storyteller at U of M: