Quiz Yourself: What Kind of Play Do You Enjoy?

Every Wednesday is Tip Day — or Quiz Day.
This Wednesday: Quiz: What’s your personality — for play?

As I’ve worked on the subjects of habits and happiness, the importance of play has becoming increasingly apparent to me. For a happy life, it’s not enough to have an absence of bad feelings — we also need sources of good feelings. And to master good habits, we need to feel re-charged and cared for — and nothing is more energizing than having fun. We must have treats! Play is a wonderful kind of treat.

For many adults, however, it’s surprisingly hard to know how to have more fun. If you don’t know what to do for fun, a good question to consider is: What did you do for fun when you were ten years old? Because that’s probably something you’d enjoy now, whether walking in the woods, playing with your dog, making things with your hands, taking pictures, playing basketball, or dancing around the living room. When I was ten years old, I spent hours copying my favorite quotations into “blank books” and illustrating the passages with pictures I cut from magazines. Exactly what I do on my blog!

Because of my interest in play, I read Stuart Brown’s Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul.

I was particularly struck by Brown’s analysis of the question, “What is your play personality?” He makes clear that these categories aren’t scientifically based, but a product of his years of observation.

Where do you fit in these eight personalities?

1. The Joker — makes people laugh, plays practical jokes.

2. The Kinesthete — loves to move, dance, swim, play sports.

3. The Explorer — goes to new places, meets new people, seeks out new experiences (physically or mentally).

4. The Competitor — loves all forms of competition, has fun keeping score.

5. The Director — enjoys planning and executing events and experiences, like throwing parties, organizing outings, and leading.

6. The Collector — loves the thrill of collecting, whether objects or experiences.

7. The Artist/Creator — finds joy in making things, fixing things, decorating, working with his or her hands.

8. The Storyteller — loves to use imagination to create and absorb stories, in novels, movies, plays, performances.

I wonder if there’s a #9 — what’s the right word for the person who loves to code? Or maybe that category is bigger, “The Builder,” for people who love to build, but not with their hands, as in #7, but virtually or on paper. Or maybe it’s more about solving puzzles, like the person who loves crosswords, Scrabble, puzzles. Hmmm…I don’t have this quite right…what is it?

What do you think? Does this accurately capture the different worlds of play?

I found it extremely helpful to see these categories, because it made clear some questions that have long mystified me. How is it possible that some people seem positively to enjoy planning big events? Why don’t I enjoy having a collection the way so many people do (though people have pointed out to me that I do have a collection: I’m an avid collector of quotations)? Why don’t I much like playing cards or board games?

I am #8 through and through, with only a bit of #7. How about you? I wonder if some people have strong appreciation for more than a few categories, or if I’m typical, with a strong inclination for a single category.

It’s interesting that his list seems to be more weighted to physical play, and contact with the external world, while my own forms of play are mostly inside my head. Is play more “play” when it takes you into contact with the outer world and other people? Maybe…which makes me wonder: where does a love of playing video games fit in?

Do you see yourself in this scheme? What do you do for play, and where does it fit in here? What would you add?

  • Meg Clare

    I would be the one who loves puzzles, scrabble, X-words, it seems to me that it could be called Problem Solving. I hated math till I got into higher grades and we did geometry and algebra, solving for X was great. Games of reading upside down, writing backwards. Mother never let me go to the library so books weren’t available to me, but I found ways to entertain my mind. Then it was discovered that I had a near genius IQ and needed more outlets for mental activity. She was not happy.

    • gretchenrubin

      Great name for it “Problem solving” play

    • danny

      Problem Solver/Coder belongs with Artist/Creator OR there is a broader category for all four of them. [thinking] With a little bit of imagination I think we might be able to agree that Creator might be the broader category for everything we are talking about. Seeing what you have and then using one’s mental powers in a creative way to transfer what you have to into something else speaks about the processes of problem solver, artist (fine, performing, programming, etc), builder, designer, etc…

      🙂 Just my two cents from someone who has not read Stuart Brown’s book (but I did take an undergraduate education class where play was a common theme…)

      • I agree with you on #7 also containing problem solvers.

        I am predominantly #7, but I never made the distinction between my artistic and logical problem solving side.
        I’ve done taking apart appliances, solving puzzles, drawing & painting, writing, creating jewelry, sewing, coding websites and programs, solving math problems… And to me it doesn’t seem different at all.

        I don’t believe in the right / left brain myth at all. (It’s been scientifically disproven anyway).
        In fact, I see so many possibilities of combining multiple creative disciplines to teach STEM. It’s already being done in schools like Waldorf, for example.

        A creator is a creator is a creator, whether they choose paintbrushes, metalworking tools, journal & pen, or a computer.
        And a lot of us switch tools during our lifetime, but we approach them from the same angle.

  • Lauren

    I would say that I’m a mix of 4 The Competitor and 7 The Artist/ Creator. I thought at first that those are at odds with each other, but thinking about it, they aren’t at all! Playing board games and video games are my favorite things to do with other people, while decorating and doing DIY projects are my favorite things to do alone. Maybe everybody has one of each type of ‘play’-solitary and group.

  • Cristina in England

    I’m an explorer, definitely. I don’t identify with any of the other categories. I like to go on walks, explore my own neighborhood, go to new places, and learn stuff. I am so happy that someone has described this, because I felt like I didn’t know how to have “fun” but it turns out that my own way of fun is just as good as movies/joke-telling/paintball.

    • Laura Miller

      Me too! I’m an exploer all the way! I LOVE learning new things. Once I know how things work, how to do it, or have a good understanding, I loose interest.

  • Gillian

    I have often wondered if there is something wrong with me because I don’t have fun in the things that seem to be fun for others. Your Secret of Adulthood “What’s fun for other people may not be fun for
    you – and vice versa.” really resonates with me.

    What did I love to do when I was 10 years old? Read books and do puzzles.

    I don’t connect strongly with the 8 types in the list but:

    #3 (Explorer) partially applies to me – mentally more than physically. I do enjoy exploring new places but being an introvert, it isn’t the people that attract me, it’s the place itself (which, of course, was often created by people). As a young child, when asked what I wanted for Christmas or a birthday, my usual answer was a “Bible story book”. It was decades later that it occurred to me that the appeal had nothing to do with religion but rather with the fact that the stories took place in a different time and a different country. Today, after not reading much through my adult working years, I have returned to the joy of books and ideas. I read mostly non-fiction – philosophy, economic/ecological sustainability, etc. For light relief, I love books such as “A Year in Provence” or Frances Mayes’ “Under the Tuscan Sun” – i.e. books about people who moved to another country and built a life there – like the Bible stories that took place in a different country.

    #7 (artist/creator) also partially applies in a very limited way. I have very little creativity but I have developed a little bit in retirement in working with a community group. My contribution is largely in the line of writing/organizing information but using the computer more than my hands.

    I think you are right – there needs to be another category – the Puzzle Solver. I loved doing puzzles as a child – especially logic puzzles. And I ended up working 40+ years in IT where I wrote software and did lots of trouble-shooting and data analysis to solve users’ problems or answer their questions. Today, I still do a bit of that for my community group and I still love doing crosswords (although I’m not very good at them) and sudokus (at which I am quite good).

    In summary, the things that are “fun” for me, tend to be rather serious in nature which doesn’t really fit the definition of “fun”. At least, not for most people. I tend to prefer the terms “pleasure” and “enjoyment”. My fun tends to be rather solitary, involving exploring ideas or solving puzzles. Things that others call fun usually turn me off. I love to laugh but I can’t abide silliness which most people seem to enjoy. As an introvert, I can enjoy a social gathering if it is an event with a focus or purpose and where the people are thoughtful and interesting.

    I always find the phrase “connect with your inner child” quite amusing because I don’t have an inner child in the sense it means. My inner child is not much different than the outward me.

    • Gillian

      P.S. – One of my “identities” is that I am a serious person who likes to laugh but hates silliness. I have no desire to change that.

  • phoenix1920

    Hooray for categories! But it feels like there needs to be an “Escape Artist” or something to describe those who turn to play to shut down their minds. Sometimes when I have had a particularly exhausting assignment, I have a distinct need for what I call “fluff”, be it the TV, a predictable book, gardening, or the like where my mind can turn on autopilot.

    By the same token, I think the converse can also exist for a type of play–those who seek to exercise a part of their mind. Like with scrabble or with German board games where you have to use strategy or Trivia.

    As for the above categories, I can see myself in four of the them completely (#3,6,7,& 8) and seem to cycle through them, depending on my mood.

  • Linda Maki

    My favourite ways of playing involve 7 and 8. Being creative in many ways is fun for me! I’m also an explorer, physically and mentally. That’s why your books are so wonderful for me, Gretchen. They further my quest to discover what makes people (including myself) tick!

  • Otto Von

    I’m totally #3, though I dip into other categories like #1 &#8. Give me a cool new location with interesting people and my camera and I’m as happy as can be. Great list and thanks for sharing.

  • penelope schmitt

    The image you chose for this post is ‘me to a T’ . . . that big box of crayons. When I was a kid a brand new box of ’64’ was the best thing ever, and later paintboxes and sketchbooks. Now my crayons are the hundreds of fabrics in my quilting stash. I also love to read and write, but making quilts does seem to be the number one activity for the past decade. I would say of myself, too, that I am never truly happy unless I am picking up some kind of creative ‘making’ work during the day.

  • Mimi Gregor

    I’m a combination of 7 and 8. When I was a kid, I enjoyed writing stories and drawing pictures to go with them… something I did again recently with fanfic. I enjoyed playing with dolls, but not baby dolls — I liked Barbies because of the outfits. And I enjoy fashion now, and am a creative dresser. I enjoyed recreating scenes from my favorite TV shows with my friends — Star Trek was a big favorite among us, and so was Gilligan’s Island. We would each take the part of a character and create our own scenarios. I guess you could say that is sort of what I did with fanfic, only with the written word rather than acting it out. But most of all, I’ve always loved reading. That is my first, and best, love of all my avocations.

  • Andi Becerra

    What a great list! I think I am primarily a #5 (with a #7 bent) and it’s nice to recognize my tendency to plan things (even things that will never happen) is a form of play. For instance, when I’m bored on an airplane, I plan dinner parties: guest list, decor, menu, everything. And I am often the one in my group of friends who plans get-togethers or outings. I get a lot of satisfaction from planning something to be efficient and go smoothly, even if it’s just something simple.

  • CArmel Mosquera

    I’m a mix of #2 ,i love to play sports though I hate dancing, hahaha, and #3 I love to see new places.

  • Karin

    Maybe coding is another form of collecting? When you read a book and find an idea relating to happiness for example, you write it down and group it around your other ideas. Maybe you also detect a new pattern, like you did step by step with your tendencies. Then you collect some more and a theory (= a new collection) emerges. Intellectual sorting and straightening out things like many collectors do?

  • Anna

    Very interesting, this one! I agree with other commenters that perhaps there should be a separate category for people enjoying solving puzzles – jigsaws, crosswords or any other type of untangling or problem solving. I’m also wondering whether ‘walking in the woods’ (I do that a lot!) is more out of a need to explore or a need to move…..could be both perhaps. But rating myself I would be mostly a #7, that is an easy one.

    • Gillian

      Walking in the woods can also be classified as a spiritual activity. Maybe that should be #10 – spiritual relaxation such as walking in nature, meditation, etc.

  • hg

    Thats a fascinating list. Especially your question, what did you enjoy doing when you were 10. I was always making things, which explains why I find doing a Diploma in Interior Design where I am creating sample boards and doing drawings ‘play’ now, and not work or a struggle!

  • Parisianrhym

    Hi all!
    I am definitely a #9 : The Builder or the “Sorter” as I like sorting stuff and organizing stuff in a logical way.
    This is to the extent of having puzzle solving as the only activity that actually manages to ease off my plane fear.
    I travel a lot (up to 3 times a week) by plane for my job, and am afraid of flying!
    I attended a course with an airline company to learn how to manage that, and it came back with “identify something you really like to do and that can retain your attention”. Puzzle solving, “candy crush like games” playing,
    By the way, thank you Gretchen for your inspiring ideas and books! I love what you do and you are of great help 🙂

  • Dianne Ochiltree

    This is a great list! It’s sobering to realize that as adults we have to make it a job to have fun. But totally agree with this fact of adult life. There might be a number 9: the thrill-seeker or maximum experiencer. In other words whether it’s a physical activity like a sport, or a vacation/day trip, or a business enterprise or personal self-improvement project…it’s only fun if this personality “goes BIG”. Someone who’s a sponge and finds fun soaking in every last bit of experience whatever they plan to do.

  • Catarina

    A lot of these resonate with me, except #4. Also, although I get a thrill from #5 now, it was definitely not my thing at age 10 🙂

  • Tani

    I think that the play you described as loving to build virtually or on paper – doing things like jigsaw puzzles or coding or word puzzles (maybe even Sudoku) – might be called something like “The Logically Creative.” They are building and solving some sort of non-physical structure, which seems somewhat logical focused. But it also has to be creative, to make up a code or see the larger picture within a bunch of cardboard cutouts. I guess you could also call them, “The Abstract Builder.”

    • I read through the list looking for my number I was disappointed.

      Coders make things too. This blog exists as pure code. Someone made it. Why do we get ignored this way simply because what we made does not exist as a physical thing but as organization of algorithms inside the human mind?

  • cruella

    I’m an Explorer, but also a Kinesthete and Storyteller. My favourite pastimes as a ten-year-old were reading and drawing. The drawing is completely gone, my crafty outlet nowadays is knitting and crocheting. I still read a lot as well as enjoy movies, TV series, plays… My body is in constant fight with my mind – which tends to win, it’s easier to stay on the couch reading than get into outdoor gear and be off for a couple of hours. But I’m a very physical person so I tend to get the outdoor play in as well.
    My exploring is very much an absorbing of athmosphere. I can never be bothered reading up on a place before I go there. I love walking around, drinking in what makes the everyday to people who live there, be it a busy smoggy city in China or a quite village in France.

  • Holly

    My Toastmasters presentation on Play was set tentatively for Monday and I was about to delay it and then your blog popped up! Its going to happen. Thanks you for the motivation! …I’m definitely an Explorer and Kinesthete. In my research I found a Play Personality list by U of M that included one or two other categories including Performer which seems to fit better than Creator for me.

  • I love your point that something is missing here regarding “play inside the head.” And thanks to commenter Gillian who reminded me of that Secret of Adulthood… I really need to hear that, being under 30 and usually having way more fun reading and writing than I do going out to bars with friends. 🙂 PLAY is so important – but we can define it on our own terms. I identified most with #1 and #5 on this list, with a little #8.

  • Christine

    Love this list! I am a #7 but in my head. I would “design” things in my head and my mom would sew them based on my direction (pillow covers, duvet covers, curtains, not clothing). (She was a much faster and neater sewer).
    One that may be missing… someone who just loves to socialize, chat or connect with people? I am not this person but can think back to my childhood and picture those people who just loved to talk to people, as well as listen to others. Back in the day it was the person that spent hours talking on the phone.

    • Julie

      I agree. That would make a good addition. Connecting with people, chatting….

  • Linda Charlton

    I have been struggling with a feeling of lack of fun in my life for many years. Now I realize my fun is in my hobbies. I have always enjoyed decoration and refinishing furniture and take pleasure in the process as well as the result. Reading s my #1 hobby and greatest pleasure. But I used to love hosting small gatherings. This pleasure has been lost though since my husband doesn’t care for it.

  • Cathryn

    I am surprised that no-one seems to have mentioned music, which doesn’t really seem to fit into any of your categories either. I always loved to sing as a child. I played the recorder. I tried to learn the piano but didn’t get very far. Throughout my life, I have always belonged to choirs and, in the last ten years or so, have taken up playing the recorder and saxophone, which I play in several different groups and bands. I go on residential courses for playing saxophone ensembles. This is a hobby that needs a lot of homework, particularly taking up an instrument at an older age. You need to dedicate a lot of time to practising the instrument and to learning music for both singing and instruments. It is often hard to fit this in and I can also resent having to practise when I have other things I want to do but I keep on with it, as I am an Upholder! I have met so many people through my hobby and am still in touch with people I met in church choir as a teenager. There is always something going on.

    • gretchenrubin

      What a great addition!

  • Anna

    A lot of what I enjoy has to do with enjoying nature – bird-watching, walking in the forest, etc. His categories don’t seem to have a place for that. To me it’s quite different from exploring and seeing new places; I go to the same bird-watching pond four or five times a week and still love it every time.

    • gretchenrubin

      Excellent addition.

  • A perfect question because I just did a “Wheel of Life” where you rate how you are doing in several categories and my “FUN” category was sadly lacking! Here’s a GREAT TedTalk about play: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9u9jzMYJKQ

    I’m such a mix – clearly a 1 without the practical jokes, a 2 without the sports, plus 3, 7, 8, and the new problem solver. Love the idea and plan to definitely PLAY more! (The TedTalk is pretty pushy of such things – and VERY funny, too!)

  • This is very interesting! I am a #5) Director all the way. Most of the stuff that I do for fun, I’ve realized, I get the most pleasure of planning it out beforehand. Even something like an afternoon hike, or a picnic with my husband…..I get a lot of joy of planning everything out and directing others through the motions of the activity.

  • I identify strongly with many of the categories! I would say I’m strongest in Explorer and Director, and also large aspects of Collector and Artist/Creator. Storyteller as well, especially given how much I love to read.

    I think most groups of friends need a Director amongst them if they want to stay together over the years as lives change and become busier. I’m the Director in most of my groups of friends, and my love and dedication of planning our activities is the glue keeping us together all these years! I quit my job in 2014 to travel and was gone most of the year, and when I returned found out that some of my friend groups who live in the same city didn’t get together during that time, no one was organizing plans!

    I very much agree with you that it’s important to figure out how you like to play. Like you, I also realized that I don’t like games that much! There are a few I really enjoy, but for the most part I’m not into games. Realizing this and giving myself permission to not feel like I had to enjoy them was liberating.

  • Joanne

    I’m definitely #7 and I like to play games on my iPad, mostly puzzle games. I love your books and I’m looking forward to the new one!

  • Lena

    A TEDx talk on play given by my friend Howard:

    A special technique for our health & wellness | Dr. Howard Chen | TEDxReno
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjFX2YiWnGg

  • This idea of play personalities is fascinating!
    (Appeals to my sense of analyzing and categorizing ! 🙂 )

    I have a lot of comments:
    1. THE JOKER
    I would split “The Joker”: perhaps Practical Joker vs. Verbal Joker? Some people (my late husband) loved to make people laugh and was very good at doing so, but practical jokes were the furthest thing from his mind. He would make off-the-cuff funny remarks, usually at his own expense. People would laugh and feel in a warm, safe place.
    In fact, perhaps the split is not between Practical vs. Verbal joking, but who’s the butt of the joke. A lot of guys, it seems, like to show friendship by poking (more or less gentle) fun at each other.
    But the joking my husband did was inclusive (the butt of the joke was himself, or Everyman), and it drew people in and lowered their protective shields rather than raising them.

    So we have the Joker-vs.-Companions (he laughs at other people’s expense) and the Joker-with-Companions. (Not very good terminology; I’m sure someone else could improve on this…)

    3. THE EXPLORER
    I would split this category, too. It seems there’s one heck of a difference between the mountain-climbing, deep sea diver, etc., people (guys) who adore the adrenaline rush and can hardly live without it – vs. the connectors, the people-oriented people who love to meet new folks and see what they’re like and hear what they have to say. (Not much of an adrenaline rush here – more a sympathetic curiosity.)

    4. THE COMPETITOR
    It’s interesting how #2, the Kinesthete, and #4, the Competitor, interact. Some Kinesthetes thrive on competition – they love their sport and also love to compete and win. Other Kinesthetes (like myself), adore their sport/activity for the sheer joy of the movement. I adore dancing but don’t like dance competitions, would rather give an exhibition or just plain do it whether anyone is watching or not. I enjoyed playing tennis but actually have always preferred just the knocking the ball back and forth over the net – doing one’s absolute best but with nobody keeping score. (Keeping score takes a lot of the joy out of it, for me.)

    5. THE DIRECTOR
    How fitting that this is recognized as a category. Most of my life, I have been amazed that some people actually enjoy planning parties and so forth! For me, it’s nerve-wracking and agonizingly hard work. Euuw, take it away!

    6. THE COLLECTOR
    Again, my view is that this category combines two very disparate forms of play. Collecting things is a quiet, often solitary, activity. It often appeals to introverts who don’t like surprises; they want order and tidiness and completeness.
    “Collecting experiences”, on the other hand, seems to me to appeal to a much more outgoing type of personality, one that likes freshness and newness of experiences, and the unpredictability of what is to come.

    7. THE ARTIST/CREATOR
    Yes, yes. I would just be sure to add “cooking” to the list of “making things, fixing things, decorating, working with his or her hands” – since it is both working with one’s hands and making something at the same time. And quite often what is created is artistic as well as edible!

    8. THE STORY-TELLER
    Hmm, are there perhaps two categories here as well? Let’s consider the dancer vs. the connoisseur of dance. The dancer might love his/her art for the freedom of movement through space and the physicality of the dance (the joy of mastery of a group of physical skills). But the appreciative aficionado might love the performance for the drama of the story and also the aesthetics of the dancer’s line and pose. One is a physical pleasure; the other aesthetic.

    (But of course, there’s overlap. I could be talked out of this split.)

    9. THE PUZZLER-SOLVER
    I do agree with you, Gretchen, and with so many of your followers, that this is definitely another category. What fascination and joy these activities bring to some of us (like me)! In fact, I tend not to indulge in puzzle-solving very often, because for me it is so much fun that it is totally addictive; when the time comes to stop and put it away, I can’t – I continue doing it and make a wreck of my schedule. Oh, dear. So these, for me, are dangerous, almost illicit joys – crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, sudoku, 3-dimensional puzzles (Chinese boxes; metal rings that interlock, etc.). Among my favorite toys as a child was the big hollow ball that accepted different shapes that could be pushed through the various openings in it. I also adored a small wooden bench with round holes that accepted wooden pegs: you banged the pegs down with a wooden hammer, and then flipped the bench over and did it again on the other side. OK, it’s not actually a puzzle, but it appealed (and still appeals!) to me in exactly the same way, I think, as putting the right shape through the right hole. Banging the round peg through the round hole gives me the same feeling of satisfaction as fitting two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together. (It’s so fulfilling! Which absolutely makes me laugh at myself, it’s so crazy, to feel fulfilled by fitting two pieces of something together!!)

  • Sarah Hendricks

    I love this list! I see myself as a combination of 7 and 8. My two great loves as a child were drawing and reading, and I definitely still love reading, but I’ve transitioned more into coding and building things for computers. I’ve always seen coding as a language, so perhaps that’s why I find myself with several coding tutorials open daily!

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  • Freda

    What happens if your play becomes your work, and is no longer ‘play’? I’ve done this more than once in my life and find it hard to ‘play’…..

  • Shannon

    many of the things you mentioned -esp video games etc I think fall under the competitor. THe challenge to beat the game , get a high score, finish the puzzle etc. Some people who play video games could also be explorers – new places and experiences even if they are virtual. I am explorer, competitor and creator – but I have some collections too.

  • NIL

    How about “Problem Solver” for #9? This would include coding and puzzles as well as tinkering with cars and building and designing new physical objects.

  • Lindsey Gerstlauer

    I fall under #7, The Artist/Creator! And maybe a little of #6 as well. I love making photos/documenting & sometimes I collect artwork.

  • Elaine Whyley

    I’m all of them…some more than others admittedly… but there isn’t just one that stands out above the rest….what does that say about me!!!!! 🙂

  • Cindy

    I agree that you need a ninth category. I do not fit neatly into the any of the other 8. What is fun for me is reading, learning, researching anything that I am curious about, and most of all solving puzzles. In my downtime, I enjoy building a jigsaw puzzle, decoding a cryptogram, playing candy crush online, etc. But I also like solving people problems or more accurately helping people think about solving their own problems. I suppose it is the excitement of finding the missing piece to the problem, which often comes to me intuitively, that feels enjoyable to me. Other people seem to find activities that use intuition very frustrating or a waste of time. But for me, everyday life offers opportunities to solve a puzzling problem.

  • Divya

    I’m the Explorer in a very tactile sense. I love going to thrift stores because its like a museum where you get to touch
    everything!

  • Kayla

    I’m an 8 with some 7 as well. The 8 is more important to me, but sometimes I use 7 to accomplish 8, if that makes sense. 🙂

  • Sara Smith

    I teach pre-k, and in the education field being skilled at puzzles is called having a keen sense of “spacial awareness”. These children enjoy connecting the challenge and mental skill of putting shapes together along with the physical nature of using their hands to build. These children also really tend to enjoy building block structures. In the education field, spacial awareness is identified as one of the “multiple intelligences” a person may have. When I read the comment about puzzles I thought of this.

    • Amanda Francis

      Possibly! But it also goes beyond special awareness, right? Because it’s not just physical puzzles but logical ones as well. I love solving riddles and clues. I love solving crossword puzzles and cryptograms.

  • Sara Smith

    Here is a website describing Gardner’s idea of Multiple Intelligences: http://www.tecweb.org/styles/gardner.html , it is fascinating information and allows us to know ourselves and how our students learn. This is how he describes spacial awareness: Visual-Spatial – think in terms of physical space, as do architects and sailors. Very aware of their environments. They like to draw, do jigsaw puzzles, read maps, daydream. They can be taught through drawings, verbal and physical imagery. Tools include models, graphics, charts, photographs, drawings, 3-D modeling, video, videoconferencing, television, multimedia, texts with pictures/charts/graphs.

  • Amanda Francis

    I love, love, love games. It isn’t that I care about keeping score because I truly don’t care if I win or not, I just want a good game. Perhaps I would be the ninth type because I also enjoy puzzles, logic problems and solving things.

    I’m strongly in the 8th category as well. Plays, movies, books, improv, etc. whether creating or experiencing.

  • KCDebi

    I see little bits of myself in 2, 3, 5 & 7; although I may be adding a bit to the description of #5. I’m wondering if organizing would fall under The Director — It seems to me that it would. I don’t like to plan big parties, but I do enjoy smaller bits of organizing and planning.

  • Eliza

    My favourite type of play is your number 9 and as described by Tani. Nothing gets me out of bed quicker than “having” to write my to do list, or shopping list, or things I want in my new house. And I love what Gillian says below. I am so with you!

  • may

    First, thank you. I can recall being 10, my favorite things to do were reading books (an escape), drawing, building (lego) and solving (puzzles). 20 years later, I enjoy reading, doing ken ken, sudoku, playing words with friends or even playing scrabble, while I also enjoy cooking (building/creating) and still like to do a puzzle once in a while. I also most recently rediscover my like for drawing. Interestingly enough, I must admit, I think I am a little guilty as I tend to feel I don’t really have time to do such activities. Perhaps, I feel time crunched. However, I think we should all make the time to play as a means to be happier.

  • Marie-Claire Ording

    Funny, I just wrote in my journal that I didn’t have enough play time in my life– that list will help me plan for some in the Explorer category!

  • Deanna

    I would possibly add a category: The Connector. There is no greater play for me than to simply sit and talk with someone–hearing their thoughts, sharing mine–knowing them better. Finding ways to build close relationships through notes or serving them, or talking, hiking, driving, working with them. This is my happiest thing ever!

  • Bridgett Mahoney

    Oh my gosh, so hard… My best friend sees a lot of Explorer in me when I am not extremely ill (like now). I never saw myself that way, but I definitely love learning, making friends, trying new things (within my real of interests, of course), and I dream about traveling the world when healthier and I can save money. I also have a lot of aspects of Artist/Creator (I am an autistic art savant — started serious drawing all day at 15 months old). But that seems just part of my nature — not play. Interior decorating, though, can be play. Likewise, I can be a Collector, but usually it comes out more when I am depressed and distracting myself. I also definitely see myself as sometimes Storyteller, because I write a ton — sometimes hypergraphia, imagine moves and television and books continued in my head or with me in them. I try to create my own magical world, focused on the beauty and folklore of life.

  • Shannon Cyrkin Payne

    I’m definitely a mix, but with an emphasis on 5, 6, and 7. I’d say that The Director is one of my biggest playtime joys. I love planning dates and outings that are well-loved and enjoyed by others, but I will say that one of my biggest faults is being hurt or offended when people I’ve ‘directed’ don’t have the kind of fun that I want them to have and/or when unpredictable things go wrong.