The 8 Play Personalities: How Did God Design You to Play?

The 8 Play Personalities: How Did God Design You to Play? May 25, 2024

God designed us to enjoy play in 8 unique ways. | Photo by Gustavo Fring on

We all need play, no matter how old we are. Play is beneficial to our mental health, physical health, our relationships, and our joy. As Christian parents, play can also be important in modeling the abundant life with Christ to our children. 

For play to be most beneficial, it doesn’t matter what you do as much as how you feel. Any activity that you do by choice, without purpose, and enjoy can be play. God designed us each uniquely, which mean we don’t all play the same.

So, how do you like to play?

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What’s A Play Personality?

Just as God designed you with unique gifts and talents, He also designed you with distinct ways that you experience joy and His goodness.

In his book, Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, Dr. Stuart Brown describes eight distinct play personalities. These are eight ways that people of all ages tend to play. 

When you read through the descriptions, you will typically identify with one the most strongly and then have one or two others that also feel appropriate for you.

The Eight Play Personalities

Below are Dr. Stuart Brown’s eight play personalities. As you read through these personalities, try to identify yourself, your spouse, and your children. 


Explorers love to learn and discover new things. They may play through reading, travel, museums, and learning. It might look like learning through podcasts, dabbling in new hobbies, or enjoying deep conversation with a new friend over coffee.


Jokers love to laugh and make others giggle, too. Play for them could look like practical jokes, being a class clown, or even watching comedies. 


Kinesthetes love to move their body, simply for the joy of moving their bodies. It could be through running, yoga, swimming, dancing, or sports. With sports it isn’t about winning or losing but just getting to use their bodies.


Competitors can find joy in making almost anything a competition. Sports, board games, or chores can bring about playfulness when there is an element of competitiveness. 


Collectors not only enjoy collecting, but caring for and sharing their collections. You might not be a collector if those 50-pairs of shoes are just tossed in the closet, but it is a definite possibility if those same 50-pair are displayed with pride in your closet.


Storytellers can play through a variety of media. Writing, movies, songs, photography, and their voices are all vehicles that storytellers might use to take others on a journey from one place to another. Their joy is in sharing stories.


Directors experience joy and play by bringing their visions to life. These visions may be for parties, movies, or events. With kids, it might even be in their pretend play and come across as a bit bossy. If you love to declutter and organize a space, that might be because you are a director.


Artist/Creators do not just play with paint and clay, but they do love to create something new. Some draw, sculpt, or play music. They could also play by designing, building, inventing, or problem-solving. 

Using Your Family’s Play Personalities

Have you identified how you like to play? What about your spouse and children?

If you have, now the fun begins. Be intentional to spend some time each week playing in ways that bring you joy!

Once you have your play built into your life, spend some time as a family doing each member’s play. Play is important for relationships and when we join someone in their play they can feel loved, seen, and known. 

Come back next week to see how we can use these play personalities to connect with God.

About Joy Wendling, MA
Enthusiastic. Passionate. Profound. Joy Wendling is a family pastor, writer, speaker, podcaster, certified parent coach, and founder of Created to Play. She has over 20 years of experience in children, youth, and family ministry, as well as a Master’s in Youth, Family, and Culture from Fuller Theological Seminary. She also is certified in Connected Families Parent Coaching and Parenting for Faith. Her idea of relaxing is gazing at the mountains from her island home with an ice-cold Diet Coke and a good book. Joy lives in the Pacific Northwest and enjoys laughing and playing with her five daughters and husband. Get to know her better at and on her podcast titled Playfully Faithful Parenting. You can read more about the author here.

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