8 Play Personalities and Why You Need to Find Yours

Manage stress by building play into your life.

Dr. Jenny King
6 min readMay 23, 2022
Photo by Cleyton Ewerton on Unsplash

The rainbow parachute. Just a big nylon circle with handles.

You remember it, right?

If it ever showed up in gym class or at a birthday party, you KNEW things would get fun. Whether you were lifting it up high then scurrying underneath, placing balls or bean bags in the center and popcorning them off, or just making waves by frantically lifting and lowering it, you would find yourself giddy with joy.

I recently watched my own kids play ‘Cat and Mouse’ with this classic toy at Field Day and found myself wishing I could join. I realized it had been decades since I played with one, but I felt warm and smiley upon seeing it.

That type of joyous, self-directed, collaborative play is hard to come by as an adult. We generally aren’t out here gathering with our friends and creating silly games that we get lost in for hours. Despite the research showing that doing so would likely make us feel good.

Really, really good, actually. For adults, social activities involving play can improve mood, sharpen cognitive skills, lower risk for health issues like dementia and stroke, and even help us live longer.

“The opposite of play is not…



Dr. Jenny King

Mother. Social Work Educator. Consultant. Writer. Unschooler. Trauma-Informed. @drjennyking