- Play is free and voluntary. Play is never forced on a person. It is extremely important that we participate in play of our own free will, though we need to also remember the part of the straight-man, who does not participate in play, but still serves a vital role.
- Play is not ordinary. It is something separate from a normal or "real" state of being. Importantly, this does not mean that it is in any way inferior to being "serious". In fact, Huizinga shows that play often is extremely serious.
- Play is limited and secluded. It is separated out temporally and locativly and often does not last long or exceed a defined space. States of play will invariably come to an end, exiting their time and the space they are in. There is a certain moment in which play always stops, but it is always remembered. This is a strange thing about play: it is treasured, and thus becomes repeatable, and higher forms of play show this repetition often.
- Play is constrained by rules, and proceeds in an orderly manner. These rules may be broken, and the treason is often quickly forgotten. The parent who scolds a playing child, though, will not be quickly forgotten, for they break the world of play wide open, destroying it. Huizinga calls these people "spoil-sports", and insists that they are often dealt with harshly.
Definition of terms: always so darned important. Sometimes, I forget that people don't understand things the way I do.