The Play Cycle is a way of observing children’s play. This paper based on a research study on playworkers understanding of the Play Cycle is the first empirical study on this play theory. Results show a variation in adults understanding of the six elements that make up the Play Cycle which has implications for professional practice for those who work with children in a play context. This includes teachers, early years practitioners and childcare workers. The paper concludes with revised definitions and explanation of the Play Cycle and offers a way of observing and mapping Play Cycles.