Rough & Tumble Play

IMG_2178 Smother Kevin_4071 Scuffle

Should kids do it?

I recently participated in creating a project for my Early Childhood Education class at the University of Regina. I worked together with two fellow classmates. We wanted to interview individuals (children and adults) and find out what their opinions and experiences of rough and tumble play are. The definition of rough and tumble play that were working off of was from Play Development and Early Education (Johnson, J., Christie, J. and Wardle, F. 2005) and is:

“In rough and tumble play the bodies of playmates and the actions of playmates become a focal object of play, and children pretend to hurt each other rather than engaging in real aggression. That is, rough and tumble play is play fighting, not actual fighting. This form of play aggression may involve physical movements such as mock wrestling, running, chasing/fleeing, kicking, pouncing, piling on, pushing, open-hand hitting, and poking, as well as loud noises.”

What do you think about rough and tumble play? Should rough and tumble play be something that children are allowed to participate in? Why do kids play like this? Is this a negative or positive kind of play?

5 responses to “Rough & Tumble Play

  • annaraskolnikoff

    I think that rough play is crucial for us to understand what is real aggression, where the boundary lies, what hurts people for real, how to apologize and be ready to take a blow from someone and know they didn’t mean it 🙂 that is my take, no idea if it has anything to do with reality…

  • cdavidson25

    Consider it to be one of the most primal and primitive forms of play. As we can’t look very far into the past for examples, why not take a look at the animal kingdom. You can often find animals domesticated and wild playing in such a manner at a young age. It teaches them life skills that they will need to rely on eventually. Although many humans (not all) have little need for these skills, it can be interpreted as a primal and instinctual self defense.

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