Rough-and-tumble play shapes many physical, social, emotional, and cognitive behaviors. Rough-and-tumble play helps children learn self-control, compassion, boundaries, and about their own abilities compared to other children.
• Chasing games exercise children’s bodies as well develop social skills. • Children independently problem-solve and self-correct in order to remain with the group activity. • Children learn how to adjust to change in the play scheme and assess how their playmates respond to those changes. • Children learn to show care and concern when a playmate falls and to express their thoughts to others in a game.
Differences between rough-and-tumble play and aggression
Children smile and laugh Children are willing participants, eagerly join in the play Children keep returning for more Stronger or older children may let opponent “win” Contact is relatively gentle Children alternate roles (i.e., chase and are chased) Lots of children can participate
Children frown, stare, cry, get red in the face One child usually dominates another Children separate after episode No self-handicapping Contact is hard and harsh No changing roles Usually involves just 2 children