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Definition

Rough and tumble is often classified as a particular type of physical play, which involves play fighting. It includes tickling, rolling around, horse play, and is always social and mutually consensual. It almost always takes place with a parent, sibling or other close relative (but can be with a pet). Rough and tumble is based on emotional intimacy and usually accompanied by laughter and giggling.

Archer, C. et al. (2015) Measuring the Quality of Movement-Play in Early Childhood Education Settings: Linking Movement-Play and Neuroscience (Journal Article)

Abstract:

This article explores the links between neuroscience research, movement, and neurological dysfunction in relation to young children's learning and development. While policymakers have recognised the importance of early development the role of movement has been overlooked. A small scale study was undertaken in four early years settings in a London Borough in order to investigate whether an intervention resulted in improved movement experiences for children. This is the first study to assess the quality of movement-play using a newly developed measuring scale. Results showed that an intervention does result in improved movement experiences for young children. Consistently enhanced results were found in relation to the vital role of the adult at the two intervention settings. For Vygotsky the adult role is critical to the quality of play and learning for the child (Siraj-Blatchford 2009). There is scope for a larger scale piece of research spread across different sectors in order to further test the validity and reliability of the scale.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2015
Volume:
23
Page/s:
21-42
Synonyms:
  • Physical play
  • Play assessment
  • Rough and tumble
  • Teacher/caregiver play

Foundation, . (2015) What is Play? Play experts revealing their secrets... (Film)

Abstract:

Adults talk a lot about play, pretending they know what it is and what it's good for. We have asked a couple of real experts about what it is and what it feels…

What is Play? Play experts revealing their secrets... from LEGO Foundation on Vimeo.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2015
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Object play
  • Physical play
  • Rough and tumble
  • Semiotic play
  • Symbolic play
  • Construction play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

George, J. et al. (2017) Measurement of father-child rough-and-tumble play and its relations to child behaviour: Measurement of rough-and-tumble play (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Although there is increasing evidence of paternal influence on child outcomes such as language and cognition, researchers are not yet clear on the features of father–child play that are most valuable in terms of child development. Physical play such as rough and tumble play (RTP) is a favored type of father–child play in Western societies that has been linked to children’s socioemotional competence. It is important, therefore, to determine the implications of this play for child development. In this review and meta-analysis, associations between father–child physical play and child behavior were examined. The review also focused on study methods. Sixteen studies are reviewed, N = 1,521 father–child dyads, 35% boys. Study characteristics such as definitions of physical play, play settings, play measures, and coding were examined. The meta-analysis found weak to moderate population effects for links between father–child physical play and child aggression, social competence, emotional skills, and self-regulation. Research investigating the effect of father–child physical play on children’s development will be improved when definitions clearly identify the nature of play, settings facilitate boisterous play, and measures include frequency and quality of play interactions. This play shows promise as an enhancer of positive father–child relationships and a catalyst for child development.

Date:
January 2017
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
38
Page/s:
709-725
Synonyms:
  • Mental health
  • Parent/Guardian play
  • Rough and tumble
Research discipline:

Nathan, P. et al. (2010) The Oxford Handbook of the Development of Play (Book)

Abstract:

The role of play in human development has long been the subject of controversy. Despite being championed by many of the foremost scholars of the twentieth century, play has been dogged by underrepresentation and marginalization in literature across the scientific disciplines. The Oxford Handbook of the Development of Play attempts to examine the development of children’s play through a rigorous and multidisciplinary approach. This book aims to reset the landscape of developmental science and makes a compelling case for the benefits of play.

Date:
January 2010
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Atypical development
  • Cultural context
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Games with rules
  • Object play
  • Parent/Guardian play
  • Peers play
  • Physical play
  • Play assessment
  • Play with Mother
  • Pretend play
  • Rough and tumble
  • Social play
  • Social-emotional

Panksepp, J. et al. (1984) The psychobiology of play: Theoretical and methodological perspectives (Journal Article)

Abstract:

The social play of pairs of juvenile rats can be brought under tight experimental control using social deprivation, and it can be objectively quantified by measurement of pinning behavior. Research and conceptual issues concerning this paired-encounter procedure are summarized, including issues related to (1) measurement, (2) gender differences (and the absence thereof), (3) relations between play and aggression, (4) the regulatory processes interacting with and underlying play, (5) the neurochemical and neuroanatomical substrates of play, (6) the functions of play in dominance and other adult behaviors. Existing results suggest the operation of a harmoniously operating brain process which generates a unique emotive brain process that is appropriately referred to as social play. Although the concept of play remains to be adequately defined, the position is advocated that rigorous psychobiological analysis will ultimately provide an empirical definition based upon neural circuit characteristics. Analysis of the underlying circuits may help reveal the manner in which more complex levels of behavioral competence arise ontogenetically, and work in the area may yield clues to the genesis of several psychopathologies.

Date:
January 1984
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
8
Page/s:
465-492
Synonyms:
  • Affective behaviour
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
  • Physical play
  • Rough and tumble
  • Social play
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Panksepp, J. et al. (2003) Modeling ADHD-type arousal with unilateral frontal cortex damage in rats and beneficial effects of play therapy (Journal Article)

Abstract:
Date:
January 2003
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
52
Page/s:
97-105
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
  • Physical play
  • Rough and tumble
  • Social play
  • Executive function
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Panksepp, J. et al. (2003) “Laughing” rats and the evolutionary antecedents of human joy? (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Paul MacLean's concept of epistemics—the neuroscientific study of subjective experience—requires animal brain research that can be related to predictions concerning the internal experiences of humans. Especially robust relationships come from studies of the emotional/affective processes that arise from subcortical brain systems shared by all mammals. Recent affective neuroscience research has yielded the discovery of play- and tickle-induced ultrasonic vocalization patterns (∼50-kHz chirps) in rats may have more than a passing resemblance to primitive human laughter. In this paper, we summarize a dozen reasons for the working hypothesis that such rat vocalizations reflect a type of positive affect that may have evolutionary relations to the joyfulness of human childhood laughter commonly accompanying social play. The neurobiological nature of human laughter is discussed, and the relevance of such ludic processes for understanding clinical disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD), addictive urges and mood imbalances are discussed.

Date:
January 2003
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
79
Page/s:
533-547
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Humour
  • Physical play
  • Rough and tumble
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Panksepp, J. et al. (2014) Preclinical Modeling of Primal Emotional Affects (SEEKING, PANIC and PLAY): Gateways to the Development of New Treatments for Depression (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Mammalian brains contain at least 7 primal emotional sys- tems – SEEKING, RAGE, FEAR, LUST, CARE, PANIC and PLAY (capitalization reflects a proposed primary-process terminol- ogy, to minimize semantic confusions and mereological falla- cies). These systems help organisms feel affectively balanced (e.g. euthymic) and unbalanced (e.g. depressive, irritable, manic), providing novel insights for understanding human psychopathologies. Three systems are especially important for understanding depression: The separation distress (PAN- IC) system mediates the psychic pain of separation distress (i.e. excessive sadness and grief), which can be counteracted by minimizing PANIC arousals (as with low-dose opioids). De- pressive dysphoria also arises from reduced brain reward- seeking and related play urges (namely diminished enthusi- asm (SEEKING) and joyful exuberance (PLAY) which promote sustained amotivational states). We describe how an under- standing of these fundamental emotional circuits can pro- mote the development of novel antidepressive therapeutics – (i) low-dose buprenorphine to counteract depression and suicidal ideation emanating from too much psychic pain (PANIC overarousal), (ii) direct stimulation of the SEEKING sys- tem to counteract amotivational dysphoria, and (iii) the dis- covery and initial clinical testing of social-joy-promoting mol- ecules derived from the analysis of the PLAY system.

Date:
January 2014
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
47
Page/s:
383-393
Synonyms:
  • Experimental
  • Humour
  • Mental health
  • Physical play
  • Rough and tumble
  • Social play
  • Well-being outcomes
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Pellis, S. et al. (2007) Rough-and-Tumble Play and the Development of the Social Brain (Journal Article)

Abstract:
Date:
January 2007
Volume:
16
Page/s:
95-98
Synonyms:
  • Affective behaviour
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Literature review
  • Physical play
  • Rough and tumble
  • Social play
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Sandseter, E. et al. (2011) Children's Risky Play from an Evolutionary Perspective: The Anti-Phobic Effects of Thrilling Experiences (Journal Article)

Abstract:

This theoretical article views children's risky play from an evolutionary perspective, addressing specific evolutionary functions and especially the anti-phobic effects of risky play. According to the non-associative theory, a contemporary approach to the etiology of anxiety, children develop fears of certain stimuli (e.g., heights and strangers) that protect them from situations they are not mature enough to cope with, naturally through infancy. Risky play is a set of motivated behaviors that both provide the child with an exhilarating positive emotion and expose the child to the stimuli they previously have feared. As the child's coping skills improve, these situations and stimuli may be mastered and no longer be feared. Thus fear caused by maturational and age relevant natural inhibition is reduced as the child experiences a motivating thrilling activation, while learning to master age adequate challenges. It is concluded that risky play may have evolved due to this anti-phobic effect in normal child development, and it is suggested that we may observe an increased neuroticism or psychopathology in society if children are hindered from partaking in age adequate risky play.

Date:
January 2011
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
9
Page/s:
147470491100900212
Synonyms:
  • Affective behaviour
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Free play
  • Literature review
  • Object play
  • Outdoor play
  • Physical play
  • Rough and tumble
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline: