Rough & tumble play – Playgroup

rough and tumble playgroupPhysical play, rough housing and play wrestling builds friendships – particularly for boys.

Did you know?

Rough and tumble play with peers is important for developing relationships, learning how to read and understand the body language and feelings of others, showing compassion and empathy, and developing self regulation and resilience skills.

Add language

Having some picture books in your playgroup library which depict rough housing or rough and tumble play may be useful for prompting conversations about how we feel, how we know how someone else is feeling and knowing when to stop.

Other development

Children learn to take turns in play with each child getting a chance to chase and be chased. They learn the “rules” for playing with others.

Children who have engaged regularly in rough house, rough and tumble play learn to distinguish between innocent play and aggression. This helps with their social, problem solving and protective behaviour skills.


Playing chasey or tag, play wrestling, rolling, spinning and dancing can all be rough and tumble play.


The key to rough and tumble play is that everyone is having fun and no one is hurt or forced to do anything. As each child differs in the amount, intensity and duration of rough and tumble play they can handle and how much self regulation they have learnt, you may need to agree on some rules at playgroup. Some specific agreed boundaries on when to stop may need to be reinforced with the children.

Across the ages

All the activities listed on our “Play Ideas” page can be applied across different age groups. See how rough and tumble play can be fun for babiestoddlers and children.


Activities listed under “playgroup” are suitable for groups of children of various ages. They provide opportunities for early learning and social play.