Big Body Play
We have been struggling as a classroom with rough and tumble play: When is it appropriate vs. when is it not appropriate to participated in? With that in mind, a rough and tumble workshop was held for educators at our centre on February 20. One of the biggest takeaways for Simone was the study done by the Girls and Boys Club. It was found that activities where there is a winner was not that appealing to children, so they came up with alternatives. Simone also realized that big body play could be done in classrooms, which is not the same as rough and tumble play.
The next day we were inside due to weather. Simone discussed with Emily and Alanna if she could incorporate one of the games from the workshop that was called newspaper. It represented big body play and there were no winners or losers. Simone thought this would be a great activity due to the fact that some children in the program are competitive. The first thing we had to do was get newspapers and 2 teachers, one holding each side. Then, the children would run through it and try to break it. Aadhav was able to run and hit the newspaper in such a way that he was always able to rip the paper right down the middle. Hudson was determined to do it to his satisfaction. We had to work on taking turns and after a little help the children were able to guide themselves. This game lasted for 30 to 45 minutes in our room, with our friends who enjoy rough and tumble play really enjoying this game. After that, we took a break and the children went to other activities where they were able to play and enjoy themselves. We noticed that there was a shift in activities and it was almost time for lunch. We had the children tidy up and then we used the newspapers that we had, scrunched them up into balls and had a great dodgeball/newspaper fight. This is the activity George, Ivaan, Fynn, Katie and Dominic chose to participate, whereas the first activity they were more interested in playing in other areas of the room. There was great hand-eye coordination to throw the newspaper balls. Daksh was picking friends to throw at; there was a lot of laughter. After about 15 minutes the game was over, and then it naturally moved to taking the scrunched newspaper and the children tried to throw them in the bucket that Emily was holding like a basketball. When the bucket was filled, she would dump it all over the children. They threw up their hands and spin under the paper, laughing as this happened. They repeated this game for about 10 minutes.
Overall, this whole experience was so great for the children to learn turn taking, their own strength, cause-and-effect, hand-eye coordination and teamwork. While writing this, Simone was looking at the pictures and Ryker said, “Newspaper fight, that was so fun.” As an educator, this activity allowed Simone to look at a different way to get the children’s energy out. It also allowed for big muscle play, but not in a contact way. We learned that even though rough and tumble play is a very important thing for a child’s development, it is better done outdoors; whereas large body play is a great alternative for an indoor environment, especially when the weather doesn’t allow us to be outside. This activity allowed for a calming, fun experience that allowed the children to just enjoy themselves where there was no negative interaction.