This paper focuses upon the developmental role of rough and tumble (R&T) play with particular attention to the narratives that children use to underpin such activities. A review of the literature suggests that current early years research and practice pays scant attention to children's outdoor free play activities. A piece of original research is described in which playtime activities were ethnographically observed over an 18‐month period. A biocultural approach was used in the analysis of data, in an attempt to encompass the roles of biology, evolution and culture in human development. Findings indicate that the narratives underpinning R&T play were socially complex and highly gendered, and it is suggested that much developmental learning may occur within such free play activities.
- Rough and tumble play