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Rough & Tumble Play

Toddler Tumbles


Unlocking Emotional Growth through physical play.

Rough and Tumble Play Ideas

Activity IdeasDevelopmental Skill
Tag | Outdoor Running | Wheelbarrow | Pillow FightNervous system regulationRead more
Wrestlemania | Doona BurritoBuilding BoundariesRead more
GymbaROO | Big Monster Self-confidence and Self-esteemRead more

Flying, soaring, pillow fighting and tickles – kids love it when you get on their level, let go and really play. Rough and Tumble play is a crucial developmental tool for toddlers. Whilst some parents associate it with “wrestling” and worry about accidentally causing harm, Rough and Tumble Play done safely and lovingly fuels growth in social, emotional and communication skills.

Toddlers, being natural explorers, thrive on physical activities for self expression. Since their growing minds often struggle to express their emotions or cope with big feelings, rough and tumble play and engaging in physical activities provide them with a means to release big emotions.

Interested? Keep reading to learn more.  

Social and Emotional Regulation

Learning to regulate emotions and impulsive behaviour is such a long journey for toddlers. Did you know that kids don’t understand the true meaning of empathy until turning 7 years of age? Physical play involves such an array of emotions: from excitement and amusement to frustration, all fuelled by a rush of adrenaline and endorphins learning how to manage these emotions through physical release can be so grounding.

Toddler Activity Ideas


Tag you’re it. It's a fantastic emotional outlet for kids, flooding them with feel good endorphins.

Outdoor Running

Let them be free, blow off steam and let go of emotions in the big open air. Nothing better than a run.


Human Wheelbarrows are fun and physically demanding. Doing this safely and on grass is best.

Pillow Fight

Exactly as its name implies. Soft objects are great for kids to let go of frustration and anger.

Social and Communication Skills

Have you watched the Bluey episode “Yoga Ball”? In this episode, Dad, Bluey, and Bingo play different games with a yoga ball, and Dad learns that sometimes he plays a bit too rough. This childrens’ episode illustrates how rough and tumble play teaches kids about physical boundaries and how to communicate their intentions effectively. Through physical play, toddlers are able to learn essential social skills like cooperation, taking turns, and empathy.

Toddler Activity Ideas


Safe playful wrestling helps kids to communicate boundaries and also social awareness.

Doona Burrito

Wrap your child in their doona like a big "burrito," then unwrap them gently for a fun and cozy moment.

Self Esteem

Rough and tumble play can boost toddlers’ self-confidence and self-esteem. As they master balancing, conquer fears of heights, and develop agility, they build greater trust and somatic awareness of their growing bodies.

Toddler Activity Ideas


Self esteem can come from structured play, movement, and music activities. This one fosters it all in a social setting.

Big Monster

A parent playfully pretends to be a friendly monster, tumbling with their kids- ensuring they feel safe and happy.

More to discover

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Quality time nurtures confident kids.

Genevieve Muir discusses how just 9 mins make a difference. Dive into present to nurture kids’ emotional safety through play.

Thumbnail for Embrace the chaos – embrace the mess.

Embrace the chaos – embrace the mess.

Genevieve Muir discusses how messy play teaches kids resilience, unlocks imagination and helps you let go…

Thumbnail for Embracing Competition for Growth

Embracing Competition for Growth

Genevieve Muir discusses how unlock Emotional Growth through physical play benefits toddlers.

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