Involves the playful articulation and expression of ideas and feelings. It is not just verbal but also includes facial expressions, touch and body stance.
Examples: name calling, mickey taking, jokes, imitation, gestures, singing and graffiti.
Involves playful interaction with materials, tools, colour, form and beauty.
Examples: children self-expressing using paints, clay, fabrics, paper and wood.
Engaging in activities that are perceived as risky by the child.
Examples: swinging, balancing, climbing, moving at speed, arguing, being in the dark.
Playful dramatisation of events or experiences which have been observed but where the child is not personally involved.
Examples: imitating or improvising characters in a TV show, an overheard conversation, doing an observed dance routine.
Playfully moving through a space to assess its properties, possibilities and content.
Examples: looking into bushes, climbing trees, opening cupboards and climbing stairs.
Playful engagement in situations that are pure products of the child’s imagination and unrelated to reality.
Examples: being a dragon, dressing up as a superhero, casting spells and doing magic.
Playful engagement in situations that reflect reality “but not in that way”.
Examples: being a ship, a tree or an airline pilot.
Playful three-dimensional movement through a space.
Examples: chase, tag, football, climbing structures.
Playfully changing or controlling aspects of the play environment.
Examples: building dens, digging holes, redirecting streams and water courses.
Playful, focused and repetitive manipulative interaction with objects.
Examples: Rubik’s Cube, Game Boy, mobile phone, a ball or piece of wood.
Playfully representing the different stages of human evolution.
Examples: playing war and using ancient weapons, building caves and dens, engaging in rituals, dressing up, creating language and myths.
Playfully exploring different personalities, identities and uniforms.
Examples: pretending to be a doctor, teacher, shop assistant, lawyer.
Rough and tumble play
Playfully engaging in close-encounter experiences that are less to do with fighting than with touching, tickling, gauging strength and physical flexibility.
Examples: playful fighting, wrestling, chasing, using “kung fu noises” and pretend kicks.
Playfully exploring and experimenting with social rules and protocols.
Examples: board games, locomotor games, going out on trips, building or painting something together.
Playfully acting out personal domestic or other experiences that carry direct implications for the child to better understand or experience control of the situation.
Examples: children re-enacting social – often traumatic – experiences they have had, eg, parents arguing, a teacher shouting, being bullied.
Playfully using objects, shapes or props to stand for or represent other things.
Examples: stones for money, a crayon map for the play space, or friendship, music or clothes that are “cool”.
Source: Hughes, B (2006) A Playworker’s Taxonomy of Play Types