What is dizzy play?
the moment of rough and tumble and mock fighting, jumping on the bed and doing just enough to turn the world upside down
— Kalliala 2006 in Andrews 2012 p.113
One of the holistic learning goals in the Alberta, Canada early childhood curriculum Play, Participation, and Possibilities - An Early Learning and Child Care Curriculum Framework for Alberta is Play and Playfulness. Play and Playfulness is further differentiated into three facets: imagination and creativity, playful exploration and problem solving, and dizzy play.
What does 'dizzy play' mean?
Dizzy play is a relatively new term used to describe the important learning and development that happens for children when they create disorder and reorder within playful experiences. Elements of dizzy play are present in experiences such as rough and tumble play, full body exploration, and humour and language play.” P89
In an early childhood setting dizzy play can occur spontaneously or during a planned open-ended activity -
"Children’s play sometimes erupts suddenly in loud, boisterous, physical bursts. This kind of play is exhilarating and infectious, creating communities through shared laughter. Children love to twirl until they are too dizzy to stand up, laugh with others over nothing in particular, babble nonsense words in a riotous conversation, put their pants on their head or their jacket on their legs and perform for their friends. They revel in their power to turn the world upside down, playfully confident that they can restore it. Educators recognize and accept this kind of play, valuing it for what it provides for the children, a release of physical energy, a sense of power and often an expression of pure joy. It also requires tolerance, as this can be a noisy and seemingly senseless activity. Educators, aware of the resilience of children, must also assure that they are safe as they push their physical limits."
Being on the edge
- Engaging in rough and tumble play
- Experiencing exhilarating physical release
- Playing at games of disrupting and restoring order
Sharing the joy of laughter
- Making nonsense
- Clowning to engage the positive attention of others
- Physical humour
What does 'dizzy play' look like?
“running, jumping, digging, swinging, rolling, and strolling; and shouting and squeaking and twirling and swirling—dizzy play for the pure pleasure of being on the edge and sharing the joy of laughter and life with others
— Play, Participation and Possibilities p98
Dizzy play can look like horse rides, children tumbling over each other when music starts playing and they throw themselves into the sound. It can be tussling, or spinning or rolling over each other on the grass roaring like tigers. It isn't quiet and it isn't still - but it is learning.
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For educator observations and reflections see - The Joy of Dizzy Play
Exploring Play for Early Childhood Studies – Mandy Andrews 2012
Play Culture in a Changing World - Marjatta Kalliala (2006)