Playing games with rules in early child care and beyond

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In this chapter, children’s playing games with rules is explored with the aim of understanding the social meaning of games and also determine their particular articulation in the developmental age of Early Care. In Huizinga’s famous book: Homo Ludens: A study of the play element in culture (1955), the main point is that not only does play reflect human culture, play is at the core of cultural production, as our creative and competitive impulse to play also is the impulse to create. The recent technological development in digital games has generated a renewed and revitalised discussion about the nature of rules and their function in games and play. However, children’s play with rules is still rather unexplored compared to children’s pretend playing and rules in general are a poorly understood phenomenon. As the post-structuralist game theorist, R Tulloch remarks: “There are few concepts as central to the study of gaming as rules: however, there are few concepts so frequently overlooked and under-theorised (Tulloch 2014:336). Agreeing with this statement, let us consider children’s play with rules and theorise this activity and its personal and social meaning. The role of rules in (children’s) play is undecided and debated in the literature, and often reflects whether gaming with rules is seen as a version of a universal play-phenomenon or considered a play-form of its own. Very often the discussion also revolves around whether all playing is considered to be involving rules or whether rules are only regarded relevant to some forms of play - scholars arguing for the former; they think of rules in broader terms, more like a sort of social norms, whereas those who argue that rules are only prominent in games think of formal and explicit rules. Rather than discussing whether or not rules are productive (See Tulloch 2014 for a recent review) we might ask what rules are productive for? And what the rules are rules about in children’s playing?

TitelThe Cambridge Handbook of Play : Developmental and Disciplinary Perspectives
RedaktørerPeter Smith, Jaipaul Roopnarine
Antal sider18
ForlagCambridge University Press
Udgivelsesårokt. 2018
ISBN (Elektronisk)9781108131384
StatusUdgivet - okt. 2018
SerietitelCambridge Handbooks in Psychology


  • Early childhood, Sociale kompetencer, Alsidig udvikling, Leg

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