Usually Family Plays are done by adults and young children age 2-5. However all of the plays in this video can be done by older teenagers and very young children, and some of the plays can be done by preschoolers with each other. One group of plays, the sits, are done by people of all ages.
These Family Plays are presented in thirteen groups as defined by their basic physical activity: carries, rests and sits, stands, simulations, balances, climbs, jumps, rocks, slides, somersaults, swings, walks and roughhousing. Family Plays may also be grouped more generally. The carries and sits are Basic Moves done in most families because they are enjoyable and convenient. Many other plays like horsie and rowboat are Simulations, or working models, of actual experiences which tie into the child's love of fantasy and stretch his or her imagination.
Another group of plays are Silly Stunts like climbs, rocks, and swings which you do for the joy of a particular motion or to develop physical skills. These Family Plays definitely challenge the child's physical abilities. Every silly stunt is a little scary the first time it is done. Silly stunts teach the child to take some risk. "No guts, no glory".
Roughhousing is gentle physical competition between adult and child, in which some of the time the child wins and some of the time he or she loses.
Many of these Family Plays you will recognize from your childhood. They are the same ones you enjoyed doing with your own parents, relatives and friends.
At first glance Family Plays may look like calisthenics and aerobics, acrobatics, elementary dance, or children's games. However there are four important differences. First, Family Plays require two or three people. They are neither solo endeavors nor large group activities. Second, their goal is neither to stretch the muscles nor to get the heart beating faster, but rather to give a child the thrill of climbing a tree or flying like a plane right in his or her own living room. Third, Family Plays are far more elementary than even the simplest acrobatic moves. And fourth, while Family Plays involve motion and timing, their rhythms are internal to each play; Family Plays are usually not done to music or choreographed for an audience.
Family Plays have been done for thousands of years. They are older than written history. No one knows where they came from or who did them first. Many of the plays have been passed down through the generations from parent to child. Probably most of them have been reinvented many times in different cultures. What we call airplane today, our ancestors probably called eagle.