Design for Rebellious Play

  • Lieselotte van LeeuwenEmail author
  • Mathieu Gielen


Non-conformist or non-compliant acts are often seen and researched as negative behaviors, which hinder children’s socialization and enculturation. However, the joy of breaking rules in play and the popularity of rebellious characters in children’s literature hint at rebellion as an expression of autonomy and resilience as well as a part of shaping circumstances. Two psychological approaches, the developmental and the motivational, are used in this chapter as lenses to explore the potentially constructive role of rebellious play. Design ideas created by students of industrial design and examples of existing ‘rule-breaking’ toys and games are analyzed with respect to the content and strategy of rebellion as well as in terms of social risk taking. Mapping aspects of the psychological concepts to design for play, it is demonstrated how the design space for active rebellious play can be widened in a number of ways.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of SunderlandSunderlandUK
  2. 2.Department of Industrial DesignDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands

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