Play Face

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Play Face

Play Face is a term used to describe an often-seen expression on the faces of humans and other mammals engaged in play. Children exhibiting Play Face tend to have wide open and alert eyes, a friendly and inviting expression, and the glimmer of a smile.

Play Face signals an openness to continued engagement and comfort with the current situation.

Children (and adults) skilled at reading Play Face can use the signals they observe to adjust the play environment to keep the play flowing. When Play Face begins to fade, the play environment may need adjusting. Learning to read body language in childhood play is a skill used throughout life in both work and social situations.

Sometimes players try to hide their Play Face by acting Plangry.

Play Face is often associated with rough and tumble or aggressive play, but it occurs in all types of play.

Read more about Play Face here, here, and here.

Here’s a Child Care Bar and Grill episode discussing Play Face.

The opposite of Play Face has been described as I Want To Eat You Face.

Contact us with questions, concerns, and comments about this Early Learning Glossary Entry.

Content Creator and Curator at

Jeff is an early learning speaker, toymaker, podcaster, content creator, author, and founder of Playvolution HQ who is really bad at getting his picture taken.

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