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Rough and Tumble Play 101

by Frances Carlson
July/August 2009
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/rough-and-tumble-play-101/5018870/

When my three teen-age children were young, they spent every Sunday afternoon at Grandma's house playing roughly with each other in the backyard with their two cousins. They played a game they called 'Team' — a rousing, big-body game that involved chasing, tagging, swinging around, throwing to the ground, many smiles and much laughter. Often, while they were playing Team, someone would question the safety of this type of play and why my husband and I allowed it to continue week after week. We allowed it, we would respond, because it reminded us of the way we played when we were kids. And, we argued, if they were hurting each other, would they continue to voluntarily pursue this type of play week after week? Would there be so much laughter involved?

Now, as an early childhood college instructor, I work with students who share the same concerns my family shared with me all those years ago:

• Is rough and tumble play dangerous?
• Is it aggressive?
• Does it make children more aggressive?
• Should we — as early childhood educators — learn how to prevent and de-emphasize this type of rough play?
• Is there a place for rough play ...

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