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Roughhousing as a Style of Play

by Rick Porter
May/June 1994
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/roughhousing-as-a-style-of-play/5009744/

Roughhousing is what children do naturally with each other. Chasing each other, pushing, shoving, tickling, tackling, tripping, wrestling, wrangling, jostling, grabbing, and doing what studies show all species of young mammal siblings do. Anyone who has raised kittens or puppies or a home full of young children can tell you about roughhousing. Typically, a father, uncle, older siblings, or mother starts this by wrestling on the bed or out in the back yard with a child. Roughhousing is a familial style of play. It starts in the family.

For the past 20 years, I have studied and worked with this style of play to help make it more available to children in child care, preschool, and camp programs. By establishing guidelines for teachers and children, it can be a safe and fun activity for all involved. Roughhousing is always voluntary for the children that want to participate. Planning, understanding, and appropriate limit setting makes it a positive experience.

The key to its success is to start simple and encourage the children to have fun. "London Bridge Is Falling Down" is the age old roughhousing game. Mats or soft grassy areas to fall on ...

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