I came across The Art of Roughhousing the other day and read through most of it. I was particularly interested in the role of play and roughhousing on the developmental psychology in children. The authors, Anthony DeBenedet and Lawrence Cohen not only do a good job of covering the why, but also spend the majority the chapters showing how to roughhouse...just in case we have have become such an over-protective, sheltered society that we can't figure that out for ourselves. Here are a few quotes that I like from the book:
"Many parents are more frightened by skinned knees and bruised feelings than life's real dangers: stifled creativity and listless apathy" (p12)
"Children's play-time is now dominated by adult-organized, adult-refereed, and adult-structured activities." (p13)
"Play-especially active physical play, like roughhousing- makes kids smart, emotionally intelligent, lovable and likable, ethical, physically fit, and joyful." (p14)
More tag, fort-building, creek-wading, and tree-climbing, and less soccer practice, ipods, playgroups, and sitting in the car is what kids need. Additionally, parents need to provide a good chunk of this play and roughhousing. When your kids are at the playground, get out the car, put down the phone and jump into a game of freeze tag. I believe we need unstructured play and roughhousing our whole lives, not just as kids. The most cognitively-advanced mammals play and roughhouse all the time. Ironically for humans, the most cognitively-advanced mammal, we are so far removed from unstructured play and roughhousing that we need a book to tell us how. Sad.