Roughhousing Is Good For You: What Are Some Benefits?
There are many benefits of roughhousing with your child. Here are some of them:
1) Encourages independence and self-reliance.
2) Helps develop social skills and communication skills.
3) Increases physical activity levels and helps build muscle mass.
4) Improves coordination, balance, strength, endurance, flexibility and speed.
5) Builds confidence and increases self-esteem.
6) Reduces stress levels and improves concentration.
7) Promotes healthy habits such as good eating habits, sleeping habits and exercise routines.
8) Promotes the ability to have fun.
Below you will find a quick list of roughhousing activities that you can do with your child.
The Floor Is Lava: This is one of the favorites and all you need for this game is a large open space – like a living room. To play, simply call out “the floor is lava” or something similar, then everyone has to get up and move away from the floor before returning to safety. By calling out different things, the game can take on different variations: “The floor is slippery ice,” or “The floor is a puddle,” or “The floor is hot lava” are all great ways to make the game more interesting.
Don’t Say Tarzan: All you need for this game is a large open space and an even larger imagination. To play, everyone sits in a circle and one person is chosen to be “It,” or in this case “Tarzan.” Everyone else sits in a circle and holds hands, with “Tarzan” sitting in the middle. When the music starts, “Tarzan” has to try and break through the human chain by pulling on the hands of the other players. If he pulls off someone’s hand, then that person becomes “Tarzan” and the person who lost their seat becomes “it.” If “It” calls out “Don’t say Tarzan” at any time, everyone has to freeze and if “Tarzan” manages to pull off someone’s hand before the music stops, then that person becomes “It.” If the music stops and no one has been pulled from their seat, then everyone has to switch seats.
The game continues until everyone has been “Tarzan.”
Human Knot: This is a great game for teamwork and trust. Everyone sits in a circle and the leader calls out different commands. The commands could be things like: “Left Side,” “12 o’clock,” “3 o’clock” or “6 o’clock.” Everyone has to move as quickly as they can to form the position that the leader called out. Once everyone is in place, the leader says “Hold.” Everyone then has to hold their position and the leader calls out another command.
The game continues until the leader says “End.” Once everyone is freed, players count how many seconds it took them to untangle themselves. This number is then added to a running total. To make things more challenging, the leader can call out an order to keep one hand tied to the person next to them. If this happens, everyone has to keep one hand tied throughout the entire game. This makes it much harder to untangle.
Sitting Target: Everyone sits in a circle and one person is chosen to be “it.” That person then closes their eyes and counts to 30 while everyone hides. Once the person counting opens their eyes, they have to try and find everyone else. This can be played in two different ways. The first way involves the people hiding moving anywhere they want as long as they don’t get up from the spot that they are hiding in.
The second way makes it a little more challenging. The people hiding may only move a few inches from their current position and may not move out of their sitting position. For example, if you are sitting with your legs crossed, you can only move your leg. If you are sitting with your legs out in front of you, you can only move your feet. You can also switch between putting your feet on or behind the chair you are using but again, you can’t get up. The person that is “it” gets one point for every person they find and those people then have to try and get “it” back.
Simon Says: This is where you need a lot of space. Everyone spreads out around the room and the leader chooses someone to be Simon. No one else is allowed to talk. Simon takes off his shoe and throws it in any direction he wants. Everyone not named Simon follows the shoe with their eyes.
If Simon caught someone looking where the shoe is, that person becomes Simon.
Punch Bug: This game requires a lot of space and at least three people but can be played with more people. Everyone chooses an animal to be (it’s best if everyone animals that start with the same letter) and then form a line. The first person is the Ant, the second person is the Ape and the third person is the Crab. The fourth person is the Fox, fifth person is the Frog, sixth person is the Goose, seventh person is the Halliard, and the eighth person is the Owl. Ants walk slow, Foxes walk slow and Geese walk slow but you have to hop on one foot.
The games above are just some roughhousing ideas to get you started. Remember, the fun is in creating your own games.
In closing I want to remind you that roughhousing is not just a game for boys. There are plenty of games that moms and dads can play with their sons or daughters that allow everyone to get physical and have fun.
I also want to let all the fathers out there know that it is never too late to start roughhousing with your sons. Even if your son is in his tweens or teens, he will probably appreciate a little well-timed roughhousing.
Roughhousing isn’t just good fun. It is also good for the mind and body. I really wish more parents would spend more time engaging in it with their kids. Our world would be a much better place.
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Sources & references used in this article:
Reflections on Roughhousing and Living Playfully by AT DeBenedet, LJ Cohen – 2011 – Quirk Books
The Art of Roughhousing: Good Old-Fashioned Horseplay and Why Every Kid Needs It/Big Body Play: Why Boisterous, Vigorous, and Very Physical Play Is … by GOF Horseplay – American Journal of Play – journalofplay.org
The Physiology of a Rear Naked Choke, or: What Happens When You Get Choked Out by B Boyd – American Journal of Play, 2013 – journalofplay.org
Card Games, Roughhousing, Traffic Jams & Thunderstorms by V Worthington – breakingmuscle.com
Relearning the Lost Art of Child’s Play by D Kennedy – Thinking: The Journal of Philosophy for Children, 2003 – pdcnet.org
At the bell twelve beefy, boisterous, high school male athletes burst into the classroom, joking, laughing, punching, and roughhousing each other. These varsity … by T Pearce – Globe and Mail, 2011 – casaverams.com