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At the March, 2011, Art of Roughhousing event, in Billerica, Massachusetts, we asked families to show us their favorite roughhousing moves.  Here are a few that we learned:

The Bridge.  Two adults lie down on their backs, and bring the soles of their feet to touch up in the air.  This is the bridge, and children crawl under it.  The bridge can rise up like a drawbridge or come down to trap the child crawling through.  Cautionary Note:  With a large number of children, you might want to make it a one-way bridge, otherwise heads get bonked into each other.  Benefits:  Physical coordination and contact.

Wriggle Away.  This move is similar to our Bodylock, but the name and the rules are well-suited for younger children.  The idea is simple.  You just hold a child loosely in your lap and they wiggle away!  You can vary how strongly you hold them depending on how confident they are about escaping.  Benefits:  Problem-solving skills and lighthearted approach to issues of dependence and separation.

Sheepdog.  Mark off an area that is in-bounds and an area that is out-of-bounds.  This can be a small rug and the floor around it, or a masking tape line on the floor.  Starting position is child on the grownup’s back, as in horsey ride.  The grown-up (sheepdog) tries to keep the child (sheep) in-bounds, while the child tries to get past the grown up into the out-of-bounds area.  You can make up additional rules as you go; for example, you can require touching the out-of-bounds area with hands, instead of feet, to make it more challenging.  Benefits:  Tuning in to one another, physical and mental problem-solving, physical contact, playful approach to issues of independence and autonomy.

Dance the leader.  This game is a variation of follow the leader, where the child does a fancy dance move then the grownup (or the whole group) imitates it.  Benefits:  Grownup gets to act silly, child gets to be powerful.

 

What are your favorite moves?

 

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