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The Art of Roughhousing
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
My Dad, even though he is close to 80, is a natural born roughhouser. Although he's never heard of Larry Cohen, he would agree with everything he said in "Playful Parenting" as well as his and Anthony DeBenedet's new book "The Art of Roughhousing." At 79, he's down on the floor wrestling, tickling, and playing with my kids for hours.

My husband grew up in a very different environment--one where physical play just did not happen. I always sensed a bit of wistfulness on his part when he would watch my kids and their grandpa play--especially as everybody is having such a good time. Now, with "The Art of Roughhousing", their own Dad has some great new tricks and ideas to try. Dad is now cool--because not even Grandpa thought about riding a mattress down the stairs!

Love this book. Buy it (and some ice packs) and go to town. And I have to say, it's not just fun for the kids--it's fun for the parents as well. We've decided to use it as part of our weekly family time. We're going through the book and writing down the activities that are age appropriate. Then during our family meeting, one of the kids gets to pick our roughhousing activity of the week.

The first part talks about why roughhousing is good for you.

The second bit is like a little manual of different activities to try... some I'd never have thought of.

There's an intro section with things like Airplane, Alcatraz (you're prisoner in a pile of pillows...escape...and then your kids capture you (or vice versa)), Almost Gotcha (run after your kids and almost catch them..), etc.

A section called flight...with different activities with your kids in the air.

A section called games...including pillow fights, ejection seat (bouncing on the bed until "shot"..and then you jump off the bed), jousting, etc.

A section called contact...wrestling, steamroller (you're rolling on the floor with your kids in your arms), etc.

A section called imagination....big bad monster (you're a monster in the hallway..and every time your kids run past, you trip them up in a playful way), magic carpet ride (carrying a child on a towel held by two adults), etc.

And a final section called extreme roughhousing.

Probably at least 100 or more ideas--all that look great. Some are for younger kids 3 and up, while others are aimed at older kids (10-12+). Most will work for all kids--so get ready to enjoy
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2011
As the mother of three sons, I am always looking for engaging ways to interact with my boys. Not only does this book offer fabulous ideas, but it has easy to follow instructions for new roughhousing moves. It wasn't just me who loved the book, either! My boys loved looking through the pictures and begged me to try all the fun! (Their favorite is the mattress rafting, of course!). I have a friend who is due with her third child any day. Instead of getting her yet another baby blanket, I'm going to give her this book. Highly recommended!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I ordered this book partly because I had read Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen (one of the co-authors of this book). When I received the book, I was a little disappointed. It's a fairly small book, and as I thumbed through I saw a lot of cartoon pictures illustrating different moves you can do with your child. But I thought I'd sit down and read it to see if there was anything useful. Once I got into the reading, I found some really incredible information!

Did you know that roughhousing helps build child/parent relationships, helps them emotionally, intellectually, ethically, etc? It's beneficial for a child's body & brain, and can help them learn how to stand up to bullies, how to interact with others, it stimulates neural pathways in the brain, makes them more creative, etc.

From this book I learned to bring more roughhousing into our play with our children. My husband would often roughhouse with our son (age 4 1/2), but neither of us did a lot with our daughter (age 22 months). She's young, petite, and seemed too small for roughhousing. I found out that she absolutely LOVES to do several of the things I've tried from this book, and is quite the active little girl! When either of our kids get grouchy or upset, roughhousing play can often bring them back to giggles.

The thing I really like about this book is that it gives the science behind why roughhousing is so important (critical one might say), and also gives specific examples and moves you can do. Each move has a cartoon illustration, a description, an age range, difficulty rating, and essential skill. I've tried several of these...some favorites include: Lumpy Couch, Airplane (which we call Flying Baby), Bodylock (an extreme favorite for both my children, and one I had started doing after reading Playful Parenting), Wheelbarrow, Rogue Dumbo, Sleeping Bat, and Steamroller. Many of these are things I never would have thought to try, especially with a toddler like my daughter.

This book is divided up into sections, with an intro as to why that type of roughhousing is important followed by the specific moves. The sections are:

Get Started with Instant Roughhousing
Flight
Games
Contact
Imagination
Extreme Roughhousing

I would absolutely recommend this gem to any parent of children ranging from 6 months up to 16 years of age!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2011
This book is fantastic. The message is serious and important, while the tone is light and playful: an engrossing combination. I was reading the book on the Boston subway and almost missed my stop. Once home, I promised our almost-4-year-old that we'd try a new "wrestling" game that I had just learnt (we started about a year ago after reading Larry Cohen's earlier book _Playful Parenting_). She smiled as I described the game and how we can try it with her and with our 1-year-old.

The book's structure makes for an effective learning instrument, alternating sections of discussion and explanation with sections of roughhousing game descriptions. Each game is described in one page and gives the age range and difficulty, so I flipped through looking for age-appropriate games that would not be too difficult (for me!). As a bonus, the paper is stiffer than normal paperback paper (which too often resembles toilet paper in its cheapness), and that extra springiness and durability enables easy flipping.

May the book become a bestseller. We and our children would be happier and more confident.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2013
This book would be good for mom and dad to read together. I was already a believer in roughhousing, and my wife had no problem with it. But sometimes I've seen that worried look on the faces of friends when I would throw our kids, and now our grandkids, into the air. Worse yet is that look that some wives give the husband when he does it with their kids. Look up helicopter parenting - it's not a good thing.

So as a believer in roughhousing I bought this for one of those couples, because I knew the dad would need all the help he could get convincing the mom that playing rough with the kids was okay. After reading it I believe every parent should read it. The whole philosophy of roughhousing presented in this book shows it's not just fun, but actually good for the emotional, physical, and spiritual health of the kids. In other words, roughhouse with your kids and watch them grow up well adjusted.

Tons of roughhouse stunts included and explained, with warnings for different age levels and such.

I'm not a fan of them but this is by far the best parenting book I've ever read. I've already given away two and will always have this one on the shelf. The book is also very sturdy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Art of Roughhousing is a book about how to roughhouse properly and how to use it to its full advantage for you and your child. I think that this book should be in every parent's library along side Dr. Sears and all the other, fine child development books. Also, because of "no-touching" policies many schools have adopted, roughhousing with your child is even more crucial because children no longer have the opportunity for healthy, rough and tumble play at recess.

I am a mother of 5 boys and 2 girls, and I have been a foster mother to over 40 children. I learned a long time ago about the power of physical play and how much children crave it. Drs. DeBenedet and Cohen have put together an excellent book that describes the benefits, the potential risks and how to minimize them, and loads of wonderful illustrations of different roughhouse games to get you started.

I was particularly impressed to find the focus of most of the text to be the child's feelings. Consistently, the authors remind parents to consider the child's deeper feelings if a game isn't going well, and they suggest changes that can address those feelings. There are plenty of stories and examples given so that even the most reserved parent will feel confident enough to get started.

Roughhousing didn't come naturally to me as a parent, but cuddling and snuggling did. My children taught ME how to roughhouse by regularly turning a cuddle session into a wild game of bucking bronco. I came to know on a deeper level how many teachable moments come about in rough, physical play. And how exhilarating play can bring a shy child out or help an awkward child develop social skills. This book explains it all much better than I ever could and I cannot recommend it more highly. It will be on my list of top baby gifts from now on.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2014
My 5 year old has benefited already from this book and I only started regularly doing this 2 weeks ago. Just 30mins-hour a day of fun rough play with his Mom has improved his impulse control, taught him that losing is OK, and most importantly has shown him how to hold back in playing so that now he wont hurt his peers in the playground. This has also been the source of many giggles for both of us and is above all a wonderful bonding experience and tension release after a long day at school and work!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 17, 2011
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I consider myself fortunate to have grown up in a house where our Dad was a physically involved parent throughout our childhoods. I still remember my sister and I getting thrown up, down, and around when we were little and loving every bit of it. Now, as the parent of two little girls, it is my turn to keep the rough-play tradition alive. I picked up THE ART OF ROUGHHOUSING hoping to learn some new tricks to use on the girls, but ended up being educated on how beneficial physical play is for kids.

What drew me to the book was the simplified format: the authors' introduction to the art of rough-play and the important role it plays in a child's development, followed by an instructional and illustrated series of roughhousing moves/techniques that are gender-neutral. With its thick pages and compact size, the book is built to be used as a handy reference that can be grabbed on the fly. Each of the techniques is given a two-page spread: the left page has the technique's name, appropriate age range for child, degree of difficulty (to assist parents in determining safety issues) and step-by-step instructions on how to appropriately administer the "move" ... the facing page methodically illustrates the "move". Most will find that simply looking at the illustrations is enough, but the written instructions address important safety issues for some of the advanced techniques. I found the list of ideas to be thoughtfully prepared and thorough ... enough to ensure a wide variety of rough play will continue for many years. Roughhousing in not solely confined to wrestling though, the authors provide imagination and role-playing ideas that are just as fun to experiment with. Whether spicing-up a simple sidewalk stroll, a full-blown water-balloon/ pillow fight or a series of flips or rolls, the authors have covered all the bases for mothers and fathers who want a more engaging approach to parenting that is mutually rewarding.

While I enjoyed the examples of roughhousing, I found the authors' claims of how beneficial rough play was to the development of a child's body and brain particularly enlightening. The physical nature of roughhousing enhances confidence, relationship, contact and motor skills. The book provides support in the form of research from behavior scientists, case studies and personal experience/observation. I appreciate the manner in which the authors chose to keep the research aspect of the book secondary to the roughhousing techniques ... it's there if you want it, but not essential reading if you are already a believer of roughhousing with your kid(s).

THE ART OF ROUGHHOUSING is a gem of a book. Intending to be fun and engaging (not preachy), the authors' ensure the roughhousing techniques are the focal point of the book. Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters of all ages should find fun in this book. Go play!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
We live in a world of zero tolerance rules where kindergarteners are expelled for bringing plastic lunch knives, and school districts have official "no touching" policies--no comforting hugs for those same little ones on the first day of school. The fast-spinning merry-go-rounds and high monkey bars of our youth have been largely replaced with plastic safety platforms and ten inches of soft padding. No wonder my kids find the playground a bore. It is.

When I first opened "The Art of Roughhousing", I was pleasantly surprised. While I am a parenting book aficionado, so many publications go from scholarly dryness to impractical technique. Not so with this book! Most of the 192 pages are dedicated to diagrams and step by step explanations of roughhousing games. There are plenty of tossing, spinning and tackling classics, as well as new ideas to get physical-phobic parent rolling around on the floor like the best kind of curtain ape. Games are divided by age appropriateness for ease of browsing.

DeBenedet and Cohen don't neglect the scientific or social importance of active physical play, sharing many studies that support the emphasis on children needing some roughhousing in their lives. They acknowledge that sometimes someone might get hurt--and that's why adults are around to supervise.

The authors do a great job talking to the reader, especially to fathers who may not be natural roughhousers, or who may be afraid to get so physical with their child. But the suggested activities make it easy to implement. The section on the vital interaction between fathers and daughters, and how girls develop a healthy sense of power and self while playing is particularly compelling. The message comes through loud and clear: Dads, don't neglect the girls!

If there is one flaw in this book, it is the absence of any discussion that a mom might also be a good roughhousers, or that there would be benefits from moms learning to be more physical. I know the authors are both men, but while they did a splendid job of speaking up for the rights of girls, I felt women got short shrift. One star lost for this oversight.

Still, I'm going to flip through this little treasure trove in search of some games I can dive into with my boys. And I just might lighten up on the household roughhousing rules around here. Very interesting reading with fun and easy application.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2013
In this day and age of over thinking everything (because there's money to be made in doing so) it's a reaffirmation to all of us that instinctually know they want to roughhouse with their kids that even science agrees with out gut that its the fit thing to do.
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