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How Rough is Rough and Tumble?

Peter K. Smith and Mike Boulton

Children often enjoy play fighting and wrestling together. From the preschool years onwards, this kind of play - often called rough-and-tumble play - is a common feature of school playgrounds or any open spaces where children can play. But attitudes to rough-and-tumble (or r&t for short) vary considerably. Some adults favour it (parents rnay do it with young children, for example), others regard it as harmless but of little benefit, yet others see it as noisy, dangerous and like real fighting. So what do we know about r&t? How rough is rough-and-tumble?

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