Unplug and Play

The Ultimate Illustrated Guide to Roughhousing with Your Kids


Learn how rough-and-tumble play can nurture close connections, encourage resilience, and boost confidence—with 45 illustrated activities to get you started.

Every kid needs horseplay! Roughhousing is an essential part of childhood development—but it is increasingly overshadowed by screens and structured activities. In Unplug and Play, a doctor and a child psychologist, both dads, introduce parents to the benefits of physical play for young children.

Drawing from gymnastics, martial arts, ballet, team sports, and even animal behavior, the authors present fun full-contact  activities for parents and children to enjoy together, including:

  • Human Cannonball
  • Magic Carpet Ride
  • Steamroller
  • Jousting
  • Raucous Pillow Fight
  • And more!

With activities for everyone from toddlers to kids ages 12 and up, you’ll build a foundation for a lifetime of enriching physical play.

Previously published as The Art of Roughhousing, this updated edition incorporates new child development research and addresses the changing role of screen time.

About the Author

Anthony T. DeBenedet, M.D.

Anthony T. DeBenedet, M.D. is a practicing physician, behavioral-science enthusiast, and energetic dad. His interviews and writings on play, health, wellness, and behavior have appeared in multiple major media outlets. He is the author of Playful Intelligence: The Power of Living Lightly in a Serious World. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Lawrence J. Cohen, Ph.D.

Lawrence Cohen, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist, author, and consultant living in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of The Opposite of Worry, a book for parents about childhood anxiety and fears, and Playful Parenting, an award-winning book about nurturing close connections, solving behavior problems, and encouraging children’s confidence. He specializes in children’s play and play therapy.

Product Details

  • Hardcover ISBN: 9781683693499
  • e-Book ISBN: 9781683693505
  • Release Date: March 7, 2023

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