Skip to comments.Return of risk: The growing movement to let kids play like kids
Posted on 05/05/2012 6:40:03 AM PDT by Squawk 8888
At first, parents fretted about the rocky hillside.
It screamed danger to some who gathered at a town hall about Lord Selkirk Schools new playground plans three and a half years ago. What if the children were running over the hill, didnt see the rocks and tumbled down, scraping their knees and elbows or worse?
Stormie Duchnycz, principal of the Winnipeg school, and the landscape designer who was working on the plans carefully explained its hidden virtues: The rocky hill would help expose their children to nature, it would be physically challenging and engage the whole of their little bodies. Kids would be aware of their surroundings, but their imaginations would also run wild as they incorporate the rocks into their play.
Knowing full well the negative side effects of too much sitting time and too little stimulation (read: obesity and boredom), parents warmed to the idea and the rocky hill was built. (The school promised to ramp up supervision, casting more adult eyes on the rocky hill and also the wiggle wall made from one-to-two-foot-tall stumps that acts as a kind of balance beam, Ms. Duchnycz said.)
(Excerpt) Read more at news.nationalpost.com ...
LOL...you have to go to the photo to see how pathetic Canada has become. That these smooth stones should be considered by any nanny stater as “dangerous” for pre-teen children is ridiculous. Real children seem to seek out much more dangerous pursuits than this.
Just spent most of the last week in Canada. VERY nice people; Vancouver is gorgeous. Clean.
...but omg what a bunch of wimps. Don’t get me started....
We meet with large groups of home schoolers where the eleven year old boys, are you ready for this, carry pocket knives. They go to the state park and play “Capture the Flag” out in the open woods. The children get knees scraped and bumps and bruises.
Have you lost your effin' mind? Move it! You're blockin' the view.
Free-range children?!? Oh, the humanity.....
I am so thankful I grew up in a time when mothers said, “Get out of the house and don’t come back until the streetlights come on!”
They make it sound like children playing on the side of a cliff like El Capitan. LOL
My grandfather told me stories when he was a kid in New York City playing stickball in the streets dodging cars and such.
My daughter lives in Vancouver. She’s out about every weekend backcountry snowshoeing, skiing Whistler, hiking the local parks, going up the the Joffre Lakes, going to Tofino on Vancouver Island, mountain biking just north of the city, kayaking on the Sound. You can’t keep her and her friends inside. All the young adults she hangs out with live similar lives...not sure where you saw the wimps.
Isn’t this stupid? I don’t know how I survived my youth.
Were it not for the damn lawyers and gold digging parents and the hover round parents this would not be a problem.
When I was a kid we’d play at dodging arrows. We’d play “King of the mountain” and it was rough. We’d climb trees, dive into water holes, and slide down cliffs. I can’t recall any of us getting really hurt beyond the usual scrapes and bruises. But we sure had fun...
That evokes a fond memory for me. In the early to mid-60’s, we used to go to this vacant lot, a ravine of sorts a few blocks away from my street, that we would climb for hours, traversing it by holding on to various tree roots and branches, looking for the next footing, and and also climbing up and down it. We were in the wilderness searching for civilization! Sometimes we were escaping from the bad guys. We would stand on the ridge and try to figure how we’d get to the other side by going around the sides of it. That lot was all dirt and rocks and roots and trees but it was the coolest.
I don’t think I remember a week of my childhood without scabs on my knees or elbows. No broken bones and none of this “safety crap”. Just learning how to live.
Was so proud of my 18 month old, she got her first skinned knee yesterday running in the yard! No skinned knees, no adventures!
We had six kids in our family, and my mother would dress us up in snowsuits and make us play outside all day. I remember standing under the kitchen window pleading to come in, and her face would appear telling us to stay out and play!
Hahaha...I still bear the scars on the inside and outside of each elbow, courtesy of a skateboard I created by stealing my sister’s metal rolling skate, taking it apart and nailing each end to the front and back of a board.
LOL...learning bad engineering at a young age!
Same here, but it was 98 degrees with the full Florida sun, and she’d tell us to drink from the hose and she’ll make us a pitcher of Kool-Aid when she finishes vacuuming.
Kool-Aid...with a cup of SUGAR! But we weren’t obese. Oh yeah!
In Canada, we played hockey in the middle of the street. All hell broke loose here in Toronto when city council tried to ban it.
I still can’t get over seeing kids on bikes wearing helmets.
That sounds like the neigbourhood I grew up in. There was a huge park behind my house that was kept a wilderness and we would be in it for hours on end. We would also build forts into the hillside.
Same here. I have a scar on my leg from the time I went sailing off my bike and came down on the edge of a low fence. Memories, LOL. I lived. Nowadays if that happened, the kid would be shut inside until he turned 18.
Kids can’t play as kids anymore. Now they need adults to supervise their play, organize it, act as referee. Stupid.
The over abundance of safety is another leech sucking the life blood out of the taxpayers. The city near me wants 6 figures to repave a bike path across town and they call it a safety issue.
When I was a kid I rode my bike on the driveway and around the yard. When I got older I rode on the dirt roads for miles.
We are in pretty much the same place here. I used to love the “merry go round” - they got rid of so many of those.
I wonder what kids do, wandering around at recess, with nothing to occupy them except the occaisional baseball game that only the “big kids” probably get to play in. It’s an unnatural environment, like sticking a bunch of kids in cages. We don’t do this to our zoo animals, yet it’s “normal” for kids?
What do zoo animals do? They “worry” physical things, pick on themselves and others. And kids?
In winter we would look for the most dangerous looking hill we could find for sledding.
We had a county hunting area about 5 miles from home. In the summer when there was no hunting, we’d either hike or ride our bikes there. The bikes weren’t the variable speed bikes of today (the most advanced bike I had was a 3-speed and that was just before driving). So, we’d leave them at the end of the dirt road and hike. We’d sometimes carry a small backpack and sleeping bag, and stay the night, or, at times, over the weekend. We’d generally have the place to ourselves and knew every square inch of that area (it was at least 1 x1 mile in size). I’d simply tell mom what we were going to do and get a “Be careful” in response.
bike mounted ravine jumping,
Out all day in -10 F weather
jumping sleds and tobaggans
Barrel rolling sleds while in the air
3 years ago we met a young family, the older girl was 5, the boy 7, the girl was showing me each tool of her (very dull) pocketknife. When she got to the cork screw she paused a second, looked intently at it and said it was a post hole digger.
They are 8 and 10 now and the boy drives tractor and really works on the farm. They got motorcycles for all the work they did last summer.
We lived on the edge of a small town with a farm kitty-corner on a hill across the road. The hill had a large area excavated out of one side that was maybe 100' deep. I had a pair of skis with the old toe/heel straps. We'd take them up to the top of the cliff in winter and ski down into it at speed. Crazy, but was it fun!
I grew up in NYC doing the exact same thing!
It pains me to see swimming pools with removed diving boards.
We would do that as well, and because the sun went down before 6pm we’d be doing it in the dark. We would also ride our toboggans like a surfboard, decades before the snowboard was invented.
Interesting bit of trivia- the actor Enrico Colantoni (lead alien in Galaxy Quest) broke his leg while toboganning on a hill at the end of my street and was laid up for a few months.
We used to mix the Kool Aid powder with the sugar and eat it out of our filthy hands, nope we never washed them unless Mom was right there insisting.
Bill Cosby has a great routine about living as a kid in the city. The one on football is hilarious.
Kids used to have fun!! When I was 6 years old, my older sister and I got our first pairs of skis for Christmas. Hey, we had to try them out right away, so we climbed, unsupervised, OMG! up to the top of the barn roof, strapped the skis on and down we went. We hit the ground coming off the back of the barn roof at a 45 degree angle and both sets of skis snapped cleanly in half.
Another Christmas, I got a play set of tools, hand say, hammer, etc. Christmas night I proceeded to saw my bunk bed into pieces suitable for kindling.
Ahhhhhhhhhh....those were the days.
That’s it??!! That’s the rock strewn hillside where danger lies and a life threatening terrain in every step. Bwahahahaha. In my youth this was called our backyard.
Corollary: "You can't find something to do? I'll find you something to do!"
Sheesh, the last thing we wanted back then was for Mom to find us something do to ... that nearly always meant extra chores.
Could be of interest to homeschoolers.
Oh yeah. Forgot about that one!
Free range children...lol...love it. My daughter her two girlfriends would take their horses and ride into the foothills and surrounding open land on Saturdays. Only rules were bring back their horses uninjured and be on time for dinner. My two kids tell me frequently what a great childhood they had. Today they make me proud.
I still bear the 2" scar on my knee where, 57 years ago, my father said, "Don't run over the rocks on the way to the river." I, of course, ran over the rocks as fast as I could, fell, and opened up my knee pretty good.
I still remember watching the ER doctor clean it out and thinking, "hmm ... so that's what a bone looks like." Dad was by my side, and offered no sympathy for my pain.
>>Today they make me proud.
Of course they do. You taught them to appreciate freedom and to accept the heavy responsibility that comes with it. They became adults. You did your job well.
These kids today with “play dates” and supervised everything and no threat of harm grow up to be larger children who believe that the world owes them a pain-free, cost-free, work-free life of happiness and total fulfillment. They are their parent’s punishment for weak parenting. Unfortunately, they are usually society’s punishment as well.
Some of us had fun and some of us were just dang destructive. :-)
Thank you for your kind words. I often contemplate writing a memior of just being a kid in the 50’s. Silly probably, but we had fun! My kids had fun! Just plain ol’ fun. Better yet, a compilation of others stories, like the ones posted here, I thought I walked on the wild side...sheesh...I never destroyed a bunkbed. But there was that hot summer night when my brothers set off the cherry bomb in the house. Good times, good times.
It’s Winnipeg so to have a hill they had to build one. It’s pretty flat terrain there.
When I was a child, probably 8 years old or so, all the GIRLS in the neighborhood would gather to play JACK KNIFE, which involved many skills such as flipping it off the tips of one’s fingers.
In winter, we pulled our sleds to the top of the hill on Tesla Ave and took a LONG ride down, crossing THREE streets on the way down to the bottom. The city placed signs before each intersection warning drivers to go slow—”CHILDREN
COASTING!!!” I don’t remember any child being killed. And there were NO anxious mothers hovering around. Now, there are signs that say “DANGER, NO COASTING”
I remember also, that was an old lady who didn’t like the noise and would spread ashes across the road in front of her house. (now, I’m giving away my age :) ). We always clattered our sleds across them and thankfully still had enough momentum to continue our great ride.
I’m talking about their “national attitude”. Nice as they are, they are VERY liberal as a people, expecting and outright demanding that Big Government hold their hands cradle to grave.
Don’t ever engage a Canadian in a discussion about our Second Amendment, by the way.
Same here. I rode on asphalt, too.
It’s another tactic to make people more dependent and helpless, IMO.