5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do!

Hi Readers!
I’ve been enjoying this video for a couple of years now. Maybe you’ve already seen it — it’s a TED talk by Gever Tulley, founder of the Tinkering School. It’s the argument that got me to allow my kids to start using matches. Have fun! (And get a fire extinguisher.) — Lenore

21 Responses

  1. I love the TED talks.

  2. I have seen this a few times and LOVE it. A friend of mine even started up a Tinkering class for kids after seeing it. I am happy to report my seven year old got a pocket knife for her birthday – along with lessons for use. We did have to tell her the other day though, more than a few times, “it’s a tool, not a weapon.”

    And yes, I love the Ted talks too.

  3. Interesting that he has kids using power tools with no eye protection. I guess that is one of the things he wants you to learn on yer own. After all, you have 2 so you can lose one due to a flying splinter. Then throwing a spear with only 1 eye you can recover your depth perception.

    Snarky? Yes, but safety has to be taught at least the very basics. We don’t want to ‘reinvent the wheel’ why let the kids suffer from things we found out either first hand or otherwise.

  4. I reacted negatively at first to the copyright thing, but when I realized he was taking about contradictions and illogic in the laws that make them easy to break unintentionally and harmlessly, I understood. I’ve done that myself when a file got corrupted on my hard drive, and I have no qualms about it, despite my respect for copyright law generally.

  5. Speaking of “Five Dangerous Things”, we’re finishing up the illustrations for “Fifty Dangerous Things (you should let your children do)” and will have it available on Amazon come the end of the month.

    I was always of two minds about “Break the DMCA”, but you have to keep in mind the context of the time, and then look at how little the situation has changed today to see that it was a valid topic. The DMCA continues to be abused, now more so than ever.

    And, finally, regarding the goggles. I am a proponent of the proper use of goggles. The low-RPM, battery operated screwdrivers that the kids used in that first picture, pose no more threat to their eyes than a game of marbles or a bike ride, so we don’t make the kids wear them when using those tools.

  6. Do I agree with all of it, not necessarily. But I really liked his points and his humor. I also like that it made me think about things in a way I wouldn’t have. Thanks for sharing it.

  7. Ivy, just out of curiosity, what parts didn’t you agree with?

  8. Long live creativity and independent learning! Thanks so much for sharing this.

  9. I’ve seen this video before and love it. My husband has already taught our oldest how to light a match. She loves that, and knows that she had better not abuse the privilege. We’ve been talking about the pocket knife too. Soon, probably. Maybe even Christmas, with lessons before full ownership.

  10. I think we’ll be playing with matches today. 😀

    And you know, I’d forgotten all about driving a car… my dad let me do that numerous times when I was around 8 – even on the freeway once (which is insane not only for our safety but everyone elses… *boggle*).

  11. I love the part about letting your kids drive your car. I loved doing that as a kid! I let both of my girls “drive” from the mail box to the house. They sit on my lap and steer. My 6 year old is pretty good and the 3 year old is getting the hang of it!

  12. Re: Letting the kid drive (even if s/he’s just in your lap in the driver’s seat and in a parking lot.

    That reminds me of one of the days when I came home from somewhere. I live in an apartment complex and most of the parents here are what could be considered free-range (I’m actually afraid someone’s going to hit one of the kids one of these days, because there’s so many of them out, and some of them are as young as 4 or 5). One day, I was coming in and another car was at the intersection I was going to turn on. When I passed the car, I noticed that there was a little girl in her mother’s lap in the driver’s seat, “driving” just like her mommy. =D

  13. Thanks so much for sharing this Lenore! Loved it!

  14. Great video, thanks

  15. I saw this eons ago and loved it.

    Afterwards, I considered the notion of getting my two older boys their own knives. My eight year old is definitely old enough, but the six year old is questionable. So, I discussed the idea with both of them. They found it exciting and empowering. Then, my six year old asked if he could also have one of those round, flat things.

    “A what?”

    “You know, the round, flat things that the knife sticks in when you throw it”.

    “Never mind.”

    I let them cut their own food at the table for now and I’ll wait on the jackknife until a throwing target doesn’t seem like the perfect accessory.

    They also light fires (with help and supervision), drive the car (off of the road – mostly in the driveway), and build stuff.

  16. I’d assume safety glasses/goggles were not worn while using the power tools because they asked the kids to pick up the tools so a picture could be taken. At least, that’s MY spin, and I hope it’s accurate!

    Otherwise, my son has done all of these things while being supervised either by my husband or while he was a Cub Scout. Like the poor kid who was expelled for having a multi-purpose utensil, my son was exposed to a lot of GREAT things while he was a little guy because of his involvement in Scouting. They tend to do things we parents either (1) don’t think of, or (2) don’t have the equipment to do. (“Hey, Mom, can I throw the spears around for a while today?”) I can’t remember how many times last summer I’d hear, “Mom, may use the drill/sander/etc.” last summer. At least he knew to ASK first so I was in charge of whether it happened or not!

    My 11-year-old son is raring to go any time I say the leaves need to be cleaned up. He knows he will get to use the leaf blower/vacuum! There are all sorts of tools he uses…we need him to lighten up a little so his 9-year-old sister gets a chance, too!

  17. Wow. I’m five for five and 1/2! ( I don’t think my boys have done the copyright law breaking thing.) The rest, absolutely.

    I’ve never seen this and oh how I wish this guy were a better speaker because I’d love to share it.

  18. I’m off to cut me a spear… is it too late to learn as an adult? Liked the video.

  19. My dad taught my Brownie troop how to build fires under the theory that if you show kids how to do something properly, they won’t experiment in the dangerous ways. We would have been six at the time.

  20. It’s the little things like this type of impowerment kids remember for the rest of their lifes.

    I vividly remember my uncle letting me drive every time we visited when I was a kid.

  21. It reminds me of a bit from the Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett. In it the discworld equivalent of Santa Claus, the Hogfather, has disappeared. Death takes over the role and starts distributing presents. At one point, a young boy asks for a knife. Death gives it to him, to which his servant Albert complains, “You shouldn’t give a boy that young a knife!”

    “Why not? Besides, it’s very educational.” replies Death

    “He’ll cut himself!”

    “That’s a very important lesson.”, says Death.

    I am by no means advocating carelessness, but experience can be a profound instructor. I will add that knife throwing is indeed a sport, and I know I did it as a kid. It doesn’t work well with pocket knives, though. Balance is funky. I think the key is to show kids how to do it safely, and explain very clearly that this is a “big boy” priviledge, and he or she must live up to the requirements of this privilege.

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