Do you ever...let your kid ride a bike to the library? Walk to school? Make dinner? Or are you thinking about it? If so, you are raising a Free-Range Kid! Free-Rangers believe in helmets, car seats, seat belts safety! We just do NOT believe that every time school age kids go outside, they need a security detail. Share your stories, tell your tips and maybe I'll use them in a new book. Here's to common sense parenting in uncommonly overprotective times!
It seems the old standbys, sand, water, boulders, hills and logs, are making a comeback. However, according to Joe Frost, a retired professor of education, “playing only with natural elements isn’t adequate for a child’s healthy development.’ I thought this was hysterical. How many millions of children were successfully raised to adulthood before we had jungle gyms and swing sets?
I also thought the tips for building your own natural playground were funny. The first suggestion was to “cut off tree limbs that make excessive heights attainable’.
Secondly, they suggested that if a natural stream is not available you should install a low spigot, but “make sure water, even after rain, will not get more than 4 inches deep.” What if there is a natural stream? Install drainage? Also, I didn’t think kids were allowed to drink from hoses anymore and this would definitely encourage that.
Finally, create a sandy play area using “sterilized sand” but always rake it before the kids play to look for “animal droppings or garbage.”
oh, that’s priceless 🙂
Wow. That reminds me of a scene in the movie Kick Ass. I am not one to give spoilers, but the mom in me gasped at it.
Aw, come on! Our Mom only did that when she was mad at us!
Lenore, awesome (and yet, horrifying) video. Where are those girls now?
Alyssa, I wish I could have taken a picture of the park I went to today here in Germany. It had logs, a boot-camp-type structure, but also a huge sand pit (like, enough for at least 35 kids to play on) with a hand pump and little water wheel for them to infuse the sand with water. My baby and pre-schooler (not to mention all the other kids there) were in heaven. Their little sundresses are now soaking in Oxy-Clean.
“However, according to Joe Frost, a retired professor of education, “playing only with natural elements isn’t adequate for a child’s healthy development.’ I thought this was hysterical. How many millions of children were successfully raised to adulthood before we had jungle gyms and swing sets?”
I think it’s more about our expectations of the purpose of the playground. Of course we don’t need swings and jungle gyms to survive, but if we would like our children to develop their climbing skills without risking their lives (I’m all for learning how to roll with the punches, but where I live, there are steep drops in nature), we do need to construct areas for them to practice. If the park is in a confined space, then there is going to be a limit to naturally occurring interesting land features and some are bound to be missing. If one assumes that children are going to these parks only, yes they may have more fun if there are more different features installed.
Said features presumably need not be huge hulking plastic monstrosities. (My kids love the huge hulking plastic monstrosities, though.)
I think that here it’s worth considering that the maintain-and-furnish camp may be thinking more of children in the pre-school set than the school-aged children that some free-rangers have. Pre-schoolers do not yet have the skills to climb bare rock and if parents want to ensure that they have a learning rock with a soft grassy area below (no spikes, please) then yes, we do need more equipment, and yes, the wood does need to be maintained for that bridge. People have been maintaining wood bridges for millennia and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that kids have had toys at least that long, too.
It would be nice to see a very large park with areas for wee ones as well as more wild areas for the older children.
Wow. This is crazy. I’m very glad you put “NOT” in caps.
Just spotted this and it seemed related to this blog in general.
I laughed so hard. Priceless historic snapshot (or vid-shot).
Wow! That’s pretty amazing. I guess it all worked out in the end. I hope!
Yeah, free-rangers let the kids use the knives too. How else are they going to learn? hahaha
All I can say is beware of growth spurts!
Actually I do throw knives…. but not at my children.
However, they have learned the correct way to pick up a knife and to hand it back to me with the handle facing the receipent.
I wonder who their therapist is now!
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Speak for yourself!
The kids are small, the board is big. What’s the problem?
LOL!! “A near miss…”.
Ya, no…I don’t think those were Free-range kids. But that is one craaazzy lady.
I suspect some trick photography / animation.
But, I think I will show my daughters this video and tell them that’s what is going to happen to them if they don’t toe the line.
(I did notice that the mom flung the knives farther away from the littler kid. Maybe the littler one was less reliable about not moving. So that part of it does seem kinda realistic. But I still have my doubts.)
I wonder if that “going to sleep” gesture actually is a reminder of some previous close shave…
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This is priceless. Oh, the 50s, that nostalgic decade of domestic bliss and perfectly contained womanhood: NOT. Wonderful.
A la madre! I’ll bet one of those girls ended up on the Jerry Springer, Jenny Jones or Ricki Lake show at some point or ran away to the circus!
My grandma’s name is Luella and hales from AZ… I always wondered what happened to Aunt Connie.
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