The War on Children’s Playgrounds

Hey Folks — Branching out. Here is my story on the cover of today’s Salon, all about how our quest to make playgrounds safer than safe has also made them safer than fun. Here’s a snippet:

…For the past 40 years or so, we have certainly been working to make our playgrounds safer than safe — maybe even safer than fun. Seen an old merry-go-round lately? Or a swinging gate? How about a seesaw — the kind without springs, where, when your so-called friend suddenly plopped you down, you felt it?

Didn’t think so. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued reams of playground regulations and actually gone so far as to recommend against “tripping hazards, like tree stumps and rocks.” Maybe we should just bulldoze the local parks and put in a couple of blobs…made of plastic.

The idea, of course, is that playgrounds need constant overhauling because kids are hurting themselves unnecessarily. But that depends on your definition of “unnecessary.”

“Children rise to risk,” says Joan Almon, executive director of the U.S. Alliance for Childhood. “Give them some genuine risk and they quickly learn what their limits are, and then they expand their limits.” The problem is: If kids never encounter even tiny risks, they never develop that thing we call common sense.

Read on, at Salon! (Hey, I’m a poet, too!) — Lenore

51 Responses

  1. For I while I noticed that playgrounds were getting overly “safe” and boring. But in the past few years I’ve noticed this changing back again. We have lots of new playgrounds in Minneapolis and St. Paul that include huge climbing structures (there’s one at a park near us where you can fall 12 feet from the top if you’re not careful), fast-spinning things, and lots of fun stuff. I especially love the equipment made by this company:

  2. I take it back. You can actually fall 17 feet from the top our our local climber: It’s great fun.

  3. We have an old playground nearby. It has wobbly, wooden and ‘old-fashioned’ pieces. Like a wooden merry-go-round and tall slides without the protective sides at the top and at least 10 of the old type of wooden seesaws, complete with splintering edges.

    It looks just like my elementary school playground from 30+ years ago.

    The children have a blast and I remind myself that getting hurt, while possible, isn’t likely to be devastating.

    But I think one of the reasons these types of play spaces are ‘endangered’ is because they can looks shabby and rundown. It seems the theme to make sure that the playground equipment accurately reflects the affluence of the neighborhood surrounding it.

  4. You know, the guy saying “wear shoes if it’s too hot” is missing the point.

    When you fall down on the playground mat – which is supposed to protect you from serious injury! – you shouldn’t get second degree burns. How hard would it be to make that stuff any color but black?

    When safety features make you LESS safe (considerably less safe – it’s not a fun playground if you can’t fall down) there’s something wrong.

  5. We moved to Portland, Or from Denver , Co and realized immediately that the playgrounds in Portland were more fun. We found see-saws and tall slides. My kids had never even seen a see-saw before. I encourage them to climb trees (which is against most every park and playground rule), see-saw, and slide down the biggest slides. My favorite quote for my kids…”Sometimes when you play hard, you get hurt”. I am trying hard to live the free range life. I am, however, a Peds ICU nurse and can tell you that the real dangers are overlooked. Lock your second story windows, make sure your kids understand car and bike safety. Model safe behavior. Don’t talk and text while driving. It really is simple. Also, I can tell you that I have NEVER once taken care of a kid who was assaulted by a stranger. I have taken care of MANY who have been critically injured by a family member.

  6. In general, the playgrounds I see are a whole lot more fun than the playgrounds from my childhood. We had a couple swings, one metal slide, metal monkey bars, and a see saw. I only remember going there when there was a fair at the park. There just wasn’t a big draw.

    The playgrounds my son plays on have swirling slides, in fact multiple slides. Things to climb through, rock walls, things you spin down, even a pole like you’d have in a firehouse. Oh, and little houses that become all kinds of imagined places (and are great fun to climb on top of, too).

    That said, they “improved” one playground in our city and as a result lost the best thing there. It was a large fire truck made out of metal tubing. My son ADORED it. But it did not meet new code. I can’t for the life of me figure out why, since they kept the metal slide. It was fun to climb on and to play fire fighter. He was so bummed. We tried to get there before they took it away but I found out too late.

  7. I think this:

    “That’s what a 63-year-old did in the wooden Voorhees park before insurers insisted it be torn down. She hurt her ankle and is suing for $2.5 million.”

    Says it all. I’m hoping the case will be thrown out because a 63 year old shouldn’t be on equipment meant for kids anyways.

    When I was in 5th grade, part of the playground had iced over on the ground (it was winter in Michigan), so we were running and sliding on the ice. The people on yard duty kept telling us to stop, but we didn’t. Of course I slipped, fell forward and landed on my face. The bridge on my glasses split right down the middle (I’m convinced that’s the only reason I didn’t break my nose), and I was bleeding a bunch.

    When my mom got to the school, did she threaten to sue? No. Did she yell at the yard duty people? No. She yelled at me for not listening to what they were saying.

    You wonder why kids grow up with that entitlement attitude these days, they’re never taught responsibility, and taught to think about suing immediately.

  8. Great article — it’s nice to actually have some evidence, even anecdotal, (in this case the number of broken bones at “safe” schools vs. old-school schools) that this Band-Aid society is screwing up play and actually putting kids at risk. I admit there are days I’ve followed my daughter around on seemingly dangerous equipment, and there have also been times I’ve sat with my hands in my pockets to watch her fall. Surprise, she was fine.

  9. You have got it exactly right Michelle! If more people taught their children that they are accountable for their own actions and that blaming others (i.e. suing anyone and everyone) is not the right course of action in most cases, the world would be a lot better place. It is no wonder that public playgrounds are becoming safe to the point of no fun when any time someone twists an ankle they sue. You can’t really blame the parks and rec people for trying to avoid costly lawsuits. It all just speaks to the absurdity of our “sue-happy” society.

  10. Congratulations on the article Lenore, though I think you may be preaching to the choir at Salon 🙂

    I’ve been taking my twins to local playgrounds in the UK lately and found the equipment to be pretty good for babies and toddlers. But I can’t imagine them seeming appealing to kids older than 9ish. I used to go to playgrounds until I was a teenager (and after – but mainly just to hang and chat because there weren’t really any good spaces around for teens). Hope we end up near one of the more adventuresome places when my girls get older. I do quite like those seesaws with springs though. Makes them great for jumping off.

    My own pet hates at playgrounds are plastic slides (very few of which I see now) and acres of concrete and asphalt instead of regular old grass, I can (sort of) understand it under the equipment, but sometimes it seems like someone just wanted to destroy every bit of nature.

  11. What it needs is a judge to stand up and say, “Wait. You chose to climb on equipment meant for children, you didn’t take care of YOURSELF, and you expect the city to pony up for it? Case dismissed, with prejudice”

  12. […] in a simple field filled with flowers just as much as it would in, say, a zoo or a new playground. This article about safety got me thinking about playground “guides” or shepherds or “recess […]

  13. It seems like the paradigm on “safety” has shifted from “make sure there’s nothing unnecessarily dangerous” (e.g., soft under surfaces, maintaining stuff properly) to “make sure that nothing could possibly cause harm no matter what” (e.g nothing more than three feet off the ground, no running, etc.) Protecting against injury by making sure no one can get hurt by grabbing onto something sharp that shouldn’t be there is safety; protecting against injury by making sure that the normal effects of force and gravity never come into play is silliness.

  14. Where I grew up there used to be a playground with a super tall metal slide, a medium metal slide, a merry-go-round, ridiculously tall swings, etc. They took out the merry-go-round shortly after a toddler got spun off by his overzealous dad (I was there when it happened and it was terrifying to see that little body go flying off and smack his head on the concrete. Blood everywhere. Ugh.) The slides were taken down, not for being too tall, but because kids got really bad burns on them in the summer. I assume they lost the swing set because kids were too high up when they decided to jump off.

    The good news is, once they lost all the equipment, they didn’t replace it with cheap plastic stuff. Nope, it was turned into a SUPER FREAKIN’ AWESOME skate park!

  15. In our area, it’s a mix. We do have the merry-go-rounds (which I never saw when I was a kid). We have some climbing equipment that has the potential for a little kid to fall a relatively significant distance. On the other hand, all the slides are plastic and either curvy or bumpy so nobody can siply whiz down the slide like we used to. (We also used to wax the (metal) slides so we could whiz down faster.)

    I have a somewhat different concern. The playgrounds appear quite safe with all their guard rails and so on, so parents have a false sense of security and assume they are safe for very young kids. But though the equipment may be even too safe for a 10-year-old, that doesn’t mean a toddler is safe playing on it without careful instruction and/or a parent close at hand.

  16. I must be doing it wrong. My kids’ school has real swings, with long chains and I taught them how to jump off them for maximum distance.

  17. Just yesterday I was visiting a parenting forum and a conversation came up about the danger of twirly slides and, in particular, going down a twirly slide with your child. Apparently a dad went down the slide with his toddler and the toddler hurt her leg (small fracture). They were told by the Dr that treated her that he sees this injury all the time (maybe he treated the 63 year old?). Whether this is true or not I dont know, but the whole conversation just turned into how dangerous parks and slides are. It was ridiculous.

  18. Becky, every other time I’ve heard that those injuries are common it’s been followed with “when adults go down slides with children”. The extra momentum creates too much force, and small legs can’t cope with it.

  19. Jennifer – My experience of plastic slides has always been that they’re slow, especially with bare skin. My girls love the metal slides at the playgrounds but the plastic ones bore them – they can’t really slide down them, half the time they have to sort of shimmy. If there are fast plastic slides then I’d like those!

  20. I think the move to plastic slides from metal was a good idea. Don’t you remember how much that metal burned your legs in the summer time? The plastic gets hot too, but not that hot. I think the community playgrounds available to my kids are actually superior to the ones available to me, but the school playgrounds are inferior. Not sure why that is. Our favorite community playground has a merry go round and a walk climbing wall, among other things. It’s true, though, that you can’t find a see saw anywhere.

    My daughter’s school saddens me, though. I fondly remember it when I was a kid – wobbly wooden chain suspeneded bridges you could jump and shake on, on, a wooden rocket ship structure you could climb up to the tippy to of, a maze-like structure made of rubber tires, and balance beams all over the place…now, it’s nothing but a few swings, a dull climbing structure, one slide, and a sea of mulch. I think there’s 75% more mulch area than when I was a kid, when the whole thing was covered with equipment, and you could play a wicked fun game of hot lava tag. No hot lava tag possible now. You’d have to be able to fly to get from piece to piece.

  21. Oh – on twirly slides. My daughter, when she was 3 or 4, took a spill off the very top of one. She’d gone down it okay a number of times, so I wasn’t concerned about letting her do it herself, but the lip was very low, and one day she must have turned her body a little differently, and just tumbled and flipped off the top as she started sliding. She cried a bit; I checked her pupils and made sure she wasn’t vomiting, and then she went off to play again. But about a year later the slide was gone. I imagine someone else was more seriously injured and they took it down. It was a very fun slide, but it did have an incredibly low lip – they could have replaced it with a slide with a higher lip that was safer, but instead they just took it away and sealed off the opening in the climbing structure where the slide used to be.

  22. Great article Lenore! Fortunately my children were raised before child safety started to get so crazy. However, one of the ironies of our safety focus is that children will grow up and choose their own paths and careers in life, and sometimes those careers might not be safe at all. My son is in Afghanistan for the next year. It is hard to live with knowing that one’s child is in harm’s way daily, but having raised him free range so that he was able to develop independence and responsibility for himself and others, I know that will help keep him safe where he is now. He won’t be subconsciously expecting his parents to be watching his back, like many of the kids growing up with “Safety Mom and Dad” always vigilant for the landmines of life.

  23. The playgrounds my daughter plays on are WAY more fun than the ones I played on. Swinging bridges, rock climbing walls, multiple types of slides, firehouse poles, tunnels, zip lines, and all the equipment inter-connected instead of standing alone in an asphalt wasteland. Even though there are plenty of ways to fall off the equipment, fewer kids seem to get hurt. In my small elementary school, every year at least one kid broke their arm falling off the top of the slide, because it was on regular dirt instead of a softer play surface. One kid had his pelvis crushed and was in a body cast for a year when the wooden monkey bars collapsed on him (again, posts planted in playground dirt instead of properly anchored with a soft surface underneath). I don’t see that kind of injury occurring on modern playgrounds, and I definitely don’t see kids having less fun. Am I nostalgic for the rickety merry-go-round I played on as a child? Yes. But I think climbing walls and swinging bridges are way cooler and promote physical fitness in a way that spinning until you puke does not.

  24. My son fell off a merry-go-round just yesterday. This deathtrap-to-some is located in Beaverton, OR at Metzger park, just in case anyone’s looking for a place where kids can enjoy the equipment. They also have a slide tall enough to actually cause bruising if a child jumps/falls off the very top of it. Can you believe it?

    Enjoy the park before The Safety Police find it!

  25. Last summer, my two year fell and broke her arm. What dangerous piece of playground equipment was she playing on at the time you ask. None, she was running around on the lawn. We can regulate all we want, but accidents will still happen. By the way, her arm healed very well, and she still runs around on the grass.

  26. Two weeks ago my toddler got flipped over from butt down to head first and mildly injured (mostly startled) on a spiral slide at the Bronx Zoo, but it would never have occurred to me that such an injury should be preventable, or anyone’s fault but ours (my husband’s — he put her on it). Or, indeed, a problem–aren’t minor injuries a part of childhood???? You shake it off and move on.

    So then last week I let my daughter ride the Big Kid Swings, and she fell off and scraped her chin on the nice, soft, wood shavings underneath. She cried for awhile, but mostly because I wouldn’t let her immediately get back ON the swing (other mommies were watching with THAT LOOK, so I whisked her away fast, lest they call Child Protective Services).

    Not sure what my point is, except that you can’t have a good childhood — or a good life — without risking some minor injuries. You wear a seatbelt in the car, we wear our helmets on our bike, but then you hope for the best. Why is every accident supposed to be someone’s fault???

  27. Sara,

    I guess I would would have been tempted to walk off saying “Don’t Look! The Nazi-moms are staring at us!”


    Remember spinning around and around until you got so dizzy that you fell down?

    (better than booze, it wears off quicker and no hangover or lost sleep)

    The most fun I ever had a merry-go-round was to lay on your back, hang your head over the edge, see the world upside down, and have your friend spin the ride.

    (better than [fill in the blank]…..

  28. Check out this German playground built by the neighborhood children:

  29. Don’t you remember how much that metal burned your legs in the summer time?

    Well, there is a long-term solution (and one that helps alleviate the burning padding problem as well): More shade.

    Design playgrounds with plenty of shade – trees that will grow big, roofs and covers on some of the equipment, and did I mention the trees?

    When the sun isn’t shining directly on the slide, the composition of said slide doesn’t matter. (For that matter, some of my favorite slides as a kid were those that were “tunnels” all or part of the way!)

  30. Oh – and don’t do the flimsy add-it-after bit that is called out in the article. Make your playground attractive from the start. Sometimes I go to playgrounds in the summer, and nobody is playing because the ground and all the equipment is too hot and the sun is too bright and some parents are concerned about burning (sun and otherwise).

  31. I have to write something in defense of domes. We have one in my backyard and my daughter loves it. It’s colorful, not ugly. The metal is coated so I don’t think it gets too hot.

    It’s not bland; my daughter and her friends have fun climbing them, hanging upside, jumping off or just sitting on top.

    When we got it, I geeked out and my daughter and I started looking up domes and their role in architecture.

    I can see how the particular ones Lenore writes about are not suited for where they are — metal in the hot sun etc. but don’t dis the dome.

  32. Yes, Uly, I wish they’d have more shade for playgrounds.

  33. “The good news is, once they lost all the equipment, they didn’t replace it with cheap plastic stuff. Nope, it was turned into a SUPER FREAKIN’ AWESOME skate park!”

    Only problem I see there is that the skate park does not serve the same kids as the playground did. But if there are other playgrounds around, no loss, and a gain for the skaters.

    Uhhhhhhh….twirly slides are not dangerous because Dad broke his toddler’s leg on them. Dad sliding down the twirly slide with toddler is what is dangerous. Why is it so hard to comprehend that if a child is not big enough for a piece of equipment, he can just wait a few years? ISTM that helicopter parenting implicitly promotes the (totally false, frequently foolish, sometimes dangerous) assumption that parents can protect you from everything and make everything better, simply by being physically close. In this case, it’s the opposite. I’m going on a tangential rant, but my favorite stupidity in this category is the “what about the pit bull?” thing that comes up whenever someone writes something about letting a five-year-old ride a bike alone for a short distance. News, folks, pretty much the only person who can rescue a child from an attacking pit bull is someone with a gun. My being there isn’t going to make a whit of difference.

  34. @ pentamom…

    or the attacking American Bull Dog, or the attacking German Shepherd, or the attacking Rottweiler… heck, I’ve known grownups who got attacked while riding their bikes.

    We recently took a trip up north in our state (Michigan), and I saw the beaches on Grand Traverse Bay for the first time. Now, I spent 19 years on the west coast, and the beaches here are effing amazing!!! What really struck me on this trip was the number of playgrounds on said beaches. Old, metal playgrounds, with tall slides, see saws, and old style merry-go-rounds. Cannot wait to take the grandboy up camping this summer!

  35. Not just the pit bull but anything. Most pedophiles are men. I’m 5’4″ female weakling (not saying that all females are weak but I am). If someone wantsmy child bad enough, I can’t physically stop him. The best that I can do is raise a ruckus but I can teach my child to do that as well.

    My favorite was the guy who commented on the cell phone commercial link Lenore posted about shootings in malls and how his daughter was going to have GPS. What protection does GPS provide in a shooting? I suppose if the bullet hits exactly right the cell phone itself could protect her but it’s GPS capabilities are completely irrelevant. For that matter, what protection does the parent being there provide in this situation?

    It seems like we’ve lost basic common sense. Some now believe that the mere presence of parents can somehow stop ALL bad things from happening with no regard to the nature of the threat. Parental presence can’t stop all horrible things. Kids are kidnapped from beds, schools and other “safe” areas, Parents cannot stop bullets, knives, pit bulls and runaway cars. Parental presence can’t stop kids from falling off playscapes and trees (unless they stop them from climbing them altogether). Some rotten things are completely out of our control.

  36. Hey, don’t bust on the German Shepherds gramomster!:)
    Sure, mine will chase the kids on bikes and scooters, but it is because she is trying to protect them. They are going way to fast and getting to far away for her to protect them. As soon as they are off the bike/scooter she gets a satisfied look and licks them to death.

    But about playgrounds – we had an awesome one growing up with tall swings, a metal slide of about 10 feet high, a wickedly fast merry-go-round, and sew-saws that could launch you pretty far. And it was all on crumbly asphalt!! We often came home with chunks of asphalt embedded in our hands and knees.
    A neighbor once broke his arm while we were there. Instead of going home he walked to the emergency room across the street while one of us ran to get his mom. The arm was in a cast before she got there, and he was at the playground the next day!
    Fun times.

  37. We have a local “playground” that looks really cool from a ways away but on closer inspection has nothing to climb on and has few moving parts. So what do all the kids do? They climb on all the stuff not designed to be climbed on and risk much more severe injury.

    Kids will be kids and kids need adventure, excitement, and risk. If you don’t give it to them in a controlled and safe manner, they’ll find some other way to do it and likely put themselves in much greater risk in the process.

  38. My 18-month-old DD broke her leg riding with me down a slide — like someone said above, this kind of thing apparently happens a lot. I had no idea. So, if you want to go down a slide with a toddler (useful when teaching them how to navigate higher pieces of playground equipment), put them on your lap and keep their feet away from the slide (so the soles of their shoes don’t catch on the sides and pull their legs back).

    Hopefully this safety information is useful!

  39. When I was 11-ish, my dad used to spin the merry-go-round for me, while I would wrap every body part I could around the metal hand-rails. He would whip it around as fast as possible, while I, literally, held on for dear life. Good times, good times!

  40. @2funkidsmom…

    LOL! Sorry… not baggin’ on the shepherds! Actually love those guys! Just sayin’, it’s not only pits that get after kids. Or grownups for that matter. The dog my grandson most enjoys (as ours thinks she’s a cat, and will not chase anything!!!) is our friend’s 11 month old pit. Who has been cuddled and coddled her whole life, and will also lick you to death once she gets to you. Sweetest 55 pound lapdog you’d ever want to meet… She and the boy chase and chase and chase. She’s a doll. Scares strangers though. Hey! I bet if I borrowed her, I could leave him at the playground! JK…

  41. The PC dichotomy in the US always makes me laugh. We need to let animals run around and be “free range” but kids need to be kept in antisceptic boxes.

  42. @Becky – According to an ER doc I know the problem is going down with the child. The mass of the adult’s body pushing the child into a side.

    I don’t know if it is the humidity or the heat here but plastic slides are a joke the kids have to scootch down them. Also they tend to be dark colors and get near as hot as the metal ones.

    We learned to go down on just our bottoms keeping our legs and arms off the metal. Honestly I spent 12 – 4 in the pool anyhow. The best parks growing up were under old oak trees.

    I took my niece and nephew to the park. It had rained and there were puddles on some of the equipment. I showed them and said we aren’t going home just because your seat got wet. So I don’t want to hear any fussing if you get wet going down the slide. Either you play wet or don’t go down the slide.

    Of course they went down the slide and got wet. This woman told them oh no you have to go home now. Niece said – we’re washable.

    Woman told me they were wet. I said they are washable, and went back to my Kindle. Woman fussed at me they’ll get sick. Looked at her and said, “Lady it is 80 some degrees out, and beside germs cause illness not a wet bum. She wouldn’t let her grandson play with niece and nephew. Niece is a leader all the kids were following her lead. I felt sorry for the little boy – left out of all the fun. (Nephew is only 2 and was the smallest kid on the playground.)

  43. Read the Salon piece today and loved it – very à propos. Made a brief comment on the Salon Letters site as xelaboy_ns.

    I write a couple of playground blogs from my home in Canada and if you’re available would like to do an interview with you at some point, perhaps a review of the book too.

    If you’re not already familiar with it, check out the Facebook group “I played at Dennis the Menace Park and lived!”. I think you’ll get a kick out of it.

    Alex Smith

  44. There used to be some really excellent parks around here with some very fascinating playgrounds that I loved to play on. Now when I go by them they are all bright colored plastic.

    One playground in particular wasn’t around when I was a kid, but it’s a very interesting playground as it looks like something out of Star Trek. I noticed that the city had to put a sign saying its a playground as I think parents mistaken the metal and plastic contraption for public sculpture as it very weird looking and across the street from an art museum. xD

  45. I don’t listen to surgeons when it comes to safety. I listen to my sheriff who says there 20 child predators within one mile of my neighborhood. He presented statistics to every neighborhood. What you are pushing is irrational.

  46. I had to put in the best park around because the only playground near us wa in a formerly public area that was sold off to a private housing complex. The manager told us that our children had to be supervised at all times so I put more fun things in our yard and told the kids I wouldn’t watch them (they are 7 and 9). The baby (2) loves to test her limits but knows when to stop. She likes to climb up but won’t go down but herself. She is learning to be self amusing and that is the point. I signed up to be a parent but not to give up my life. In a few years all the kids will be able to play without me and I will be glad.

  47. I don’t listen to surgeons when it comes to safety. I listen to my sheriff who says there 20 child predators within one mile of my neighborhood. He presented statistics to every neighborhood. What you are pushing is irrational.

    Child predators? Are you sure? Or are they people who had sex at 19 with their 16 year old girlfriend? Or people who committed rape against an adult or a teenager – a horrific crime, but not one that’s likely to actually harm your kid?

    And are you sure there’s 20 within a mile? Those lists update when somebody new moves in, but they often do NOT update when somebody moves out, specifically because they don’t want you to stop being on your guard.

    And those child predators – whom did they prey on, and when? Was it a stranger? Or was it their own nieces and nephews, their own sons and daughters? It’s not “better” if it’s incest, but, again, they’re not likely to suddenly come after a stranger’s kids.

    And when were these crimes committed? (And what IS the recidivism rate on sex crimes anyway? There don’t seem to be any clear statistics. Some sources show numbers as low as 5%, others show numbers as high as 70%. WTF?)

    And how many children, nationwide, are molested or otherwise deliberately harmed by strangers every year? I’ll bet you a dollar it’s less than the number of kids killed in car crashes.

    And finally – and most importantly! – what the heck does playground safety have to do with child molesters in the first place????

  48. […] Letting kids have unsupervised time in NYC park not actually against the law [Free-Range Kids on "Take Your Kids to the Park, and Leave Them There Day"] Related from Lenore Skenazy: Spiked Online and Salon, “The War on Children’s Playgrounds” […]

  49. or the good old bum burn from sliding down a scorching hot slide….
    don’t visit any playground you remembered from your childhood. You’ll only be disappointed when you see all the “fun” things are no longer there.

  50. Man, it’s not only playground equipment that is being severely limited, but, especially at schools, many activities are being cut (such as the no-tag rule you mentioned). I remember at my elementary school, they banned snow structures that went above the knees. How are kids supposed to have fun with limitations like that?

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