When my husband was a kid, he remembers sliding down the icy roof of a barn in a dishpan, aiming to land in a deep pile of snow. He missed the pile of snow and landed, hard, on the ground.
Now maybe this wasn't the brightest idea in the world, but he was having fun. He was also doing what the American Association of Pediatrics describes as important in child development—taking a risk. A fascinating recent article in the Wall Street Journal discusses how Amercans' obsession with safety is contributing to one in six children in America being obese. The Center for Disease Control says that the problem "would basically cure itself if children engaged in the informal outdoor activities that used to be normal." By making sure everything they do is safe, we deprive children of learning their limits, taking personal responsibility, and getting a lot of exercise.
According to the article, risk is an attraction for kids, and it should be. If a rubber safety mat designed to reduce playground injuries gets hot in the sun, perhaps the answer is not to put up canopies or to get rid of the playgrounds. Perhaps kids need to learn that wearing shoes is a smart idea on a playground. Instead of banning tag or running, as some schools have done, maybe schools should let kids get a few scrapes and bruises.
Read the article. I think Phillip K. Howard makes an excellent point. Article