Where Do the Children Play, #627

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What is this world coming to?  I’m eye-rolling all over the place today thinking about the explanation my husband got at our kid’s school carnival yesterday when he inquired about the missing inflatable slides and bounce houses and the ever popular 5th-grade dunk tank.  He was told, according to one teacher, that the district has now banned inflatables and dunk tanks from being on school property.  They feel it is too much of a liability.  These inflatables and dunk tanks have been a long-standing tradition at the carnival, and my kids certainly felt their absence.  I would love to see the actual statistics that tell us just how many children have been injured in the history of the carnival, and I am frustrated as I think about what frivolous lawsuits and lawyers have done to our children.

In our world today, there are no more seesaws in public parks and schools, no diving boards at pools, and most recently, I read an article that the town of Paxton, IL banned sledding down a popular hill in a public park stating that the sledding is “too risky.”  Now I am hearing about our school district’s ban on inflatables and dunk tanks.  Where do we draw the line?  When do we say “enough” and realize that we may be jeopardizing our children’s ability to grow?

Not too long ago, my family and I were at a park in Sedona, AZ, and my son followed two boys’ lead climbing over a fence.  My natural instinct was to run and grab him, but my husband held me back.  “Let him go.  Boys climb fences.  Don’t get involved.”  Guess what?  He climbed the fence and was fine.  He was also so proud of his accomplishment.  It was a good lesson for me, and I am thinking of it as I am shaking my head at our school district.

I beg and plead….let our kids grow.  Let them have fun doing what kids love to do.  Stop worrying so much, and when you take away a privilege because of “liability,” realize that you really are taking away so much more.  What a sad world we live in if we succumb to these silly demands put on us by lawyers and lawsuits.

My song of the day is Cat Steven’s “Where Do the Children Play,” because in the song, he discusses how the development of the world takes away places for children to play.  It’s perfect for this blog post, so click HERE to go to Youtube to listen to these words that speak to me today.  We cannot forget to allow for opportunities for our children to play as they are supposed to.  Our society really needs to do something about this.

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6 responses »

  1. I wonder if this will effect the carnival at Grad Night at the high school. Pretty soon our children will all live in bubbles. Children play, children get hurt, they heal and continue to play. This is how they learn. I used to joke that TMC had an emergency room named after my youngest son! He has survived stitches, staples, broken bones, fractures, and sprains. Each one has a wonderful story to go with it. Welcome to childhood!

  2. While I certainly understand the need for safety, I think it’s very sad that the play has gone out of play. I was shocked when my private students didn’t know what a see-saw aka teeter-totter was and when the game “tag” was banned at the elementary school where I taught music in for many years. Heck, it shocks me when I teach the old fashioned playground songs/games to my students and they’ve never heard them. The idea that they could actually play a game without equipment is a huge surprise to them:-)

    • Hi Louise! Thanks for writing! I haven’t encountered the old fashioned playground song lack of knowledge yet, but what a weird thought. Kids need the physical activity of a REAL playground. It’s a super frustrating topic.

  3. SO with you, Julie. We’ve had jumping castles at the kids’ birthday parties (and one for me at my 40th 😀 ) for the past few years and it’s been awesome. There’ve been a few knocked heads and a tear or two, but never enough so they didn’t want to get back in.

    This year, we had a wide age gap, too, with Henry turning 5 and Zac 11. I told Zac’s friends to watch out for the little guys and guess what? They DID. They helped them if they couldn’t get up, they didn’t go totally wild if the littler kids were in there, and they even got out to let a two-year-old have a peaceful turn all to herself. So it’s not just about kids growing and risking getting hurt; it’s also about them growing as human beings and learning compassion and to look out for each other.

    Earl and I took a road trip once, sans kids, and stumbled upon this really old playground in New Mexico. It had metal seesaws with wood seats, metal slides that were huge and angled like dropping off a cliff, and – most coveted of all – a metal merry-go-round. Not the kind with horses, but the kind with handles that spun so fast, you could literally catch a buzz if you were laying flat in the middle of it while your friends raced around in circles, spinning you. YES!!

    Earl and I waded through the knee deep grass and weeds and PLAYED for over an hour. Two old chubbies having a jolly GREAT time down memory lane. The splinter? TOTALLY worth it.

    I wonder if that place has been condemned yet? Because I would drive to New Mexico again just to show my kids how FUN a playground merry-go-round is.

    Thanks for the post and for being a good reminder that not all of us Jewish mommies are over-protective and lawsuit happy.

    Oh, and you can score a jumping castle overnight for $90, plus tip. Just sayin’. 😀

    • Oh, how I now want to go to that un-PC magical Candyland of an inappropriate playground. I bet that metal slide was a tetanus shot away from some good rust, too. Sweet, sweet memories. Man, our kids are missing out!

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