Category Archives: Play

You’ve Got To Ring those Bells!

I wrote my first post for Lenore Skenazy’s new foundation Let Grow:

I’m a proud mom, this week.

We were almost home from school the other day when my 9-year-old daughter looked out the car window and spied a boy sitting on the stoop of his house. I suggested that she might want to walk around the corner and say hello when we got home.

Instead of going herself, she took her two sisters – 10 and 7 — with her. Several minutes had passed when the 10-year-old poked her head through the back door asking if they had permission to ring the doorbell of the stranger’s house since the boy was no longer outside. My husband and I agreed, suggesting that they invite the boy outside to play.

About 10 minutes after that the girls were back — with the boy in tow. The four of them had ridden their scooters around and ended up at our place. They all played in the back until it started to rain and the boy scootered home….

Read the rest at Let Grow

Court smackdown for anti-fun CPSC

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has smacked the federal anxiety-inducing, anti-fun agency otherwise knwon as the Consumer Product Safety Commission. It was great news for the magnet-set-maker Zen Magnets but it was also shortlived since the agency got a huge award against Zen Magnets only a few days later. All the details are in my latest from The Weekly Standard.

Parents vs Schools: More recess

Over at Fox News Opinion you can enjoy my take on what parents want to improve their kids’ schools: More recess.

The parents who battled their local district bureaucrats, school administrators and teachers for more free play time for their kids are doing it because they have to. The chance for kids to play, frolic and just have fun with other kids at school is under extreme pressure from education bureaucrats who think that risk avoidance and regimentation are the things children most need to learn about life.

Read the whole thing here

My podcast with Julie Gunlock

Listen HERE

Lose the rules, free the kids

“The great paradox of cotton-woolling children is it’s more dangerous in the long-run.”

Let me translate this wisdom for my North American audience: Bubble-wrapping our kids hurts them more than it helps.

And where’s the proof for this seemingly counter-intuitive observation? An elementary (primary) school in New Zealand where the principal agreed to remove the playground rules and discovered that there was less bullying, less destruction, less trouble than before.

A university researcher wanted to study the effects on children of removing all the anti-bullying, overly-regulated recess rules. It turned out that liberation has made the kids much happier, more creative and  reduced playground injuries.

“When you look at our playground it looks chaotic. From an adult’s perspective, it looks like kids might get hurt, but they don’t,” says school principal Bruce McLachlan.

“The kids were motivated, busy and engaged. In my experience, the time children get into trouble is when they are not busy, motivated and engaged. It’s during that time they bully other kids, graffiti or wreck things around the school.”

And parents were happy because lo-and-behold their kids were happier.

It is also so important to use this case as evidence of the harm done to kids (especially boys) when schools reduce recess, put kids in straight-jackets of zero-tolerance policies and even eliminate certain games and recess altogether.

As “The War on Boys” author Christina Hoff Sommers explains, “as early as pre-school and kindergarten, boys can be punished for behaving like boys. The characteristic play of young males is “rough-and-tumble” play. ”

This is exactly the type of play that has been eliminated from school playgrounds all over America. And it is exactly the type of play, along with imaginative play that girls and boys need to keep them focused when they go back into the classroom.

Research also shows that these types of child-generated games are an important part of kids’ social development.

Three cheers for the Swanson School in Aukland and here’s hoping that schools here in the US start getting the message and freeing their students to climb trees, skateboard and just have fun.

Big thanks to my husband Ben for bringing this great news story to my attention.