Don't play on the playground

Number 2 Pencil posts an elementary school handout on safe playing that bans just about everything that’s any fun. No pushing a friend on the swings or jumping off. No sliding in unapproved ways. Games of tag must be organized and supervised.

Kimberly lost her heart to a guy when he demonstrated, at the age of 31, a back-flip swing dismount he perfected in elementary school.

In light of this post, I’ll just say that I married a man who designed an atom bomb for the fifth grade science fair. He didn’t build a working model, however.

About Joanne


  1. Let’s HOPE it wasn’t a working model! I’d start to fear you were one of those types who married men serving life sentences in federal prisons. 🙂

  2. Yeah, the rules are pretty much the same at all the schools. Our school recently spent three years of PTO fundraising to scrap the old wooden playground equipment and get shiny new plastic stuff. They were under orders from the district to replace them because they were deemed unsafe. I asked the teachers what was unsafe and all they could say was “splinters”. So, though the playground is nice today, to me it is nothing but a $25,000 band-aid. And in a mere 5 years, the plastic coloring will look old and nasty, just like all the other city parks. It is so frustrating to me.

    Also, I took the my kids to the park and taught them how to jump off the swings! I had fun telling the teachers that. 🙂

  3. Walter E. Wallis says:

    But if your kids ate 500 pounds of that swing set they would get a dangerous dose of arsenic.

  4. It’s disturbing how out of hand this “safety first” crap is. I can still remember when those plastic playgrounds were coming into fashion. As I was still young, all I could think was “Don’t they know these things are inferior?”. Splinters weren’t fun, but getting electrocuted was even worse(and far more frequent). Nevermind the fact that the old ones were always larger and more elaborate. It also didn’t help that the plastic gave them a distinctly “preschool” feel.

    mollo: Don’t forget to teach jumping backwards and backflips: skills no child should be without… 🙂

  5. Our new $40,000 school playground is covered with big wood chips. (and plastic stuff) I was amazed at how little we got for $40,000. Our town has one covered in sand. I guess they did testing to find that a child landing head first from six feet up on wood chips is better off than landing on sand. They do, however, have this metal spiral around a pole thingy that looks like it would do a great job of breaking little legs.

    I would rather see a grass field with few soccer nets and a kickball diamond. It would be a whole lot cheaper too. By the way, our expensive town (sand) playground, made with recycled products, is falling apart after about 8 years. Someone told me once that the “rulebook” (?) for safe playgrounds is about an inch and a half thick.

    As for bombs, there was this I just saw today.

    Teacher Accused Of Instructing Students On Bomb-Making

    POSTED: 6:54 am EST February 17, 2005

    ORLANDO, Fla. — A high school chemistry teacher in Orlando has been arrested after his students claimed he taught them how to make a bomb.

  6. Richard Brandshaft says:

    About the bombs: When it was inconceivable that some kid might use one “for real”, making bombs in science class would have been a fun thing to do. Now it isn’t.

    A year or 2 ago, I read a reminiscence about growing up rural poor in the 1940s. The author would bring a shotgun to school, leave it in the teacher’s closet with other kid’s guns, and hunt rabbits for food on the way home. When it was inconceivable that a student would shoot up the school there was nothing wrong with this.

  7. I am thankful almost every day that I grew up before all this pussification, this emasculation of boyhood, this feminization of America had begun. Yes, I got hurt, but there was no Society of Hand-Wringing People for a Perfect World to tell us it was our right not to ever feel pain. The lawyers were on check then. It was a better world than that which has been bequeathed to our children and grandchildren.

  8. Walter E. Wallis says:

    You don’t know how hard it is not to preface everything you say with “By cracky…”

  9. By cracky, I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.

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